Dressing percentages for cattle

NSW DPI - Bill McKiernan, Bob Gaden and Brian Sundstrom

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Helpful article to assist producers understands dressing percentages in beef cattle. I was surprised to learn that cattle have the highest weight loss within the first 12-16 hours of feed.

This article assists producers to better understanding dressing percentages in cattle.

Items covered in this article were:

• Dressing percentages

• Factors affecting dressing percentages

• Gutfill weight allowance

• Other factors that can affect dressing percentage

Key points were as follows:

• Carcass weight is calculated from a known live weight and the dressing percentage is a factor in that calculation. In simple terms, dressing percentage = (carcass weight / live weight) x 100.

• A main factor that can affect the dressing percentage includes how long cattle have been curfewed (off feed) before they are weighted to allow for a gutfill loss.

• A weight loss allowance needs to be expected from the loss of gutfill of cattle between when they are mustered and when they are slaughtered as they are not consuming any feed but continue to urinate and defecate. The highest weight loss occurs in cattle in the first 12-16 hours off feed.

• Other factors that can affect dressing percentages include fat, muscle, breed, pregnancy, bruising and the type of country the cattle have come off (i.e. high quality).

2007 - Australia - NSW DPI - Bill McKiernan, Bob Gaden and Brian Sundstrom
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