Carcass Traits Determining Quality and Yield Grades of Hanwoo Steers

  • Moon, S.S. (Meat Science Laboratory, Division of Animal Science, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Hwang, I.H. (National Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Jin, S.K. (Department of International Livestock Industry, Jinju National University) ;
  • Lee, J.G. (Meat Science Laboratory, Division of Animal Science, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Joo, S.T. (Meat Science Laboratory, Division of Animal Science, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Park, G.B. (Meat Science Laboratory, Division of Animal Science, Gyeongsang National University)
  • Received : 2002.08.20
  • Accepted : 2003.02.28
  • Published : 2003.07.01


A group of Hanwoo (Korean cattle) steers (n=14,386) was sampled from a commercial abattoir located in Seoul over one year period (spring, summer, autumn and winter) and their carcass traits were collected. Carcass traits assessed by an official meat grader comprised degree of marbling, meat color, fat color, texture and maturity for quality grade, and back fat thickness, ribeye area and carcass weight for yield grade. A heavier carcass with a higher marbling score, more red meat color and white fat color received better quality grade (p<0.05). Regression analysis showed that the marbling score was the strongest attribute (partial $R^2=0.88$) for quality grade. Lighter carcasses with a thinner back fat and larger ribeye area received higher yield grade score. The back fat thickness was the most negative determinant of yield grade (Partial $R^2=-0.66$). The slaughter season had a little effect on quality and yield grades. As slaughter weight increased, back fat thickness and ribeye area increased linearly, whereas marbling score reached its asymptotic level at approximately 570 kg. As a consequence, quality grade showed a considerable improvement up to 570 kg, but increases in slaughter weight afterward showed a little benefit on quality grade. There was a clear curvilinear relationship between slaughter weight and yield grade in that the yield grade reached its highest point at approximately 490 kg and decreased afterward. These results suggested that 570kg at the age of 24 months might be the economic slaughter weight for quality grade but 490 kg for yield grade.



Supported by : Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF)


