Champion Carcasses Evaluated

OSU Meat Judge Jake Parkinson explains to Mckala Grauel carcass qualities of her grand champion market lamb during the carcass show held September 12 at Mt. Victory Meats.

The Hardin County Carcass Show of Champions was held Wednesday, September 12 at Mt. Victory Meats.  A group of adults and young people were on hand to hear judge and OSU Meat Judging Team member Jake Parkinson discuss the merits of the winning animal carcasses from the 2018 Hardin County Fair.  

The Grand Champion and Reserve Champion steers, barrows, gilts, lambs, and goats from the Hardin County Fair are sent to Mt. Victory Meats for holding and processing.  As in all county fairs, the winning animals are carefully tested by the Ohio Department of Agriculture for any illegal residues. These winning animals were again found to be drug free and of high quality.  

The project animals are evaluated in the show ring by experienced judges, who try to estimate which one will yield the highest quality of lean meat.  For the carcass show, actual measurements are taken of the weight, muscle, and fat to determine the quality and amount of meat that can be harvested from these market animals.  

The steers were evaluated for percent boneless trim retail cuts, as well as USDA quality grades.  The grand champion steer had a 16.5 square inch ribeye area, with 0.5 inches of back fat. The grand champion graded a choice quality grade.  This first place steer had yield grade of 2.5 (on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 has the highest cutability). The reserve champion steer had a 15.7 square inch ribeye area, 0.5 inches of back fat, and a yield grade of 2.4.  This second place steer graded a low choice quality grade. Overall on the rail, the grand champion steer’s carcass ranked higher than the reserve champion steer’s carcass.

The hog carcasses are evaluated based on the amount of lean muscle they will yield in combination with the amount of back fat.  Comparing the four hog carcasses in the show, the loin muscle areas ranged from 7.75 to 9.5 square inches, with the reserve champion gilt having the largest loin muscle area.  The grand champion gilt scored the highest percent boneless trimmed retail cuts (saleable product) with 7.84 percentage points higher than the grand champion barrow. The grand champion gilt had the lowest amount of back fat of any of the other hogs.  Overall, the grand champion gilt’s carcass ranked higher than the reserve champion gilt. The reserve champion barrow’s carcass ranked higher than the grand champion barrow’s carcass.

The grand champion lamb carcass had 47.2% boneless trim retail cuts while the reserve champion lamb carcass had 46.74% boneless trim retail cuts.  The grand champion lamb had 0.1 inches of back fat, while the reserve champion had 0.2 inches of back fat. Overall, the grand champion lamb was ranked above the reserve champion lamb when evaluated by the carcass show judge.

When comparing the goat carcasses, the grand champion goat’s carcass was 4 pounds heavier with 46.48% boneless trim retail cuts and had a ribeye area of 1.75 square inches.  The reserve champion goat’s carcass dressed out with 47.70% boneless retail cuts with a ribeye area of 2.25 square inches. Back fat was 0.1 inches on both the grand champion and the reserve champion goats.  In the end, the reserve champion goat’s carcass ranked higher than the grand champion goat’s carcass when all factors were considered.

The carcass show animals illustrate the high quality of meat animals being produced by Hardin County 4-H and FFA members.  These young people and their parents need to be commended on the outstanding job they are doing with the feeding and care of their project animals.  The complete carcass show data is available at the OSU Extension office and on Hardin County Extension’s website at

The Hardin County Carcass Show of Champions is organized by OSU Extension, and is sponsored by the Hardin County Sheep Improvement Association, the Hardin County Pork Producers, the Hardin County Cattle Producers, the Hardin County Fairboard, and Craig and Ed Powell at Mt. Victory Meats.

This story is thanks to Mark Badertscher, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator with Ohio State University Extension.