The Significance of Finished Cattle Sorting Methodology on
Grid Market Performance and Enhanced Revenue for
Calf-Fed Beef Cattle
During the past 15 years there has been a major change in the way finished cattle are marketed. Live bids on complete pens of cattle are less prevalent with the advent of value-based marketing where there is an increased emphasis placed on carcass quality and red meat yield. Value-based marketing establishes value based on the animal’s own individual carcass merit. Various grid markets have specifications for important carcass traits that include quality grade, yield grade, and carcass weight. Carcasses that exceed the criteria receive premiums while those that fall short of the specifications receive discounts that in some cases are quite severe. Because of this newer pricing system there may be economic advantages to sort cattle at the end of the feeding period. Past research has demonstrated that sorting cattle by specific traits results in reducing the variation of the traits being evaluated. Feedlots and producers need a sort system that can be performed in a minimal amount of time and expense and is accurate in identifying animals that meet the specifications for a particular market.