Larger carcasses have been the norm in recent years. But exactly, “when are your cattle done?” asks Robbi Prichard, beef cattle specialist and professor at South Dakota State University, speaking at the Feeding Quality Forum sponsored partly by Certified Angus Beef..
That depends on the market, Choice-Select spread, quality and other factors, he says. “Feedlots want them to get bigger. Ranchers like them bigger, too,” Prichard added.
The trick is producing a bigger carcass without increasing the number of YG 4s. “Hot carcass weight (HCW) is still the most economically rewarding trait, but we want more,” Prichard said, noting that the ribeye doesn’t normally increase in size as carcass weights go above 900 pounds. “We want more HCW, more quality grade but fewer YG 4s.”
He stressed that implants remain important to better gains. “One implant adds 75 pounds of HCW (to an 800-pound steer) and can add 100 pounds HCW in a steer’s lifetime,” he says, adding that implants help manage growth of good genetics.
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