Date of this Version
The Author(s) 2018.
To continue the series that began in 1994, the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) – 2016 was conducted to quantify the quality status of the market cow and bull beef sector, as well as determine improvements made in the beef and dairy industry since 2007. The NBQA-2016 was conducted from March through December of 2016, and assessed hide-on carcasses (n = 5,278), chilled carcasses (n = 4,285), heads (n = 5,720), and offal items (n = 4,800) in 18 commercial processing facilities throughout the United States. Beef cattle were predominantly black-hided; 68.0% of beef cows and 67.2% of beef bulls possessed a black hide. Holstein was the predominant type of dairy animal observed. Just over half (56.0%) of the cattle surveyed had no mud contamination on the hide, and when mud was present, 34.1% of cattle only had small amounts. Harvest floor assessments found 44.6% of livers, 23.1% of lungs, 22.3% of hearts, 20.0% of viscera, 8.2% of heads, and 5.9% of tongues were condemned. Liver condemnations were most frequently due to abscess presence. In contrast, contamination was the primary reason for condemnation of all other offal items. Of the cow carcasses surveyed, 17.4% carried a fetus at the time of harvest. As expected, mean carcass weight and loin muscle area values observed for bulls were heavier and larger than cows. The marbling scores represented by cull animal carcasses were most frequently slight and traces amounts. Cow carcasses manifested a greater amount of marbling on average than bull carcasses. The predominant fat color score showed all carcasses surveyed had some level of yellow fat. Only 1.3% of carcasses exhibited signs of arthritic joints. Results of the NBQA-2016 indicate there are areas in which the beef and dairy industries have improved and areas that still need attention to prevent value loss in market cows and bulls.