Improvements in productivity on cattle farms and ranches and in feedlots have increased beef output from 485 lbs. per cow in 1985 to 522 lbs. per cow in 1990, according to the National Cattleman's Association.
The improvements are attributed to increases in the average animal size, increases in the proportions of lean meat to fat in beef carcasses, and faster animal growth and turnover in feedlots. Many cattle now go to market at 14 to 16 months of age, rather than 22 to 24 months.