Cattle feeding conditions vary by location. One yard might be knee-deep in snow, while the other is dealing with piles of mud. Record high temperatures might cause heat stress in one area while cattle in another region are enduring torrential rainfall.

Even with all that variability, one fact rings true: Better conditions mean better beef quality.

“Animals that are able to devote more of their dietary intake to gain will have better carcass quality,” says Joe Young, vice president of AgSpan.

In a research review, Larry Corah and Mark McCully of Certified Angus Beef LCC (CAB) point to several factors that have caused quality grade to rebound 7.5 percentage points in just two years, following a 30-year decline.

“In general, feeding conditions for cattle the past two years have been very good,” the authors say, noting data from Elanco's Benchmark Performance Program, managed by Agspan. Hundreds of feedlots report performance, carcass and health information to the database, which now numbers more than 100 million points of data.

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