Assessing Fat Depth

Agriculture Victoria - Bruce Knee, Hamilton

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Informative article on how to assess the fat depth on beef cattle and how this tool can assist producers in producing cattle for specific target markets. I was interested to learn about the fat scoring system where a score is given from 1 - 6 depending on the depth of fat on the animal.

This article talks about assessing the fat depth on beef cattle to help producers gain a better understanding of achieving their desired carcase qualities for certain markets.

The items covered in this article are:

  • Why is fat depth important?
  • Measuring fat depth
  • Physical assessment
  • Visual assessment

Key points were as follows:

  • Fat depth is an important factor of the carcase as producers can achieve premium prices for carcases that have a specific fat depth.
  • Fat depth can be measured in certain areas of cattle to give producers a good indication on where their cattle are at in terms of being ready to sell.
  • Fat depth should be measured visually and physically by handling the animal.
  • The best site for fat depth measurement is called the P8 site; it is located between the hip and tail (rear end). For an image showing the exact P8 site, click on the following link:
  1. Other areas on the animal that can be assessed for fat depth are:
  2. Hip
  3. Top join of the tail bone
  4. Back bone above rump
  • Fat scores range from 1 (0-2mm) – 6 (33mm or higher).
  • Visual assessments for fat depth can be done by assessing the brisket, flank and from the rear view of the animal.
2006 - Australia - Agriculture Victoria - Bruce Knee, Hamilton
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