Getting Better (2007 National Market Cow And Bull Beef Quality Audit)
The results of the 2007 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit show that “there were fewer downers, fewer dead and moribund cattle, fewer instances of inadequate trailer space and better loading of cattle.” An estimated 6-8 million cows are sent to slaughter every year.
Two previous audits were conducted in 1994 and 1999; the 2007 audit shows overall improvement in several areas:
- Less bruising and fewer injunction-site blemishes were among the areas in which producers showed more care in their handling of cows, practices that can prevent discounts at the packer. In 1999, only 11% of the carcasses had no bruises, compared with 37% having no bruises in 2007.
- Within plant holding pens, knots from the injection sites in the shoulder area of beef cows rose from 0.3% in 1999 to 2.1% in 2007.
- Carcass weights for both cows and bulls were higher in 2007; the 1999 average for cows was 540.5 lbs and for bulls was 858.5 lbs, compared to the 2007 average of 634.9 lbs for cows and 873.1 lbs for bulls.
- Muscle scores improved in 2007, but additional improvement is still needed in this area.