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Abstract

This research examines returns to cattle feeding operations that sort animals prior to marketing using ultrasound technology. The returns to sorting are between $11 and $25 per head depending on the number of groups the pens into which cattle can be sorted. Sorting faces declining returns. These returns can also be viewed as the costs imposed by institutional constraints that limit co-mingling of cattle. Through sorting, cattle feeding operations are able to reduce meat quality discounts, increase meat quality premiums, increase beef carcass quality characteristics, more efficiently use feed resources, and increase profits.

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