Beef Quality Corner -- '97 "Industry Target Steers"
Livestock Update, December 1997
Bill R. McKinnon, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech
The "Industry Target Steer" recognition program was initiated by the Virginia Cattle Feeders Association. The program recognizes finished steers in either junior livestock shows or the Virginia Retained Ownership Program which meet a minimum set of standards for both growth and carcass performance. The standards serve as guidelines for the type of cattle producers need to be breeding and feeding.
The carcass standards are a result of information gathered in the 1995 National Beef Quality Audit. To qualify for "Industry Target Steer" status, the steer's carcass must meet each of the criteria as well as put on at least 3.0 pounds per day while on feed. The performance standards of the "Industry Target" are aimed at the needs of the cattle feeder, packer and consumer.
|Average daily gain on feed||3.0 lb. or greater|
|Carcass weight||625 - 850 lbs.|
|Back fat||.5 inch or less|
|Ribeye area||12.0 to 16.0 sq. inches|
|USDA Yield grade||less than 3.0|
|USDA Quality grade||Choice - or better|
The standards look relatively easy to achieve, but requiring each of the carcass criteria to be met while achieving 3 pounds of daily gain while on feed have proven difficult.
Of the 121 steers consigned to the Virginia ROP program during the fall of 1996 and finished in 1997, only 9 steers qualified or roughly 7%. This percentage was similar to last year and was up considerably from the 3% in the first year of the ROP program.
Table 1. 1996-97 Virginia R.O.P. "Industry Target" Steers
Youth exhibiting steers as 4-H and FFA projects are also being recognized for producing cattle which meet the mainstream of industry demand. Many of our county and area steer shows do not have the opportunity to collect carcass data on their steers. In those shows which do have carcass information, the data is analyzed and those cattle which meet the criteria are recognized. For the Virginia State Fair the minimum average daily requirement is waived.
Table 2. 1997 Virginia Youth "Industry Target" Steers
|Sarah Mottesheard||Campbell||Lynchburg||3.51||788||0.50||12.7||2.90||Choice -|
|Rob Stewart||Campbell||Lynchburg||3.75||849||0.30||13.2||2.70||Choice -|
|Seth Conner||Botetourt||Roanoke||3.75||630||0.40||13.1||2.10||Choice +|
|Lori McKinnon||Montgomery||Roanoke||3.19||745||0.50||14.9||2.21||Choice -|
|David Massie||Rappahannock||Va. State Fair||n/a||764||0.40||12.5||2.90||Choice|
|Scott Updike||Rappahannock||Va. State Fair||n/a||793||0.40||13.4||2.73||Choice -|
|J.T. Begoon||Augusta||Va. State Fair||n/a||791||0.40||12.2||2.99||Prime -|
|Jason Michael||Augusta||Va. State Fair||n/a||797||0.40||13.4||2.74||Choice -|
|Brittany Peyton||Loudoun||Va. State Fair||n/a||816||0.20||14.8||1.76||Choice -|
|April Kyger||Rockingham||Va. State Fair||n/a||839||0.40||15.3||2.09||Choice -|
The purpose of the program is to reinforce targets at which the industry can aim. As a state of primarily cow/calf producers, the aim should be to produce the kind of cattle which meet our customers' needs. Our customers include cattle feeders, packers, retailers and finally, the consumer. A steer recognized as "Industry Target" goes a long way in that direction.