Predicting yields of high priced trimmed beef cuts by means of carcass weight and visual assessments of fat cover and conformation

  • PE Strydom
  • MF Smith


The total and individual trimmed meat yield of six hind quarter cuts and one fore quarter cut were estimated for 200 carcasses from animals of mixed origin with regard to breed, sex and feeding regimen. The linear models included carcass weight and visual assessment of fatness and conformation by means of seven fat and five conformation classes. Amount of variation accounted for (R2) was the most favourable for total yield (87.3%) and the least favourable for the rib-eye cut (43.5%). Carcass weight contributed to most of the variation accounted for and had a positive effect on the yield for all the cuts. Fat score and conformation score were significant in the models of all cuts and total yield except for the rump, and contributed at least 10 percentage points to the R2-value for the topside, thick flank, loin, rib-eye and fillet. Fat score had a negative effect on trimmed yield of all cuts except for the loin, which could be attributed to less trimming compared to other cuts. Conformation score had positive effects on the yield of all cuts except for the rump (non significant), fillet and thick flank. Fat score had the largest proportional effect (to size of the cut) on topside and thick flank, which both contain significant fat deposits. Conformation score had the largest proportional effect on the loin and rib-eye, which is probably due to the synergistic effect of fatness and conformation on the conformation score in this region. The accuracy of estimation of total yield for the purpose of awarding premiums to yield categories was considered to be good when the residual standard deviation of the estimated yield was compared with the standard deviation of the trial sample. However, separating cuts into different weight categories was less accurate and varied among cuts, which suggests that more information is needed for more reliable models before accurate individual yields of cuts can be predicted in practice.

Keywords: Conformation score; fat score; premiums; saleable meat

South African Journal of Animal Sciences Vol. 35 (3) 2005: pp.195-205

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2221-4062
print ISSN: 0375-1589