- Research Hub
The Product Quality Research program includes the study of beef quality, muscle traits and characterization, carcass traits, muscle tenderness and yield, flavor and palatability, and new technologies. This has been achieved through evaluation of the impact of pre- and post-harvest factors on beef product quality. The overall goal of this Checkoff-funded research is to improve beef quality, consistency, value and demand.
The Beef Cutout Calculator was developed to assist cattlemen in predicting approximate sub-primal yields and cutout values of beef cattle. The calculator's interactive format allows producers and the meat trade to rapidly vary carcass/live weights, Yield Grades, and/or yield grade factors to ascertain expected cut-out weights and USDA Choice and USDA Select dollar values for all carcass cuts generated.
Why does a carcass from a 1,300-pound steer only yield about 639 pounds of edible beef? This two-page handout explains the process of fabrication and lists the average volume of the various cuts available from each of the primals.
Flavor, an important component of beef palatability, can be defined as the combination of taste and aroma. The development of favorable beef flavor is a result of cooking. This white paper examines the role of the precursor compounds of beef flavor (fatty acids, amino acids, reducing sugars, nucleotides, etc.) in determining the character of beef flavor and how the composition of flavor precursor compounds is affected by quality grade and beef cattle production system.
For more than 140 years, Americans have sought to document and improve the flavor of beef through discoveries and research. This white paper provides a review of the literature describing the more recent efforts
Learn about the procedures and technologies involved in USDA's quality and yield grading, including the program's history and specific processes and calculations involved to determine final quality and yield grades.
This updated Checkoff-funded website provides a user-friendly way to access the science describing the physical and chemical characteristics of beef muscles. Information on the site can aid the processor in the development and preparation of new products based on the inherent properties of each muscle. The name, origin, insertion, action, innervation, and blood supply of each muscle is also available to assist in understanding muscular and skeletal anatomy, making the website a helpful educational tool.
View animations of the processes of muscle contraction and relaxation, rigor mortis, proteolysis, and myoglobin oxidation. These natural processes are essential in the development of beef quality, tenderness, color and shelf-life. A fifth video describes beef storage life.