Money left on the table for U.S. cull cattle: audit

American cattle producers are potentially foregoing US$122.77 per head in “lost opportunities” on slaughter cows and bulls.

The U.S. National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit, released earlier this month, calculated the cost of various factors at slaughter that potentially reduce the return producers can get on their cull cows and bulls.

The 2016 total was much higher than the same calculation for 1999 at $62.46 and 1994 at $59.73, but changes in marketing conditions and higher prices offered for carcasses and their various cuts have to be factored into the assumptions.

Results of the slaughter cow and bull audit were presented Sept. 7 via webinar.

Deb VanOverbeke of Oklahoma State University outlined the list of factors that reduce producers’ profits.

Among the 10 factors assessed, the most costly is excess external fat on carcasses, a potential $55.11 loss per head. Inadequate muscling can cost $31.59.

Yellow-coloured external fat on carcasses can deduct an estimated $12.47 from the value. White fat is more highly desired by retailers and consumers.

Other factors included hide defects at $7.47, whole carcass condemnations at $6.82, bruises at $3.41, head, tongue and liver condemnations at $2.56, arthritic joints at $1.89, dark cutters at $1.35 and injection site lesions at 10 cents.

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