Body Condition Scoring Your Beef Cow Herd
Resource: Dr. Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Nine Point Body Condition Scoring
1 Bone structure of shoulder, ribs, back, hooks and pins are sharp to the touch and easily visible. No evidence of fat deposits or muscling. Cattle in this condition are weak, near death and have trouble standing or walking.
2 No evidence of fat deposition and muscle loss in the hindquarters. The spinous processes feel sharp to the touch. The spinous processes and the spaces between them are easily seen.
3 Very little fat cover over the loin, back and fore-ribs. The backbone is still highly visible. Processes of the spine can be identified individually by touch and ma still be visible. Spaces between the processes are less pronounced.
4 Fore-ribs and 12th and 13th ribs are still noticeable to the eye. The transverse spinous processes can be identified only by palpation (with slight pressure) and feel rounded rather than sharp.
5 The 12th and 13th ribs are slightly visible to the eye. The transverse spinous processes can only be felt with firm pressure and feel rounded but are not noticeable to the eye. Spaces between the processes are not visible and are only distinguishable with firm pressure. Areas on each side of the tailhead and the fore-rib, behind the shoulder are starting to fill.
6 Ribs are fully covered and are not noticeable to the eye. Hindquarters are plump and full. Noticeable springiness over the fore-ribs and on each side of the tailhead. Firm pressure is now required to feel the transverse processes. Brisket has some fat.
7 Ends of the spinous processes can only be felt with very firm pressure. Spaces between processes can barely be distinguished. Abundant fat cover on either side of the tailhead with evident patchiness. Fat in the brisket.
8 Animal takes on a smooth, blocky appearance. Bone structure disappears from sight. Fat cover is thick and spongy and patchiness is likely. Brisket is full.
9 Bone structure is not seen or easily felt. The tailhead is buried in fat. The animal's mobility may actually be impaired by excessive fat.