The National Beef Quality Audit ? 2011 assessed the current status of quality and consistency of fed steers and heifers. Beef carcasses (n = 9,802), representing approximately 10 percent of each production lot in 28 beef processing facilities, were selected randomly for the survey. Carcass evaluation for the cooler assessment of this study revealed these traits and frequencies: steer (63.5%), heifer (36.4%), cow (0.1%), and bullock (0.03%) sex classes; dark-cutters (3.2%); blood splash (0.3%); yellow fat (0.1%); calloused ribeye (0.05%); A (92.8%), B (6.0%), and C or greater (1.2%) overall maturities; native (88.3%), dairy-type (9.9%), and Bos indicus (1.8%) estimated breed types; and United States (97.7%), Mexico (1.8%), and Canada (0.5%) country of origin. Certified or marketing program frequencies were age and source verified (10.7%), ? A40 (10.0%), Certified Angus Beef (9.3%), top Choice (4.1%), natural (0.6%), and Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (0.5%), and there were no organic programs observed. Mean USDA YG traits were USDA YG (2.9), HCW (374.0 kg), AFT (1.3 cm), LM area (88.8 cm2), and KPH (2.3%); Frequencies of USDA YG distributions were YG 1 (12.4%), YG 2 (41.0%), YG 3 (36.3%), YG 4 (8.6%), and YG 5 (1.6%). Mean USDA QG traits were USDA QG (Select93), marbling score (Small40), overall maturity (A59), lean maturity (A54), skeletal maturity (A62). Frequencies of USDA QG distributions were Prime (2.1%), Choice (58.9%), Select (32.6%), and Standard or less (6.3%). Marbling score distribution was Slightly Abundant or greater (2.3%), Moderate (5.0%), Modest (17.3%), Small (39.7%), Slight (34.6%), and Traces or less (1.1%). Carcasses with QG of Select or greater and YG of 3 or numerically less represented 85.1% of the sample. This is the fifth benchmark study measuring targeted carcass characteristics, and information from this survey will continue to help drive progress in the beef industry. Results will be used in extension and educational programs as teaching tools to inform beef producers and industry professionals of the current state of the U.S. beef industry
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