Dressing percentage in livestock

Asked March 14, 2013, 9:05 AM EDT

Research is indicating that smaller-framed cows are more efficient than larger-framed cows. I would like to know whether steers and heifers from animals with larger frames have a higher dressing percentage than steers and heifers from smaller-framed animals.

Outside United States beef cattle small meat processors freezer beef

1 Response

You are correct in that smaller-framed cattle tend to be more efficient than larger-framed cattle. This is generally because they require less groceries to get to a finished weight, to maintain, and so on. The average dressing percentage for cattle—(carcass weight/live weight) × 100—can be anywhere from 59% to 68%. A lot of this variation can depend on the amount of mud or other debris on the hide or how much feed the animal consumed prior to harvest (full stomach vs empty stomach). This can also depend on how large the animal is—as a general rule of thumb, the heavier or fatter an animal is, the higher the dressing percentage. But I would say you need to find the type of cattle that will work best for you and your operation.

If you have any more questions please let me know.
Lindsay Chichester
lchichester2@unl.edu