Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

January 2004


Published in 2004 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report. Copyright © 2003 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


A two-year study compared steers from the same herd finished as calves or yearlings at a fat thickness endpoint of 0.5 in. Yearlings yielded heavier carcasses with larger ribeye areas, lower marbling scores and lower quality grades. Calves produced more tender steaks measured by shear force and a consumer taste panel. The probability of a tough steak (based on shear force) from calf-fed steers was 1.9 and 0.02% for 7 and 21 days of aging, respectively, while the risk for yearlings was 29.2 and 4.0%, respectively. Calf-fed steers produced more tender steaks and, after 21 days of aging, steaks from yearlings were similar.