Each semester in ANSC 437, “Marketing and Grading of Livestock and Meat,” Davey Griffin and I demonstrate yields and value of a beef carcass through an exercise that has been conducted for Beef 101 and Beef 706 over the years. Clay Eastwood led a group of grad students in fabricating one side of a beef carcass into subprimals, minor cuts, trimmings, bone, and fat. Weights and prices were added to a spreadsheet and values were computed. The bottom line is to see if the value of the carcass components is more than the price paid for the live animal.
One of the exercises conducted during this demonstration is to rank the top ten items for yields (based on weights of individual components) and the top ten items for value (based on weights times price of individual components). For yields, beef trimmings, bone, and fat trimmings comprise a much higher percentage of the weight of a beef carcass than one may think. For value, after trimmings, the middle meats — tenderloin, strip loin, ribeye, and top sirloin butt — drive a large portion of the value. In fact, the middle meats usually comprise about 10-12% of the weight of a carcass, but may comprise about 1/3 of the value. USDA grade plays an important role in this value determination of these middle meats. If the middle meats are from Prime carcasses, the value represented could be about 40% of the carcass value; if the middle meats are from Select carcasses, the value represented could be about 27% of the carcass value.
Here are pie charts comparing weights and values of the Select, Yield Grade 1 carcass used in the demonstration:
Here is the Top Ten List of carcass components by weight:
Here is the Top Ten List of carcass components by value:
This chart presents the current price/cwt for the four middle meats for Prime, Top Choice (programs such as Certified Angus Beef), Choice, and Select. The spread (price/cwt differential between Choice and Select) is usually the highest in the fall of the year so the differences are greater than they may be during different times of the year.