Date: 9/17/2014 12:00:00 AM

Title: Carcass Challenge participants can sign-up through Oct. 1

For the fourth year, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is sponsoring a Carcass Challenge contest that lets cattle producers compare their genetics over a level playing field. The program provides for some good-natured head-to-head competition as cattle producers from around the state offer up steers they think will produce high quality beef.

There are two categories of awards in the contest, and all cattle are entered into each category. Retail Value per Days on Feed evaluates producing the highest quality beef at a moderate cost of production, while Carcass Merit award will rank steers on grid price per pound, with discount allowances for small ribeye areas, low average daily gain, and excessive trimming.

In addition, individual awards will be given to the steers with the highest Average Daily Gain,  largest Rib Eye Area, the top marbling score, and the chef award, which is for a 12-14” ribeye with the highest marbling score.

“Whether you are a cow-calf producer, backgrounder, or run a feed yard, the bottom line in beef cattle production is the value of the meat on the carcass. Each step in the value-chain affects the end product,” said Kellie Carolan, ICA’s seedstock manager. “Expanding the prize categories reminds us that different customers value beef in many different ways.”

Commitment forms for the contest must be received by Oct. 1. Steers must be 2014 spring-born calves that weigh between 650 and 750 pounds on delivery, which will be Nov. 3 and 4. Steers must have received all their mandatory vaccinations, and be weaned for at least 21 days.

Carolan, who oversees the ICA Carcass Challenge, encourages ICA members to actively work with the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program class. “This contest gives these young leaders the opportunity to work with area ICA members on an educational project. It will also widen their networks in the cattle community,” she said.

Steers can be donated by individuals, county cattlemen’s associations, breed associations, and any business that would like to be involved. Details and the general guidelines about the contest are on the ICA website or call the ICA office at 515-296-2266.