Key Points for Judging Market Steers

  • Evaluate market steers first fromt the ground up and then from the rump (rear) forward
  • Rank the traits for their importance.
  • Evaluate the most important traits first.
  • Eliminate any easy placings in the class.
  • Place the class based on the volume of the important traits

Ranking of Traits for Judging Market Steers

  1. Degree of muscling
  2. Degree of finish (amount of fat cover)
  3. Growth capacity
  4. Soundness and structural correctness
  5. Balance
  6. Frame size

Growth Curves for Market Steers

Evaluating Muscling

Evaluating Degree of Muscling

Degree of muscling is best determined by evaluating:

  • Thickness through the center of the quarter.
  • Width between the rear feet when the steer stands and walks.
  • Shape over the top (or loin).

Evaluating Degree of Muscling - Narrow, Average, Good, Very Good

Evaluating Muscling Great Top Shape

Evaluating Finish

Evaluating Degree of Finish

Fat is first deposited from front to rear, and then from top to bottom.  The order of areas to consider when evaluating degree of finish are:

  1. Shoulders
  2. Over the ribs
  3. Top line
  4. Around the tail head
  5. Flanks and underline
  6. Brisket and cod (udder)

Evaluating Degree of Finish Shoulders - Raw, Ideal, Fat

Evaluating Degree of Finish Over Ribs - Too Raw, About Right, Too Fat

Evaluating Degree of Finish Top Line Too Trim, Smooth with Fat

Evaluating Degree of Finish Tail Head - Too Trim, Near Ideal, Fat

Evaluating Degree of Finish Flanks and Underline

Evaluating Degree of Finish Brisket - Trim, Nice, Fat

Evaluating Degree of Finish Cod or Udder - Trim, Ideal, Fat

Evaluating Degree of Finish

Evaluating Degree of Finish - Mr Muscle

Evaluating Growth Capacity

Evaluating Growth Capacity

Market steers with a high capacity for growth will be:

  • Wide through the chest.
  • Wide between their feet when walking or standing.
  • Uniform in body depth.
  • Open through their rib.
  • Long bodied.

Evaluating Growth Capacity Shallow Bodied Flat Ribbed

Evaluating Growth Capacity Good Growth Capacity

Evaluating Soundness

Evaluating Soundness and Structural Correctness

Sound and structurally correct market steers will have:

  • Flexible, clean, flat joints
  • Long powerful strides.
  • Strong pasterns
  • Good set to hocks and knees
  • Big feet that set flat on the ground.
  • Long, straight top-line
  • Long level rumps.

Evaluating Structure - Pasterns

Evaluating Structure Pasterns - Excellent Pasterns

Evaluating Structure Hocks Correct, Sickle, Post Legged

Evaluating Structure Hocks- Sickle Hocked, Post Legged

Evaluating Structure Hocks - Excellent Hocks

Evaluating Structure Knees Correct, Splay Footed, Pigeon Toed

Evaluating Structure Knees - Correct, Buck, Calf

Evaluating Structure Feet Excellent Foot

Evaluating Structure Top Line Poor vs good

Evaluating Structure Ski Slope vs Excellent Rump

Evaluating Balance

Evaluating Balance

Balance in market steers refers to:

  • Having the correct proportions of body width, body depth, and body length.
  • Having good blending of body width, body depth, and body length

Evaluating Balance - Unbalanced Alert

Evaluating Balance - Well Balanced Steer

Evaluating Frame Size

Evaluating Frame Size

The optimum steer for today's market should be medium framed and finish at about 1,200 pounds.

  • Large framed market steers will get to big before developing adequate finish.
  • Small framed market steers will be early maturing and get too fat before they reach optimum market weight.

Evaluating Frame Size

Evaluating Frame Size - too small

Evaluating Frame Size - just right

Final Tips for Judging Market Steers

  • Remember what the most important traits are
    (don't sweat the small stuff)
  • Know what "correct" looks like.
  • Practice your judging skills
    (look at lots of market steers).

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