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There is an increasing emphasis in Australian beef industry R&D on finding ways to improve retail beef yield. Currently, there is no way to commercially measure retail yield but there is evidence of a strong link between muscle score of the live animal and subsequent meat yield measurements. A relevant question is whether there is a credible value for muscle score in live cattle and carcase markets, and does it reflect the implied value of increased retail yield? In this paper, estimates are made of the premiums and discounts for muscle score class at the Sydney wholesale market level. The results suggest premiums of 21 to 80c/kg for improvements from muscle score C/D to B. This can be compared with premiums of 18 to 45c/kg for improvements in one muscle score available in the Wagga Wagga saleyard market, and a premium of 16c/kg for improvement in the assumed equivalent of one muscle score at the retail level. While there may be some debate about which is the "best" estimate, and the fact that the wholesale data ranges over more than one muscle score, it seems evident that premiums and discounts for muscle score evident in cattle saleyard prices and wholesale carcase prices appear to be over-estimates of the eventual increase in retail value.


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