Physical Composition

Yield is a method to measure profit for processors. Basically, yield is a percentage based on the amount of output divided by the amount of input. This percentage gives an estimate of efficiency to the processor. Processing efficiency, or ready-to-cook (RTC) yield, is the most popular method of determining profit for poultry processors and is based on carcass weight (output) and live weight (input). An average value for the RTC yield for processors is 70 75%, with some variation due to different processing standards from one company to another.[1] Of this 70 75% salable product, approximately 60% is meat and 40% is bone. Of this edible meat, approximately 60% is white meat and 40% is dark meat. Even though these numbers are just estimations, they are useful in determining salable product for processors.

In order for processors to obtain the highest price per carcass, the most valuable cuts should be a proportionally greater percentage of the whole carcass than the lower-priced cuts. In the United States, the most valuable meat on a poultry carcass is the breast meat. In order to maximize breast meat, processors use special genetic lines of broiler and turkeys. These genetic lines have been modified over the last several decades to increase profitability by improving feed-to-gain ratios and increasing breast meat yield. On average, breast meat accounts for 25% of the carcass, legs account for 33%, wings 14%, back and neck 17%, and giblets around 11% of the carcass weight.

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