Live cattle assessment

NSW DPI - Todd Andrews

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Handy introductory fact sheet on live cattle assessment. I was interested to learn the many aspects that are used when cattle are assessed and what factors are the most important.

This article talks about a live assessment of beef cattle and how producers can determine if their cattle are suitable or ready to send to various markets.

Items covered in this article were:

• Live cattle assessment criteria

• Fat score

• Muscle score

• Frame score

• Dentition

• Liveweight

• Dressing percentage/carcass weight

• Other criteria

Key points were as follows:

• Cattle can be assessed by the following factors:

• Fatness

• Muscle score

• Frame score

• Dentition

• Liveweight

• Dressing percentage and carcass weight

• Other criteria (sex, breed, temperament, structural soundness).

• A fat score can be determined by a visual or physical assessment of the animal; fat scores vary from 1-6 depending on the fat depth.

• Muscle scores can be determined by the shape and size of the animal and scored from A – E, this also takes into account the fat score.

• Frame scoring is based on an animal’s hip height at a certain age; scores range from 1-11 based on the level type and maturity level.

• Dentition is used measured an animal’s age and is based on milk teeth, 2 teeth, 4 teeth, 6 teeth and 8 teeth.

• Liveweight is best determined by electronic weigh scales that can be installed in a cattle crush.

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

• The 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 gut fill loss.

• 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).

2015 - Australia - NSW DPI - Todd Andrews
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