Lean Meat Yield

The amount of meat recovered from a carcase is a key driver of profitability for beef producers, processors and retailers. A measure of this is Lean Meat Yield (LMY). LMY is the weight of lean meat tissue (excluding bone and fat) in a carcase, divided by the total weight of the carcase. It is generally expressed as a percentage (LMY%) so that it is independent of variation in carcase weight. 

LMY% allows for standardised comparisons to be made and does not vary with cutting specifications like saleable meat yield (SMY%). However, increasing the proportion of lean muscle in a carcase (LMY%) will also increase the saleable meat in a carcase (SMY%).

Where LMY% is provided in carcase feedback, it has been calculated using a prediction equation developed through the ALMTech program (Advanced Livestock Measurement Technologies) from the inputs of hot standard carcase weight (HSCW) and MSA graded rib fat depth, and can include eye muscle area (EMA). As the red meat industry continues to develop technologies that measure lean meat yield with greater precision and accuracy, such as the dual energy x-ray (DEXA) system, carcase feedback will also continue to evolve. 

Eating quality and lean meat yield are linked biologically as well as in a value sense. Attributes such as pH, MSA marbling and ossification that are measured on MSA graded carcases are important indicators of eating quality that should be considered with LMY%.  LMY% and eating quality are affected by both nutrition and genetics so producers can make informed management decisions to maximise carcase value. Without a balanced approach, LMY% and eating quality can work against each other. This is because a number of the eating quality attributes are negatively correlated with LMY% in a genetic sense.