MSU Extension & Montana Stockgrowers Association Announce 2023 Steer Of Merit Certifications

Bozeman — Montana State University Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association awarded 2023 Steer of Merit certifications at the association’s Dec. 7 convention in Billings. MSU Extension beef cattle specialist Megan Van Emon presented the top five winners of the carcass and ultrasound Steer of Merit contests at a Best of Beef Luncheon.

MSU Extension and Montana Stockgrowers Association distinguished 136 “Steers of Merit” out of 1,290 entries in 2023. Out of 555 steers entered in the carcass division, 83 were deemed Steers of Merit. In the ultrasound division, 53 out of 735 entries received the distinction. The number of certifications was similar to the prior year, noted Van Emon.

“More counties participated in the ultrasound contest this year due to a lack of packing plant facilities and space,” she said.

The winning steer entries are listed below. Breeders are included in parentheses.

Carcass division:

Alyssa Hendrick Lanser – Missoula County (Jon Bouma)

Kally Konesky – Cascade County (Rich Love)

Cy Eaton – Prairie County (Frank Eaton and Sons)

Kyona Yeager – Cascade County (Kyona Yeager)

Shaun Billingsley – Missoula County (Kyona Yeager)

Ultrasound division:

Liam Steinbeisser – Richland County (Steinbeisser and Sons)

Alex Wahl – Marias Fair, Glacier County (Diamond Box Livestock)

Charli Dale – Wibaux County (Kahl Ranch)

Sam Duey – Yellowstone County (SidBar Cattle)

Ridge Stonehocker – Fergus County (B & K Livestock)

The Steer of Merit program began in 1967 as a joint effort between the Montana Stockgrowers Association and MSU Extension to measure, record and improve carcass characteristics in beef cattle.

“Over time, significant increases have been made in quality grade and in yield grade, or cutability, indicating that cattle can be selected for leaner carcasses with higher cutability and still maintain high quality grade as reflected by marbling, which is the fat in the final product,” said Van Emon.

To be designated a Steer of Merit, carcasses are evaluated by a qualified individual using information that relates to yield of lean meat and eating quality. Beef carcasses must meet criteria set by the Steer of Merit Committee in the areas of hot carcass weight, dressing percent, fat thickness over 12th rib (back fat), rib eye area, yield grade, percent cutability, and quality grade. Software helps compile data and rank carcasses for state and county awards. Data is also analyzed periodically to track genetic and feed management progress. The minimum standards for Steer of Merit are reviewed each year, and the program is updated to meet changing industry standards.

Those interested in more information about the Steer of Merit program may contact Megan Van Emon, MSU Extension beef cattle specialist, at 406-874-8286.


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