Predicting carcass composition of beef cattle using ultrasound technology.
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We evaluated 20 slaughtered cattle with ultrasound before hide removal to predict fat thickness and ribeye area at the 12th rib for possible use in carcass composition prediction. Carcasses were fabricated into boneless subprimals that were trimmed progressively from 2.54 to 1.27 to .64 cm maximum fat trim levels. Stepwise regression was used to indicate the relative importance of variables in a model designed to estimate the percentage of boneless subprimals from the carcass at different external fat trim levels. Variables included those obtained on the slaughter floor (ultrasound fat thickness and ribeye area; estimated percentage of kidney, pelvic, and heart [KPH] fat; and warm carcass weight) and those obtained from carcasses following 24 h in the chill cooler (actual fat thickness, actual ribeye area, estimated percentage of KPH fat, warm carcass weight, and marbling score). At all different subprimal trim levels, percentage KPH was the first variable to enter the model. In the models using measures taken on the slaughter floor, ultrasound fat thickness was the only other variable to enter the model. Ultrasound fat thickness increased R2 and decreased residual standard deviation (RSD) in models predicting subprimals at 2.54-cm maximum fat trim; however, at 1.27- and .64-cm trim levels, R2 and RSD increased. Models using the same two variables (except actual fat instead of ultrasound) in the cooler were similar to those using data from the slaughter floor. However, as more cooler measurement variables entered the models, R2 increased and RSD decreased, explaining a greater amount of the variation in the equation. Ultrasonic evaluation on the slaughter floor may be of limited application compared with the greater accuracy found in chilled carcass assessment.