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Characterisation of Canadian Grade Standards and Lean Yield Prediction for Cows

06 May 2013

Simple measurements of carcase characteristics such as grade fat, rib-eye area, marbling and ossification can be used to predict the lean yield of cows, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science.

The study by A. Rodas-González, M. Juárez, W. M. Robertson, I. L. Larsen, J. L. Aalhus from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada looked at the characteristics of commercial carcases.

A total of 120 carcases were selected to benchmark the current Canadian grading system for cows (D1, D2, D3, D4;>50 per cent ossification) in comparison to A/AA grades youthful carcases, over and under 30 months of age based on dentition but
With the exception of the D3 and D4 grades, D1 and D2 carcase grades had similar carcase yield attributes compared with over 30 month and under 30 month carcases.

However, rib-eye area from under 30 months carcases was the largest (P<0.05), followed by D1, D2 and OTM. As expected, both over 30 month and under 30 month grades had lower ossification scores (P<0.05).

D4 grade showed the highest marbling score (P<0.05).

For carcase composition, compared with all other grades, the D3 grade had the highest proportion of lean (P<0.05) due to a lower proportion of dissectible fat (P<0.05).

However, it had the lightest carcase weight (P<0.05).

Using simple measures of carcase characteristics (grade fat, rib-eye area, marbling and ossification) a prediction equation to estimate lean yield (R 2=0.825; Cp=4.31) could be used to more accurately assess carcase value in cows.

The validation of the equation on a separate population would be required before its application.


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