  1. Abraham, H. C., C. E. Murphey, H. R. Cross, G. C. Smith and W. J. Jr. Franks. 1980. Factors affecting beef carcass cutability: An evaluation of the USDA yield grades for beef. J. Anim. Sci. 50:841.
  2. Acker, D., J. V. Whiteman, E. Morris, R. Leverton, R. MacVicar and S. S. Pope. 1959. Some effects of stilbestrol and related hormones on feedlot performance and carcass merit of fed lambs. J. Anim. Sci. 18:1255-1263.
  3. Animal products grading service. 1995. Report of business for animal products grading. APGS, Korea.
  4. Animal products grading service. 2001. Report of business for animal products grading. APGS, Korea.
  5. Apple, J. K., J. C. Davis, J. Stephenson, J. E. Hankins, J. R. Davis and S. L. Beaty. 1999. Influence of body condition score on carcass characteristics and subprimal yield from cull beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 77: 2660-2669.
  6. Boleman, S. L., S. J. Boleman, W. W. Morgan, D. S. Hale, D. B. Griffin, J. W. Savell, R. P. Ames, M. T. Smith, J. D. Tatum, T. G. Field, G. C. Smith, B. A. Gardner, J. B. Morgan, S. L. Northcutt, H. G. Dolezal and F. K. Ray. 1998. National Beef Quality Audit-1995: Survey of producer-related defects and carcass quality and quantity attributes. J. Anim. Sci. 76:96-103.
  7. Brouwer, E. 1965. Report of sub-committee on constants and factors. In: K. L. Blaxter (Ed.) Energy metabolism. Publish No. 11. (pp. 441-444), European Assoc. Animal Product Academy Press, London and New York.
  8. Cranwell, C. D., J. A. Unruh, J. R. Brethour and D. D. Simms. 1996a. Influence of steroid implants and concentrate feeding on carcass and longissimus muscle sensory and collagen characteristics of cull beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 74:1777-1783.
  9. Dikeman, M. E., L. W. Cundiff, K. E. Gregory, K. E. Kemp and R. M. Koch. 1998. Relative contributions of subcutaneous and intermuscular fat to yield and predictability of retail product, fat trim, and bone in beef carcasses. J. Anim. Sci. 76:1604-1612.
  10. Dikeman, M. E., K. N. Nagele, S. M. Myers, R. R. Schalles, D. H. Kropf, C. L. Kastner and F. A. Russo. 1985. Accelerated versus conventional beef production and processing. J. Anim. Sci. 61:137-150.
  11. Duckett, S. K., D. G. Wagner, L. D. Yates and S. G. May. 1993. Effects of time on feed on beef nutrient composition. J. Anim. Sci. 71:2079-2088.
  12. Faulkner, D. B., F. K. McKeith, L. L. Berger, D. J. Kesler and D. F. Parrett. 1989. Effect of testosterone propionate on performance and carcass characteristics of heifers and cows. J. Anim. Sci. 67:1907-1915.
  13. Geay, Y. 1984. Energy and protein utilization in growing cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 58:766-778.
  14. Griffin, D. B. 1992. Excessive seam fat in primals and subprimals; excess fat in beef trimmings. In: Smith, G. C(Ed.). 1991. The final report of the national beef quality audit. Colorado State University, Fort Collins and Texas A & M University, College Station.
  15. Jeremiah, L. E. 1996. The influence of subcutaneous fat thickness and marbling on beef: Palatability and consumer acceptability. Food Research International, 29:513-520.
  16. Harris, J. J., D. K. Lunt, S. B. Smith, W. L. Mies, D, S. Hale, M. Koohmaraie and J. W. Savell. 1997. Live animal performance, carcass traits, and meat palatability of calf- and yearling-fed cloned steers. J. Anim. Sci. 75: 986-992.
  17. Hermesmeyer, G. N., L. L. Berger, T. G. Nash and Jr. R. T. Brandt. 2000. Effects of energy intake, implantation, and subcutaneous fat end point on feedlot steer performance and carcass composition. J. Anim. Sci. 78:825-831.
  18. Hilton, G. G., J. D. Tatum, S. E. Willams, K. E. Belk, F. L. Williams, J. W. Wise and G. C. Smith. 1998. An evaluation of current and alternative systems for quality grading carcasses of mature slaughter cows. J. Anim. Sci. 76:2094-2103.
  19. Hong, S. K., B. H. Baek, B. S. Lee, W. M. Cho, H. S. Kang and J. M. Lee. 1996. Effects of growth performance and beef quality for various market weights and castration of Hanwoo. RDA. J. Agriculture Sci. (in Korean) 38:705-715.
  20. Kauffman, R. G., M. E. Van Ess, R. A. Long and D. M. Schaefer. 1975. Marbling: Its use in predicting beef carcass composition. J. Anim. Sci. 40:235.
  21. Kouba, M., D. Hermier and J. Le Dividich. 2001. Influence of a high ambient temperature on lipid metabolism in the growing pig. J. Anim. Sci. 79: 81-87.
  22. Kreikemeier, K. K., J. A. Unruh and T. P. Eck. 1998. Factors affecting the occurrence of dark-cutting beef and selected carcass traits in finished beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 76, 388-395.
  23. Lorenzen, C. L., D. S. Hale, D. B. Griffin, J. W. Savell, K. E. Belk, T. L. Frederick, M. F. Miller, T. H. Montgomery and G. C. Smith. 1993. National beef quality audit: Survey of producerrelated defects and carcass quality and quantity attributes. J. Anim. Sci. 71:1495-1502.
  24. Lunt, D. K. and L. E. Orme. 1987. Feedlot performance and carcass evaluation of heifers fed finishing diets as weanling calves or as yearlings. Meat Sci. 20:159-164.
  25. Matulis, R. J., F. K. McKeith, D. B. Faulkner, L. L. Berger and P. George. 1987. Growth and carcass characteristics of cull cows after different times-on-feed. J. Anim. Sci. 65:669-674.
  26. May, S. G., W. L. Mies, J. W. Edwards, F. L. Williams, J. W. Wise, J. B. Morgan, J. W. Savell and H. R. Cross. 1992. Beef carcass composition of slaughter cattle differing in frame size, muscle score, and external fatness. J. Anim. Sci. 70:2431.
  27. Miller, M. F., C. R. Kerth, J. W. Wise, J. L. Lansdell, J. E. Stowell and C. B. Ramsey. 1997. Slaughter plant location, USDA quality grade, external fat thickness, and aging time effects on sensory characteristics of beef loin strip steak. J. Anim. Sci. 75:662-667.
  28. Mitlohner, F. M., J. L. Morrow, J. W. Dailey, S. C. Wilson, M. L. Galyean, M. F. Miller and J. J. McGlone. 2001. Shade and misting effects on behavior, physiology, performance, and carcass traits of heat-stressed feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 79:2327-2335.
  29. Mukai, F., K. Oyama and S. Kohno. 1995. Genetic relationships between performance test traits and field carcass traits in Japanese Black cattle. Livestock Production Sci. 44:199-205.
  30. Myers, S. E., D. B. Faulkner, F. A. Ireland, L. L. Berger and D. F. Parrett. 1999. Production systems comparing early weaning to normal weaning with or without creep feeding for beef steers. J. Anim. Sci. 77:300-310.
  31. O'Mara, F. M., S. E. Williams, J. D. Tatum, G. G. Hilton, T. D. Pringle, J. W. Wise and F. L. Williams. 1998. Prediction of slaughter cow composition using live animal and carcass traits. J. Anim. Sci. 76:1594-1603.
  32. Owens, F. N., D. R. Gill, D. S. Secrist and S. W. Coleman. 1995. Review of some aspects of growth and development of feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 73: 3152-3172.
  33. Paisley, S. I., G. W. Horn, C. J. Ackerman, B. A. Gardner and D. S. Secrist. 1999. Effects of implants on daily gains of steers wintered on dormant native tallgrass prairie, subsequent performance, and carcass characteristics. J. Anim. Sci. 77:291-299.
  34. Park, G. B., S. S. Moon, Y. D. Ko, J. K. Ha, H. H. Chang and S. T. Joo. 2002. Influence of slaughter weight and sex on yield and quality grades of Hanwoo (Korean native cattle) carcasses. J. Anim. Sci. 80:129-136.
  35. Ray, D. E., W. H. Hale and J. A. Marchello. 1969. Influence of season, sex, and hormonal growth stimulants on feedlot performance of beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 29, 490-495.
  36. Rossi, J. E., S. C. Loerch and F. L. Fluharty. 2000. Effects of crude protein concentration in diets of feedlot steers fed to achieve stepwise increases in rate of gain. J. Anim. Sci. 78:3036-3044.
  37. SAS Institute, Inc. 1989. SAS/STAT User`s Guide: Version 6. 4th edn. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina.
  38. Savell, J. W., H. R. Cross, J. J. Francis, J. W. Wise, D. S. Hale, D. L. Wilkes and G. C. Smith. 1989. National consumer retail beef study: Interaction of trim level, price and grade on consumer acceptance of beef steaks and roasts. J. Food Qua., 12:251.
  39. Short, R. E., E. E. Grings, M. D. MacNeil, R. K. Heitschmidt, C. B. Williams and G. L. Bennett. 1999. Effects of sire growth potential, growing-finishing strategy, and time on feed on performance, composition, and efficiency of steer. J. Anim. Sci. 77:2406-2417.
  40. Smith, G. C., J. W. Savell, H. R. Cross, Z. L. Carpenter, C. E. Murphy, G. W. Davis, H. C. Abraham, F. C. Parrish and B. W. Berry. 1987. Relationship of USDA quality grades to palatability of cooked beef. J. Food Qua., 10:269.
  41. Van Koevering, M. T., D. R. Gill, F. N. Owens, H. G. Dolezal and C. A. Strasia. 1995. Effect of time on feed on performance of feedlot steers, carcass characteristics, and tenderness and composition of longissimus muscles. J. Anim. Sci. 73:21-28.
  42. Vergara, H., A. Molina and L. Gallego. 1999. Influence of sex and slaughter weight on carcass and meat quality in light and medium weight lambs produced in intensive systems. Meat Sci. 52:221-226.

