Thursday, August 02, 2012

Carcass Event Helps Youth Steer Project Participants Determine Winners

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- The 2012 Lawrence County Missouri Youth Steer Project wrapped up its carcass phase on July 30 with the evaluation of the six steers that began the program on March 3. The six young 4-H and FFA members each fed and cared for their steers. Five of the six head were home-raised.

The project’s goal was to focus attention on the objective and economic measurement side of beef production, post-weaning. Rate of gain, carcass quality and yield grade were evaluated on the July 30. The steers had been shown in early June at the county fair for a subjective evaluation. At that event the exhibitors “sold” their animals during the premium sale.

The steer’s average beginning weight was 758 lbs. One heavy steer was slaughtered early due to his size and finish. The other five were fed for 141 days and had an average daily gain of 3.61 lbs.

The boys and girls conducted their own subjective evaluation of each steer ahead of slaughter. The steers were slaughtered at Cloud’s Meats in Carthage. After a week’s chill, they were graded. The average carcass weight was 702 lbs.

The fat cover averaged .35 in. with a range from .15 to .5 inch. Ribeye area averaged 12.3 square inches with a range from 11.5 to 14.0 square inches. The quality grades ran from Select minus to average Choice. Two steers would qualify for Certified Angus Beef.

No placings were made on the carcasses but a value was established using a current grid price sheet from a major packer. The carcasses were marketed by the youth and their parents. Some did go into their home freezers.

Following the evaluation, hosts Mike and Andy Cloud processed one side of a steer to show how the carcass is broken into the wholesale and retail cuts.

“This was a special treat as many had never seen this done and the Cloud’s made it look so easy,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The project will conclude in September when each participant reports on their feed costs and other expenses incurred during the year. Based on the steer’s beginning value and their carcass value at the end when expenses are deducted there may not be any profits. However, much was learned and plans are in place to repeat this practical learning experience next year.

“The bottom line is there was not a single winner or champion as all six youth and their parents learned a lot during the project,” said Cole.

The project leader was John Kleiboeker, Stotts City assisted by Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, Mt. Vernon. For additional information contact Cole at 417-466-3102 or

PHOTOS AVAILABLE: Photos from the carcass event are available for free download and use at


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