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Everyone a Winner at Youth Steer Project Event
Missouri Ag Connection - 07/11/2018

Did you ever attend a cattle show where no ribbons, banners or plaques were awarded? The University of Missouri Extension held its Seventh Annual Lawrence County Youth Steer Project at Cloud's Meats in Carthage.

"No awards were passed out to any of the five steers or their owners, yet they all felt they were winners based on the carcass information they gained," said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

All of the steers were born on their owner's farm.

The first part of the evening involved the five youth picking out their steer from among the five carcasses on the rail. It took some cooperation among the youth to match their on-foot memories of their steers, but the uniqueness of the steers helped them bat 1000.

Some of the differences were the frame size of one steer that required his carcass to be split at the last rib, so he fit on the rail. The same steer had been running on a small pasture and had slightly yellow fat compared to those finished in dry lot.

"Yellow fat does not affect taste or nutrient value of the beef. It's not as desirable as the white fat to many consumers," said Cole.

During the live evaluation by the members and leaders, it was noted one steer had less fat cover over the ribs.

"It's owner then looked for the carcass with the least fat cover over the exposed ribeye, and he correctly claimed that carcass," said Cole.

In contrast to the least amount of fat cover, one member felt his steer had the largest amount of fat cover. Once again, the member was correct.

The next selection involved a portion of the carcass as a tip. Attached to each carcass was the steers' tongue.

"One steer had a black and white tongue and the member at some time had seen the tongue and used that fact to claim his steer. He was right," said Cole.

That left only one carcass that had a large amount of intramuscular (marbling) fat in the ribeye.

"At the live evaluation four days earlier, it was mentioned that one steer had high marbling tendencies in his genetics. That proved to be accurate as the carcass graded Prime minus," said Cole. "Another unusual feature for this steer was he was not castrated until he was eleven months old. Late castrates usually do not marble that abundantly but he defied the odds."

Katelyn Burdick, University of Missouri meats graduate student and meats judging team coach was the carcass evaluator. Andy Cloud of Cloud's Meats also helped critique the strengths and weaknesses of the carcasses from the retailer's viewpoint.

They both agreed on the high-value carcass, and the target of many cow-calf producers and cattle feeders was the Prime minus steer that had a 2 Yield Grade. He was 7/8 Red Angus and 1/8 Simmental. His owner was Dallas Kleiboeker, Stotts City.

Andy Cloud said the carcass he liked was Seth Callison's, Verona. He praised the utility for his customers. It was low Choice, Yield Grade 1.6 with only 0.2 inch of fat and was not too large at 686-pound carcass weight.

Jordan Kleiboeker, Stotts City, raised the blue roan that was an Angus, Simmental and Shorthorn. He had the largest ribeye at 15.1 square inches, low graded Choice with a 2.5 Yield Grade.

Paige Bauer, Verona and Donell Kleiboeker, Stotts City each had steers that graded Select plus. Their Yield Grades were 2.7 and 3.7 respectively. Two other participants weighed steers back in February but did not finish the project.

The project is patterned after the Missouri Steer Feedout which also does not award ribbons to winners. Education is the primary objective of the program.

"Whether they're established seedstock or feeder calf producers or a young person with aspirations to learn about cattle breeding, feeding, and management, these two programs should have appeal as they strive to produce the kind of steer the marketplace demands," said Cole.

More details on each program may be obtained from University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, Eldon Cole at the Lawrence County MU Extension Center in Mt. Vernon or by telephone at 417-466-3102.

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