Cited by

  1. Effect of Carcass Traits on Carcass Prices of Holstein Steers in Korea vol.26, pp.10, 1970,
  2. Meat Quality Traits of Longissimus Muscle of Hanwoo Steers as a Function of Interaction between Slaughter Endpoint and Chiller Ageing vol.32, pp.4, 2012,
  3. Effect of Marbling Score on Carcass Grade Factors, Physico-chemical and Sensory Traits of M. Longissimus Dorsi in Hanwoo vol.32, pp.5, 2012,
  4. Comparison of Physicochemical and Functional Traits of Hanwoo Steer Beef by the Quality Grade vol.34, pp.3, 2014,
  5. Comparison of Carcass and Sensory Traits and Free Amino Acid Contents among Quality Grades in Loin and Rump of Korean Cattle Steer vol.28, pp.11, 2015,
  6. Association of carcass weight with quality and functional properties of beef from Hanwoo steers vol.55, pp.5, 2015,
  7. Potential of bamboo vinegar with liquid probiotics on growth performance, fecal microbiology and fecal odorous gas emissions from finishing pigs vol.10, pp.11, 2016,
  8. Genetic correlation between live body measurements and beef cutability traits in Hanwoo steers vol.30, pp.8, 2017,
  9. Effect of alcohol dehydrogenase 1C (ADH1C) genotype on vitamin A restriction and marbling in Korean native steers vol.30, pp.8, 2017,
  10. Genetic parameters for yearling weight, carcass traits, and primal-cut yields of Hanwoo cattle1 vol.93, pp.4, 2015,
  11. beef cattle vol.23, pp.1, 2019,