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Animal Evaluation

Live animal evaluation is an important tool with which all students in animal agriculture should be familiar. Livestock procedures and breeders evaluate livestock for the correct time to market their animals, and order buyers and packers evaluate livestock for correctness of condition and red meat yield. The ability to effectively identify animals that meet the needs of the marketplace is an everyday occurrence for many people in animal agriculture.

A livestock producer must possess the proper understanding of live animal and carcass evaluation in order to remain competitive in today's changing marketplace. Furthermore, the producer should develop an ability to correlate these factors with the conformation or shape of the live animal. Ultrasound has proven to be an important tool to aid in selection; however, visual appraisal has the advantage of being faster and less expensive. Most market animals are bought and sold on the basis of visual estimation.

This website is designed to inform you about animal evaluation. The site is also a place to not only learn how to effectively identify differences in composition but also to practice your skills on animals and check actual carcass data.

Explanation of animal evaluation

Practice site of live animals and their carcass data



Last updated 6/3/17

Beef Grading

Economically important traits for beef cattle evaluation discussed below are live weight, dressing percent, muscling, fat thickness, yield grade and quality grade.

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Beef Practice

10 beef practice evaluations

found here

Sheep grading

Economically important traits for sheep evaluation that will be discussed are live weight, dressing percent, fatness, muscling, yield grade and quality grade. 

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Sheep Practice

6 sheep practice evaluations.

Swine Grading

The economically important carcass and live traits in swine are live weight, dressing percent, fatness, carcass length, muscling, USDA grade and percent muscle. 

For more information

Swine Practice

10 swine evaluation practices

found here

SDSU Youth Livestock Judging Camp

The SDSU Youth Livestock Judging Camp instruction will cover live evaluation of the primary livestock species (cattle, sheep/goats and swine), as well as preparation and critique of oral reasons. Additionally, guest speakers on livestock nutrition and production will be available to all campers. Many teaching methods apply to this experience including lecture, demonstration, hands-­on experience, one-­on-one coaching and critiquing, along with question and answer sessions.

Registration packet available here: 2017 registration packet