Beef quality audit shows increase in carcass weights, liver abscesses, and tag


Canada’s fourth Beef Quality Audit (BQA) was completed in March 2018, following previous audits in 1995, 1998, and 2010/11. The carcass audit measured the incidence and economic costs of avoidable defects in Canadian slaughter cattle and beef and identified opportunities to avoid these losses.

The BQA is one way to check back on several data points to ensure that the industry has a full understanding on the beef being produced in Canada and engaging any production changes to address further defect losses.

According to the BCRC website the results of the BQA were:

  • Compared to the 2010/11 audit, the 2016/17 audit found twice as many fed cattle with excessive tag (from 15% in 2010/11 to 27% in 2016/17),
  • Overfat yield grade 3 carcasses (from 14% to 30%) or one or more active abscesses (from 10% to 19%).
  • Average carcass weights also increased by 58 pounds (steers) and 46 pounds (heifers).
  • The combined costs of tag, weight, yield grade, and liver discounts averaged over $67 per carcass (more than $10 higher than in 2010/11).
  • On the plus side, the percentage of AAA/Prime carcasses increased from 54% to 67%.

Shaun Haney talked to Beef Cattle Research Council science director Dr. Reynold Bergen about the history of the BQA, the results and what it means going forward for producers and research priorities. They discuss the key data points and take a deeper dive into research for reducing liver abscesses as well.

Read a full breakdown of the Beef Quality Audit written by Bergen.

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