Prediction equations have been widely utilized for carcass classification and grading systems in older beef cattle. However, the equations are mostly relevant for common beef breeds and 18 to 24 month old animals; there are no equations suitable for yearling, dairy-origin cattle. Therefore, this study developed prediction models using 60 dairy-origin, 8 to 12 month old steers to indicate saleable meat yield from hind-legs, which would assist with carcass classification and grading. Fat depth over the rump, rib fat depth, and eye muscle area between the 12th and 13th ribs were measured using ultrasound, and wither height was recorded one week prior to slaughter. The muscles from the hind-leg were retrieved 24 h after slaughter. Prediction equations were modeled for the hind-leg muscles weight using carcass weight, wither height, eye muscle area, rump, and rib fat depths as predictors. Carcass weight explained 61.5% of the variation in hind-leg muscles weight, and eye muscle area explained 39.9% (p < 0.05). Their combination in multivariate analysis explained 63.5% of the variation in hind-leg muscles weight. The R2 of the prediction in univariate and multivariate analyses was improved when data were analyzed per age group. Additional explanatory traits for yearling steers, including body length, hearth girth, and muscle depth and dimensions measured using video image analysis scanning (VIAscan), could improve the prediction ability of saleable meat yield from yearling dairy beef steers across the slaughter age groups.
Keywords: beef; meat yield; model; yearling; young.