Feeder Cattle Terminology

Understanding Feeder Cattle Terminology as it applies to Frame and Thickness when described as Large Frame Number Ones.

     Judging and understanding feeder cattle so that you can better recognize or picture in your mind what to expect by the descriptions you hear as; Large Frame number 1, Medium Frame number 1, Small Frame number 1, Large Frame number 2, Medium Frame number 2, Small Frame number 2, Large Frame number 3, medium Frame number 3 and Small Frame number 3 cattle.

     The frame description as you would expect has to do with the size of the animal and the number description has to do with the thickness of the animal.

     Each of these descriptions are defined in words and shown in a picture or illustration for easy understanding. Study these and the next time you read a market report it will make a little more sense when you see something about 500 pound medium number ones.

Large Frame

Large Frame Feeder Cattle 

Large Frame (L) – Feeder cattle in this grade are thrifty, have large frames and are tall and long-bodied for their age. Steers would not be expected to produce the amount of external fat opposite the twelfth rib – usually about .5 inch – normally associated with the U.S. Choice grade until their live weight exceeds 1,200 pounds. Heifers would not be expected to produce choice carcasses until their live weight exceeds 1,000 pounds.

Medium Frame

Medium Frame Feeder Cattle

Medium Frame (M) – Feeder cattle in this grade are thrifty, have slightly large frames, and are slightly tall and long-bodied for their age. Steers would be expected to produce U.S. Choice carcasses (about .5 inch fat at twelfth rib) at live weights of 1,000 to 1,200 pounds. Heifers would be expected to produce choice carcasses at 850 to 1,000 pounds.

Small Frame

Small Frame Feeder Cattle

Small Frame (S) – Feeder cattle included in this grade are thrifty, have small frames and are shorter bodied and not as tall as specified as the minimum for the medium frame grade. Steers would be expected to produce U.S. Choice carcasses (about .5 inch fat) at live weights of less than 1,000 pounds. Heifers would be expected to produce Choice carcasses at live weights of less than 850 pounds.

Number 1 Thickness

Feeder Cattle Number 1 Thickness

Number 1 – Feeder cattle included in this grade usually show a high proportion of beef breeding. They must be thrifty and slightly thick throughout. They are slightly thick and full in the forearm and gaskin, showing a rounded appearance through the back and loin with moderate width between the legs, both front and rear. Cattle show this thickness with a slightly thin covering of fat; however, cattle eligible for this grade may carry varying degrees of fat.

Number 2 Thickness

 

 

Feeder Cattle Number 2 Thickness

Number 2 – Feeder cattle that possess minimum qualifications for this grade are thrifty and narrow through the forequarter and the middle part of the rounds. The forearm and gaskin are thin and the back and loin have a sunken appearance. The legs are set close together, both front and rear. Cattle show this narrowness with a slightly thin covering of fat; however, cattle eligible for this grade may carry varying degrees of fat.

 Number 3 Thickness

Feeder Cattle Number 3 Thickness

Number 3 – Feeder cattle included in this grade are thrifty animals that have less thickness than the minimum requirements specified for the No. 2 grade.

      In addition to the above possible combinations (3 frame size, 3 muscle thicknesses) of feeder grades for thrifty animals, there is also an inferior grade for unthrifty animals. 

      The inferior grade includes feeder cattle that are unthrifty because of mismanagement, disease, parasites or lack of feed. 

      An animal grading inferior could qualify for a thickness and frame size grade at a later date provided the unthrifty condition is corrected.

 

 

 

 

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