February 29, 2008
February 29, 2007 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for the first time began officially grading beef carcasses with the assistance of specially designed electronic instruments that predict quality and yield grade attributes. This instrumentation could enhance the accuracy and consistency of USDA beef grade assignments and provide more objective and reliable information on quality and yield attributes to all segments of the marketing chain.
Use of the instrument technology for grading beef will be voluntary. The start-up of instrument grading technology in an actual production situation began on Feb. 18 at four large beef harvest facilities in Nebraska and Kansas. It is anticipated that other facilities will begin using instrument grading technology in the near future.
This technology is also being researched for use in the lamb carcass grading arena and has the potential to provide accurate information on yield prediction, objective confirmation data, etc.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has been working with AMS and Colorado State University, through a research agreement, to establish standards for lamb instrument grading and refine the instrument grading technology to ensure its accuracy, repeatability, system integrity and capability of operating under plant conditions.
"This system should result in the potential for more accurate value-based marketing and provide the processing channels with better information, which should result in less overall cost," said Paul Rodgers, ASI's deputy director of policy. Staff Contact: Paul Rodgers, 303-771-3500