High quality at a moderate cost of production. That was the general measure used by the Iowa Cattlemen's Association in its Carcass Challenge that wrapped up with awards on July 2.

In its inaugural year, the top Carcass Challenge award with its $2,000 cash prize was earned by a Cass County cattleman. Doug Steele of Steele Land & Livestock in Anita entered a steer in the contest that graded high select and had a ribeye area of more than 18 sqare inches. The calculated value for determining the placements is called Retail Value per Days on Feed or RVDoF.

Other cash prize winners were Kenneth Blomme, Ladora, who won second place and $1,500; and Dianne Witt of Witt Cattle Co. in Arcadia, who placed third and received $1,000.

Those placing in the top 10 were: fourth, Mosher Angus-Hibbs Farms, Conrad; fifth, Triple U Ranch, Correctionville; sixth, Holz Brothers, Grand Junction and Greene County Cattlemen; seventh, Dunlap Livestock Auction, Dunlap; eighth, Nichols Farms, Bridgewater; ninth, Nodaway Valley Feeders, Nodaway, and 10th, Sterling Cattle Partners, Northwood. All top 10 finishers received a Carcass Challenge Top Ten jacket.

The ICA Carcass Challenge was the first time in 25 years that any statewide carcass contest for cattle producers has been held in Iowa. It was organized by ICA's Young Cattlemen's Leadership Program as "an educational effort to stress that each step in the value-chain affects the end product," said Kellie Carolan, ICA's seedstock manager.

The RVDoF formula that determined the final ranking of the steers entered in the contest by selecting the cattle with the highest quality meat which produced the most pounds of beef in the days allowed. The value for the group averaged $5.44, with the top three entries producing values of $6.82, $6.79 and $6.71.

Carolan, who oversaw the contest, noted that "Genetics, feed regimen and technology all played a part in taking this set of 49 steers from an average delivery weight of 642 pounds to 1,390 pounds over a 6-month feeding period."

Plans are underway for ICA's next Carcass Challenge contest. The deadline for registering a spring 2012 steer for the contest is Oct. 1. Details and entry requirements can be found on the ICA website under the ICA Programs tab. The 2012 YCLP class has reviewed the rules and is also seeking participants for the contest.

"Those who donate steers will experience a fun and educational event," said Carolan.

Date: 7/23/2012

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