Past Projects

Economic Research

Demonstration of how management factors and DNA prediction tools can contribute to meat quality

Research Lead: VG Meats

Executive Summary


  • To demonstrate the importance of genetics in determining consumer enjoyment of beef and whether the tools that are commercially available today, can help us select animals with the highest degree of tenderness.



  • Most consumers, when referring to beef quality, are speaking of tenderness. Consumers and taste panels were able to differentiate between tough and tender steaks and when asked to rank the steaks, the tender steaks on average ranked higher.
  • Post mortem treatments on the cattle can generally affect the tenderness. Generally, aging in the first 14 day results in a 15% to 20% improvement in shear force and the next 7 days improves shear force by an additional 1% to 15%, depending on the cut and carcass.
  • The treatment of the carcass with electrical stimulation and altered suspension had an effect over no treatment.
  • Carcass dissections show the importance of properly selecting harvest times for cattle.


  • VG Meats is working on research to determine which genetics determine better quality (tender) beef.
  • In conjunction with a local retailer, VG Meats is supplying Angus beef that has been tested for tenderness by way of shear force testing. Products being sent to this retailer must meet a minimum tenderness score. Customers can use a code provided on the package to check the tenderness score of each steak they purchase.
  • Work is ongoing.

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