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Washington Steer of Merit

Washington Steer of Merit

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Jan Busboom, Ph.D., Animal Scientist and Extension Meats Specialist, Washington State University Department of Animal Sciences, Pullman, WA, Donald Llewellyn, Ph.D., Regional Livestock Specialist, Washington State University Extension, Kennewick, WA
The Washington Steer of Merit outlines the purpose of the program, requirements for steer and beef carcass of merit, changes in merit requirements, placement of carcasses, procedure and definition of terms recorded or used in Washington steer and beef carcass of merit programs, and a list of reference material.
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Purpose of Program

  1. To create an awareness of current market demands.
  2. To recognize exhibitors and breeders for producing high-value carcasses.
  3. To provide information about carcasses produced in youth shows.
  4. To identify selection, breeding, nutrition, and management practices that result in desirable carcasses.
  5. To promote and improve the educational value and public image of youth shows.

Requirements for Washington Steer of Merit

  1. Hot Carcass Weight. Must weigh 600 to 950 pounds. Based on current market conditions, the carcass weight requirements may be adjusted to be consistent with current industry standards.
  2. Ribeye Area. The sliding-scale ribeye area (square inches) requirement is based on carcass weight and is derived from the USDA Yield Grade equation. The minimum ribeye area requirement is equal to or greater than (hot carcass weight × 0.012) + 3.8 for carcasses up to 775 pounds and those carcasses weighing 775 pounds and above will still have the 13.1 square inch requirement.

  1. Quality Grade. Low Choice or higher.
  1. Yield Grade. Yield grade requirements depend on the quality grade and are shown below. Yield grades are reported to the tenth of a yield grade (the 1/100th decimal digit is dropped; for example, a yield grade of 2.99 is reported as 2.9).

  1. Carcasses must be free from defects that may significantly reduce carcass value. For example, carcasses with excessive (greater than 5%) muscle fat or bone removed due to bruises or localized infections should be eliminated.
  2. Average Daily Gain. Minimum of 2.70 pounds per day. Steers must be fed a minimum of 100 days before the show (this requirement does not conflict with ownership requirements and tagging can occur at the same time as weigh-in).


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