Finding Choice, Prime cattle gets more difficult

US - Finding cattle that grade Choice and Prime is becoming more difficult, according to an executive with Certified Angus Beef (CAB).
calendar icon 17 January 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
Larry Corah, CAB vice president, told producers at the recent 4-State Beef Conference demand for premium beef is highand supply continues to drop.

“There is a tremendous demand for quality beef. We could sell more, but we can’t find the product,” he said. “Last year we sold a half-billion pounds of Certified Angus Beef, and if we could find the cattle, we could double that within 12 to 18 months.”

According to USDA figures, just more than 60 percent of cattle graded Choice in 1996. That figure dropped to about 57 percent in 2005.

CAB requires all beef to be at least Choice and from black-hided cattle. He said consumers prefer beef that is tender, has good flavor and is juicy. That requires certain marbling specifications, Corah noted.

He said industry concerns include inadequate marbling, and excess fat and variable cut weights.

“A box may say the cuts average 12.5 pounds, but you could have strips in there weighing anywhere from 8 to 14 lbs. If you are going to cut those into strip steaks, you are going to have some variability.”

Source: Iowa Farmer Today
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