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'96 Industry Target Steers

Livestock Update, March 1997

Bill McKinnon, Animal and Poultry Sciences

The "Industry Target Steer" recognition program was initiated last year 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 carcass standards were 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 per day while on feed. The carcass standards include:

Carcass weight625 - 850 lbs.
Back fatless than .5 inch
Ribeye area12.0 to 16.0 square inches
Yield gradeless than 3.0
Quality gradeChoice - 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 249 steers consigned to the Virginia ROP program during the fall of 1996 and finished in 1996, only 18 steers qualified or roughly 7%. This was up considerably from the 3% in the first year of the ROP program.

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' being cattle feeders, packers, retailers and finally, the consumer. A steer recognized as "Industry Target" goes a long way in that direction.

View a chart of 1995-96 Virginia R.O.P. "Industry Target" Steers.

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