Beef Cattle Bull Carcass Selection For Herd Improvement

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Selecting For Carcass
The Live Animal There are several parts of the animal where the bones have only a covering of skin, cartilage and connective tissue. These are the head, point of the shoulder, point of the elbow, spinal processes of the backbone, hip bones, lower legs and tail. As an animal grows and develops towards maturity, it increases in bone (weight) followed by muscle and ultimately starts to fatten (finish) when it forms a layer of fat between the connective tissues covering the bones and the skin.

Fat deposits Brisket area.
     The brisket bone or sternum is approximately 2 to 4 inches below the point of the elbow as animals increase in age from 1 to 3 years old. This bone is mainly covered with fat, and to a lesser extent, with 1 inch of muscle towards the navel end. A low hanging, full brisket contains large amounts of fat. Looking at the animal from the front, a fat animal has a rounded, full, deep brisket.

Flank Area.
     The flank contains very little muscle, possibly ½ inch. As an animal gets fatter, the flank region thickens, filling with fat deposits and causing the flank to drop with a tendency towards a straighter underline on the animal.

     The rear view of a fat animal where both hind legs come together or the "twist" reveals in steers a "full cod" or fat filled scrotum and in either sex the space between the "topsides" of the upper hind legs filling with fat as shown.

Muscle Masses.
     The forearm or "shin" and on the hind-leg the "shank" are areas on all animals that have mostly muscle covering the central bone. These areas contain only minimal amounts of fat. A more muscled animal stands with its hind feet wider apart. A convex or bulging hind-quarter muscle is apparent down either side of the flanks when viewed from behind.

     Another muscle area sits neatly above the ribs and beside the vertical spinal processes on either side of the backbone. This is known as the eye muscle. As an animal fattens, fat deposits are laid down around this muscle, often giving a false impression of the musculature or muscling of that animal.

Retail Beef Yield.
     The aim of all beef producers is to increase the quantity and quality of beef sold off the property, within the given resources. Retail Beef Yield is determined primarily by the weight of the animal, the degree of fatness, and to a lesser extent, by eye muscle area. The Eye Muscle Area influences the saleable meat yield by about 9% and has only minimal impact on assessment relative to the weight and fatness of the animal. The actual Eye Muscle Area can be measured in the live animal by scanning using ultra sound equipment. Similarly, the fat depth can be measured between the 12th and 13th ribs.

     Well that is part of the latest info from a few of the authorities on "Visual Evaulation For Bull Carcass Selection. Once you're familiar with these ideas, you'll be ready to move to the next level.

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