Have you ever wondered where your beef cuts come from? Here is a great graphic that shows the primal cuts of beef. Here at V8, we have a very strong focus on producing high quality beef. Now obviously, when you say high quality, that can mean different things to different people. And it does to us. As seedstock breeders, we tend to think that high quality means good conformation. Heavy muscled, good structure, eye appeal, etc. High in VISUAL quality. But as consumers, there is another kind of quality that are concerned about and that is BEEF quality. What’s UNDER the hide. But visual quality and beef quality work hand in hand. As this visual outlines, the areas that we look at for visual appraisal are just as important for beef.
To start off, the animal is broken into two parts – the forequarter and the hindquarter. The forequarter is his shoulders-forward (red). The hindquarter is his shoulders-back (blue). The forequarter are less expensive cuts of meat…like your brisket, chuck roast, etc. The hindquarter is where the beef is…which means where the money is… which means where you want the muscle to be!
So let’s start at the back of the animal – the round. This is where you can find a lot of low fat cuts: round steak, round roast, etc. Beef producers want an animal that has good muscling in the round because more muscle means more beef. Cattle from V8 Ranch excel in natural muscling. Moving to the middle, here is where you will find the more expensive cuts of beef, like the tenderloin for example. Cuts from the loin and flank are also low fat cuts. Then comes the rib, where you’ll find the ribeye and the prime rib. Here, we are looking for both muscle and quality.
One of the ways we measure our cattle for muscle and quality is by using carcass ultrasound on our live cattle. We take carcass ultrasound measurements on all of our sale bulls and all of our keeping heifers. This is a good indicator to tell us how much muscling and how much marbling they have. We take measurements of the ribeye area, we calculate a ratio of how much muscling they have based on their body weight, and we also measure the amount of intramuscular fat (marbling) they have in their ribeye. All of these tools are predictors of the carcass quality of the animal and their offspring.
Any true seedstock producer realizes that ultimately it is the commercial man who buys our product. And the commercial cattleman’s ultimate customer is the consumer. Raising better beef isn’t just a buzzword, it is something we put into practice every day of the year here at V8. We know there are people out there who say “Brahman cattle can’t grade” or other stereotypes like that. We know that to be false…and we know it because we have the actual data to prove it. As one of the largest suppliers of Brahman cattle to the commercial cattleman, we have made it our mission to share the results of our quest for carcass improvement. When you buy a bull from us, you’ll get his carcass ultrasound data. We also have actual harvest data from the largest number of purebred Brahman steers to go through the ABBA carcass evaluation program. We’re working hard to show the facts about the Brahman breed and we would love to share our findings with you.