ANSC 627 – Carcass Composition and Quality

ANSC 627 syllabus 2015A

ANSC 627 resource page

Spring Semester, 2015

3 Credit Hours (3-0)

TR 8:00 – 9:15 AM, Room 300 Kleberg Center

J.W. Savell, University Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, and E.M. Rosenthal Chairholder

Room 348 Kleberg Center (979-845-3992) or

Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University

Course Description

Survey of scientific literature regarding carcass composition; quality and palatability of meat animals; factors that affect differences among animals of the same specie; the impact on value and usefulness.



  1. To survey the literature with respect to the current status of carcass composition and quality/palatability research;
  2. To discuss the historical aspects of the development of grade standards for beef, pork and lamb carcasses;
  3. To acquaint the student with important scientific methodology and the techniques necessary to be able to conduct research and interpret information on composition and quality/palatability;
  4. To contrast and compare systems for carcass evaluation in the United States with systems from other countries throughout the world; and,
  5. To relate how sex-class, breed and management affects carcass composition and quality/palatability of beef, pork and lamb.


Lectures will consist of discussions of research papers and material from the textbook and other reading assignments. Students are encouraged to enter into discussions, and, at times, will be asked to make short presentations regarding research information especially if it relates to an area they have conducted research or have a special interest in.


The tests are take-home and are designed to allow the student to gather information from many sources and answer complex questions regarding carcass composition and quality/palatability. The tests will be given to the student near the end of each module and will be due one week later. This method of testing is the best way to measure learning of this complex material. Although students are requested to do their own work, I encourage joint discussions among students regarding complex issues. This interchange improves the learning process.

Students are requested to use Endnote, a bibliographic tool, to help them with citations for their tests. You can get this software at Also, please just the Journal of Animal Science styleguide for preparing answers to the tests including citations and bibliography.

Research presentation

Students will be required to make research presentations covering some issue that is related to the subject matter material from this course. The presentation is due at the end of the class and will comprise one-fifth of the final grade. Groups will be assigned to work together on these presentations, and dates for the presentations will be determined during the first couple of weeks of class.

Examination and Research Paper Schedule and Grading

The schedule will be as follows:

Item Worth Date Given Date Due
Examination A 100 points February 10 February 17
Examination B 100 points March 5 March 12
Examination C 100 points April 9 April 16
Examination D 100 points April 25 May 7
Team presentation 100 points TBD
Total 500 points

Grades will be assigned as follows: 450 points or higher = A; 400 to 449 points = B; 350 to 399 points = C; 300 to 349 = D; and less than 300 = F.

Attendance policy

Because this is a graduate course, it is difficult for graduate students to be in class every time it meets. I encourage class attendance because this is a good way to learn from the interchange of ideas. I also understand the necessity to be gone from class conducting the research that will be used in this and following semesters to help increase the knowledge-base of students. Students who miss should check with me to obtain handout materials they miss.


Module 1–Prediction and Instrument Assessment


Lecture 1 January 20 Introduction
Lecture 2 January 22 Prediction equations in carcass evaluation
Lecture 3 January 27 Prediction equations in carcass evaluation
Lecture 4 January 29 Palatability evaluation of meat
Lecture 5 February 3 Determining carcass composition of meat animals
Lecture 6 February 5 Instrument assessment of live animals
Lecture 7 February 10 Instrument assessment of carcasses


Module 2–Pork

Lecture 8 February 12 Pork carcass quality
Lecture 9 February 17 Pork carcass quality
Lecture 10 February 19 Pork carcass composition
Lecture 11 February 24 Pork carcass composition
Lecture 12 February 26 USDA pork carcass grading
Lecture 13 March 3 Pork composition & quality as influenced by sex-class and breed
Lecture 14 March 5 Pork composition & quality as influenced by growth promotants


Module 3–Beef

Lecture 15 March 10 Beef carcass quality
Lecture 16 March 12 Beef carcass quality
Lecture 17 March 24 USDA beef quality grade development
Lecture 18 March 26 Beef carcass composition
Lecture 19 March 31 Beef carcass composition
Lecture 20 April 2 USDA beef yield grade development
Lecture 21 April 7 Beef composition & quality as influenced by sex-class and breed
Lecture 22 April 9 Beef composition & quality as influenced by growth promotants


Module 4–Lamb and World Grading/Classification Systems


Lecture 23 April 14 USDA lamb quality grade development
Lecture 24 April 16 USDA lamb yield grade development
Lecture 25 April 21 Lamb composition & quality as influenced by sex-class, breed & growth promotants
Lecture 26 April 23 Carcass grading/classification systems of the world — EU and Canada
Lecture 27 April 28 Carcass grading/classification systems of the world — Japan
Lecture 28 April 30 Carcass grading/classification systems of the world — Australia and New Zealand

List of Books and References

Books and Book Chapters

Berg, R.T., and Butterfield, R.M. 1976. “New Concepts of Cattle Growth.” John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.

Kempster, A.J., Cuthbertson, A., and Harrington, G. 1983. “Carcase Evaluation.” Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.

Lawrie, R.A. 1998. “Lawrie’s Meat Science” (6th Edition). Technomic Publishing Company, Inc., Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Lister, D. 1984. “In Vivo Measurement of Body Composition in Meat Animals.” Elsevier Applied Science Publishers, London, England.

National Pork Producers Council. 1991. “Procedures to Evaluate Market Hog Performance” (3rd Edition). National Pork Producers Council, Des Moines, IA

Savell, J.W., and Cross, H.R. 1991. Reassessment of significant factors influencing carcase composition. In “Developments in Meat Science — 5 (Lawrie, R.A., Ed.),” Elsevier Applied Science, London and New York.

Savell, J.W., and Smith, G.C. 2009. Meat Science Laboratory Manual (8th ed.). American Press, Boston.

Swatland, H.J. 1984. “Structure and Development of Meat Animals.” Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Journal Articles

Ferrell, C.L., and Cornelius, C.L. 1984. Estimation of body composition of pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 58:903.

Hedrick, H.B. 1983. Methods of estimating live animal and carcass composition. J. Anim. Sci. 57:1316.

MacNeil, M.D. 1983. Choice of a prediction equation and the use of the selected equation in subsequent experimentation. J. Anim. Sci. 57:1328.

USDA Grade Standards

United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef

United States Standards for Grades of Lamb, Yearling Mutton, and Mutton Carcasses

United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses

Other Information

History of Meat Grading in the United States

The Role of USDA’s Beef Grading Program in the Marketing of Beef by Dr. Craig A. Morris, USDA

Journal of Animal Science Instructions for Authors

Murphey et al. (1960)

European Union

COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1183/2006 of 24 July 2006 concerning the Community scale for the classification of carcasses of adult bovine animals (codified version)




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