U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



J. Anim. Sci. 2003. 81:1736–1742


Copyright 2003 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


Data from 534 steers representing six sire breed groups were used to develop live animal ultrasound prediction equations for weight and percentage of retail product. Steers were ultrasonically measured for 12th-rib fat thickness (UFAT), rump fat thickness (URPFAT), longissimus muscle area (ULMA), and body wall thickness (UBDWALL) within 5 d before slaughter. Carcass measurements included in USDA yield grade (YG) and quality grade calculations were obtained. Carcasses were fabricated into boneless, totally trimmed retail products. Regression equations to predict weight and percentage of retail product were developed using either live animal or carcass traits as independent variables. Most of the variation in weight of retail product was accounted for by live weight (FWT) and carcass weight with R2 values of 0.66 and 0.69, respectively. Fat measurements accounted for the largest portion of the variation in percentage of retail product when used as single predictors (R2 = 0.54, 0.44, 0.23, and 0.54 for UFAT, URPFAT, UBDWALL, and carcass fat, respectively). Final models (P < 0.10) using live animal variables included FWT, UFAT, ULMA, and URPFAT for retail product weight (R2 = 0.84) and UFAT, URPFAT, ULMA, UBDWALL, and FWT for retail product percentage (R2 = 0.61). Comparatively, equations using YG variables resulted in R2 values of 0.86 and 0.65 for weight and percentage of retail product, respectively. Results indicate that live animal equations using ultrasound measurements are similar in accuracy to carcass measurements for predicting beef carcass composition, and alternative ultrasound measurements of rump fat and body wall thickness enhance the predictive capability of live animal-based equations for retail yield.