New Year’s Resolution: Get Better Grades

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Youthful carcasses from feedlot-finished cattle are graded for yield (amount of meat in the carcass) and quality (marbling score). Federal grading began during World War II to ensure quality standards during wartime price controls. Canada’s last major beef grading change occurred in the early 1990s, when Canada added quality grades to the grading system.

Canadian and US beef quality grades are quite similar (i.e. A vs. USDA Standard, AA vs. USDA Select, AAA vs. USDA Choice and Canada Prime vs. USDA Prime), but Canadian and US yield grades currently predict different things. Canada’s three yield grades predict “lean meat yield” (the percentage of red meat in the entire carcass). This essentially estimates the edible part of the carcass, at least for those consumers who trim the external and seam fat from their steaks and roasts and drain their ground beef. In contrast, the US has five yield grades (YG1 to YG5) that predict the “retail yield” of the four largest primal cuts (chuck, rib, loin and round) that make up 81% of the beef carcass. Unlike Canada’s lean meat yield, US retail yields account for the fact that beef sold in retail stores still carries some fat trim, as well as regular, medium and lean ground beef. The differences between Canada’s lean yield and US retail yield grades has caused some confusion and frustration in cross-border trade.

On January 15, Canada will change from three “lean meat yield” grades to five “retail yield” grades. Because both the definition of yield and the number of yield grades are changing, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lacombe Research & Development Centre worked with commercial packers in Canada to assess how the distribution of Canada’s yield grades may change when the new system is adopted. Continue reading

Veterinary insights from across Canada: Webinar January 15



Here’s your chance to ask burning vet-related questions! A panel of veterinarians from across Canada will discuss some of the most common issues they see in their region, including pink eye, foot rot, reproductive issues and more!



Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete. Continue reading

2018 Highlights and Deliverables

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. Our mandate is to

  • determine and communicate the Canadian beef cattle industry’s research and development priorities, and
  • administer the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds that have been assigned by producers to research

The BCRC’s research priorities focus on

  • improving competitiveness in the production of Canadian beef cattle,
  • supporting science-based policy, regulation and trade,
  • supporting science-based public education and advocacy,
  • supporting the Canadian Beef Advantage, and
  • accelerating the adoption of beneficial innovations by the Canadian beef industry.

The BCRC invites and funds projects and initiatives that have the greatest potential to benefit the sustainability and competitiveness of Canada’s beef industry. The BCRC is led by a committee of beef producers who proportionally represent each province’s research allocation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off.

2018 has been a transition year for the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) in terms of both funding and program administration. An increase in the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off from $1 to $2.50 per head in most provinces and revised allocations to research has grown the BCRC’s research budget from approximately 15 cents to Continue reading