Canadian steer carcasses are 125 lbs heavier than previous audit: Video



The 2016/2017 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) completed a carcass grade cooler audit to assess marbling and lean meat yield.

Since the previous audit in 2010/2011, the number of Canadian cattle grading AAA significantly increased which has supported the growth of branded beef programs in retail and the restaurant sector.

Table 1: Changes in percentage of A grades from 2010/2011 to 2016/2017. Data source Canadian Beef Grading Agency (CBGA).

Yield grade performance has decreased over the same time period. Due to the increase in fat cover, fewer cattle are meeting the yield class 1 designation. In fed cattle, the cost to industry from discounts on yield grades has increased from $12.57/head or $32 million in 2010/11 to $12.81/head or $33 million in 2016/17.

The average steer carcass rate has increased from 857 lbs in 2010/2011 to 982 lbs in 2017. Larger carcass sizes present challenges because larger muscle sizes require steaks to be cut thinner to fit portion sizes on restaurant menus. Since 1975, carcasses have increased 7 lbs annually.

The ultimate goal is to continue to produce high marbling carcasses and maintain lean meat yield even at heavier carcasses. It is well known that marbling is the last fat to be deposited and has a positive effect on the eating quality of some cuts. However, there is a time-based relationship between muscle and fat deposition and fat will continue to accumulate without increases in muscle at higher live weights. The ideal carcass would be one that meets both a high quality and yield grade, for example Canada Prime or AAA and a Y1 yield grade.

Table 2: Carcasses meeting the AAA/Y1 grade in 2016/2017 compared to 2010/2011. Data source CBGA.

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How much do Canadian consumers enjoy their home-cooked steaks? New video

To understand the satisfaction of Canadian beef consumers, a Retail Beef Satisfaction Benchmark was completed as part of the 2014-18 National Beef Quality Audit.

Goals of the retail beef study were to determine:

  1. the importance of tenderness, juiciness and flavour
  2. consumer satisfaction levels with Canadian beef steaks
  3. the tenderness of Canadian beef steaks

Consumer satisfaction with retail beef in Canada was assessed using four cuts of steak (boneless cross rib, top sirloin, inside round, or strip loin) from 75 stores across Canada. A total of 1200 randomly selected consumers were provided with one cut of steak, instructed to prepare it at home and to provide a score out of ten for juiciness, flavour, tenderness and overall rating. Consumers were screened to ensure they had some experience in preparing beef products and had consumed beef in the past year. The same retailers also provided 680 steaks which were tested for tenderness using a technique called the Warner-Bratzler method at Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) laboratory in Lacombe, AB.

The consumer satisfaction assessment revealed that 79% of the test consumers gave an overall score of 7/10 or higher. Of the 1,200 consumers, 288 gave their steak a perfect rating (10/10). When the rest of the consumers were asked, “Why wasn’t it perfect?”, approximately 12% of study consumers felt their cooking methods were solely or partially responsible. The consumers’ main concern (46%) was with the texture (tenderness and juiciness) of their steak. Flavour and fat content were least often noted as a concern (9% and 6% respectively). Continue reading

Lost profits: Injection site lesions cost the industry $1.63 million: New Videos



Injection site lesions visible on the carcass surface have increased to nearly 14% of non-fed cattle and 8% of fed cattle. Even in areas that are inches away from injection sites can result in tissue damage causing tougher meat and lower eating quality. As a result, injection site lesions cost the industry $0.56/head or $1.63 million in 2016. That’s up considerably from 0.21/head or $662,951 in 2011.

What do you need to know?



Animals should be properly restrained to ensure the safety of both yourself and the animal. This will also give greater access to the neck area to improve delivery accuracy and reduce the risk of broken needles.

Use subcutaneous (below the skin) when possible versus intermuscular (into the muscle) when administering injections. Intermuscular injections generate a greater risk of developing a reaction to the treatment and can create injection abscesses and bruising. Continue reading

Carcass defects cost industry an estimated $110 million/year: New video

Beef quality defects, like bruises and lesions, cause economic losses to the Canadian beef industry due to reductions in usable meat and the added labour to remove these defects from the carcass.

This video from a new video series on the results of the latest National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) provides the answers to which carcass defects the beef industry has improved upon since the previous audit and the areas we as an industry need to work on. The ultimate objective of the NBQA is to enhance the quality and safety of Canadian beef while increasing the profitability of the Canadian beef and cattle industry.

The NBQA results indicate Continue reading