Body Composition Evaluation

Use of Ultrasound Backfat Estimates to Form Marketing Groups Prior to Finishing for Feedlot Steers

  • J. C. Iiams (Iowa State University)
  • A. Trenkle (Iowa State University)


An experiment was conducted using 95 Continental crossbred steers. The cattle were sorted by ultrasound 160 days before slaughter into a low backfat group (Low BF) and a higher backfat group (High BF). Half of the Low BF and half of the High BF were implanted whereas the other halves were not. Data from the experiment were used in two hypothetical markets. One market was a high yield beef program (HY) that did not allow the use of implants. The second market was a commodity beef program (CM) that allowed the use of implants. The cattle were priced as an unsorted group (ALL) and two sorted groups (Low BF and High BF) within the HY (non-implanted) and CM (implanted) markets. The CM program had a base price of $1.05/lb hot carcass weight (HCW) with a $0.15/lb HCW discount for quality grade (QG) Select and a $0.20/lb HCW discount for yield grade (YG) 4. The HY program used a base price of $1.07/lb HCW with premiums ($/lb HCW) paid for YG £ .9 (.15), 1.0 - 1.4 (.10), and 1.5 - 1.9 (.03). The carcasses were discounted ($/lb HCW) for YG 2.5 - 2.9 (.03), 3.0 - 3.9 (.15), and ³ 4.0 (.35). This data set provides good evidence that the end point at which to sell a group of cattle depends on the particular market. Sorting had an economic advantage over ALL in the HY Low BF and the CM High BF groups. The HY High BF cattle should have been sold sooner due to the discounts recieved for increased YG. The increased YG was directly affected by an increase in BF. Furthermore, the CM Low BF group should have been fed longer to increase the number of carcasses grading Choice.

Keywords: ASL R1430

How to Cite:

Iiams, J. C. & Trenkle, A., (1998) “Use of Ultrasound Backfat Estimates to Form Marketing Groups Prior to Finishing for Feedlot Steers”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 1998
Peer Reviewed