Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science

First Advisor

Keith Underwood


The goal of this project was to perform a regional assessment of live cattle and carcass characteristics in the northern plains. The assessment audited three packing plants to assess fed cattle, cow, and bull production. The live animal factors evaluated were transportation, mobility of cattle, identification, brands, and mud/manure present. Data collected during the slaughter process was bruising, dentition, and offal condemnations. In fed cattle yield grade, quality grade, and hot carcass weight were assessed. In cows and bulls muscle score and fat color score were assessed. To assess differences between cattle in the Northern Plains and cattle in the whole United States the 2022 Regional Assessment (RA) was compared past National Beef Quality Audits (NBQA). When comparing the 2022 RA to the 2016 NBQA in fed cattle there was a decrease in cattle with identification (P < 0.01), no change in cattle with no brands (P = 1.00), an increase in black hided cattle (P < 0.01), and an increase in carcasses with fetuses present (P < 0.01). There was a higher percentage of carcasses that graded USDA Prime in the 2022 RA when compared to historical quality grades (P < 0.05), and an increase in cattle that graded USDA yield grade 5 when compared to historic yield grades (P < 0.05). An increased hot carcass weight when compared to national hot carcass weights from years 2019 - 2022 (P < 0.01). When comparing the 2022 RA to the 2016 NBQA in market cows and bulls there was no change in mobility score 1 (P = 1.00), an increase in cattle with multiple forms of Identification (P < 0.01), a decrease in cattle with no mud in all cattle (P < 0.01), a decrease in all cattle with a hide pattern (P < 0.01), an increase in all cattle with a solid hide color (P < 0.01), an decrease in all cattle with no bruise (P < 0.01) , no change in liver condemnations (P = 0.37), an increase in kidney condemnations (P < 0.01), a decrease in cows with fetuses present (P < 0.01), a decrease the mean fat score of beef cows (P < 0.01).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cattle -- Great Plains.
Cattle -- Carcasses -- Quality -- Great Plains.
Beef -- Quality.


South Dakota State University

Included in

Beef Science Commons



Rights Statement

In Copyright