Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Presented at Range Beef Cow Symposium XXI, December 1-3, 2009, Casper, Wyoming. Sponsored by Cooperative Extension Services and the Animal Science Departments of the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Nebraska¬Lincoln.


Why is quality important? An enormous amount of research and money have been invested in determining the impacts of just about every management practice on the effects of marbling. Marketing and management practices have been developed around the choice/select spread. But the question begs to be asked, “Is marbling important?” Regardless of the choice/select spread or any other premiums received due to carcass quality, the answer to that question should be a resounding “YES”, for no other reason than the importance of a quality eating experience from consumers. The 2005 National Quality Beef Audit reports that the #1 concern of both beef packers and merchandisers is insufficient marbling. Moreover, as the trend for reduced per capita consumption of beef continues, quality and consistency is extremely important to retain consumer satisfaction. There are three major influences that affect the eating experience of beef: flavor, juiciness, and tenderness. To some degree, either directly or indirectly, marbling affects all three. Although managerial decisions, such as implants and growth promotants certainly may affect quality grade, this talk and proceedings is going to focus on timely nutritional factors that may influence quality grade.