Shorthorn make the grade — and yield — in recent on-farm trial


OMAHA, Neb. — Shorthorn genetics defied the odds on the grid recently; two purebred heifers graded USDA Prime, Yield Grade 1. Two others on the same load stamped Prime Yield Grade 2.

This combination of marbling and cutability is extremely rare; only 0.032 percent of all cattle quality and yield graded in 2011 achieved this feat, just 0.638 percent graded Prime Y2.

The Smithers family loaded 32 head of purebred Shorthorns from their on-farm feedlot in west-central IL. The load did 91 percent Choice or better (16 percent Prime), and no Yield Grade 4s or 5s.

“The top end of these cattle were actually pulled off earlier for our local freezer beef business … obviously, our customers have been pretty happy with the beef,” said Jess Smithers. “This group was all quarter and half-siblings from our walking herd sires,” he added.

Bert Moore, executive secretary of the American Shorthorn Association says the breed is working hard to expand its role within the beef cattle industry.

He explained, “while news like this is exciting, we hope it translates into demand for Shorthorn bulls and females in volume.”

According to the USDA Meat Animal Research Center across-breed EPD adjustments, Shorthorns rank among the top breeds for marbling EPD, yet they also maintain a significant advantage in fat EPD, the driver of USDA Yield Grade.

For more information about Shorthorn genetics, visit the ASA website at

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