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Adding Value to the Beef Carcass
South Dakota Ag Connection - 02/16/2017

Approximately 50 percent of the meat from a beef carcass comes from the chuck and the round and is traditionally sold at the meat counter at a lower price compared to cuts from the rib or loin.

Thanks to research efforts, a percentage of the chuck (or shoulder portion) of a beef animal is now being sold for nearly double the price per pound.

"One reason the chuck traditionally sells for less is related to challenges with palatability and convenience of large roasts. Researchers set out to profile once overlooked muscles, and discovered tender cuts within the chuck, like the flat-iron steak, which consumers embraced," said Amanda Blair, Associate Professor & SDSU Extension Meat Science Specialist.

The result?

According to CattleFax, an ag industry information and analysis service, within four years of its debut in 1999, the flat iron steak increased the value of the chuck by 60 percent. In 2009, CattleFax, estimated a $50-70 per head increase in beef carcass value due to alternative fabrication of the chuck. CattleFax also predicts new cuts from the chuck, such as the Denver Cut and Delmonico Steak will add an additional $40 to $50 per head.

"Providing consumers with more beef options that fill the price void between premium steaks and ground beef helps improve carcass utilization and increase demand. The long-term goal of these efforts is to help all segments of the beef supply chain improve profitability." Blair said.

Much of this muscle profiling research has been supported by Beef Checkoff dollars, which is funded by cattle producers across South Dakota and the nation.

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