(1) There are five yield groups applicable to all classes of beef. The Yield
groups are denoted by the numbers 1 through 5. Yield Grade 1, representing the
highest degree of cutability (most lean) and Yield Grade 5, representing the lowest
degree (most fatty). Acceptable yield grades are 3 or better for military procurement.
(2) After a carcass has been assigned a grade, it must be evaluated for its
cutability. This is determined based on the carcass weight, the amount of external fat,
the amount of kidney, pelvic, and lumbar fat (this includes the kidney knob, kidney, and
surrounding fat), and the area of the rib eye muscle. The veterinary food inspection
specialist can use the USDA standards or other publications listed in the inspection data
packet to verify the grade of cutability.
(3) The carcass is weighed. The hindquarter accounts for about 48-50
percent of the weight of a side and contains the round, full loin, and flank. The
forequarter comprises about 50-52 percent of the weight of a side and contains the
primal rib, regular chuck, brisket, short plate, and foreshank.
(4) The legend for yield grade is placed on the forequarter and the
hindquarter on all primal cuts, the same that is done with quality grading. See
figure 2-2. A rolled grade is a USDA shield stamp that incorporates the quality grade
and/or yield grade legends may be used.
Figure 2-2. Yield grade.