Using live estimates and ultrasound measurements to predict beef carcass cutability. Academic Article uri icon


  • Commercial slaughter steers (n = 329) and heifers (n = 335) were selected to vary in frame size, muscle score, and carcass fat thickness to study the effectiveness of live evaluation and ultrasound as predictors of carcass composition. Three trained personnel evaluated cattle for frame size, muscle score, fat thickness, longissimus muscle area, and USDA quality and yield grade. Live and carcass real-time ultrasound measures for 12th-rib fat thickness and longissimus muscle area were taken on a subset of the cattle. At the time of slaughter, carcass ultrasound measures were taken at "chain speed." After USDA grade data were collected, one side of each carcass was fabricated into boneless primals/subprimals and trimmed to .64 cm of external fat. Simple correlation coefficients showed a moderately high positive relationship between 12th rib fat thickness and fat thickness measures obtained from live estimates (r = .70), live ultrasound (r = .81), and carcass ultrasound (r = .73). The association between estimates of longissimus muscle area and carcass longissimus muscle area were significant (P < .001) and were higher for live evaluation (r = .71) than for the ultrasonic measures (live ultrasound, r = .61; carcass ultrasound, r = .55). Three-variable regression equations, developed from the live ultrasound measures, explained 57% of the variation in percentage yield of boneless subprimals, followed by live estimates (R2 = .49) and carcass ultrasound (R2 = .31). Four-variable equations using frame size, muscle score, and selected fat thickness and weight measures explained from 43% to 66% of the variation for the percentage yield of boneless subprimals trimmed to .64 cm. Live ultrasound and(or) live estimates are viable options for assessing carcass composition before slaughter.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • May, S. G., Mies, W. L., Edwards, J. W., Harris, J. J., Morgan, J. B., Garrett, R. P., ... Savell, J. W.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • May, SG||Mies, WL||Edwards, JW||Harris, JJ||Morgan, JB||Garrett, RP||Williams, FL||Wise, JW||Cross, HR||Savell, JW

publication date

  • May 2000