CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The 2004-2005 Ranch to Rail South Field Day is set for April 28 at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center here.

The center is located on state highway 44 between Corpus Christi and Robstown.

Presentations will begin at 8 a.m. with a welcome and introduction by Joe Paschal, Texas Cooperative Extension livestock specialist and Ranch to Rail South coordinator. He will give the results from a program under way at Hondo Creek Feedyard in Edroy. Twenty-eight steers from 25 ranches are participating in the program.

Dan Hale, Extension meats specialist, will talk about the factors affecting beef quality and marketing cattle on a grid. All of the Ranch to Rail steers are marketed using a quality- and yield-grade-based grid at Sam Kane Beef Processors Inc. Hale will be talking about why this type of grid is used instead of either live or "in the beef" pricing methods.

Also, Hale and Paschal will serve as tour guides on a "Virtual Tour of a Beef Processing Plant." The tour will show the audience the inside of Sam Kane, the fifth largest independent beef processing plant in the United States. During the tour, the audience will learn:

* How cattle age is determined.

* About the only patented process to tenderize beef.

(Electro-Tenderized) with electrical stimulation.

* Where and why food safety inspections occur.

* How cattle are graded.

"Ranchers should have some idea of what's ahead of them in terms of what the industry expects as well as what the consumer wants," Paschal said. "Sometimes the two sides don't meet. We hope to address some of these issues."

At noon, a barbecue lunch will be hosted at Hondo Creek Feedyard. Doug Husfeld, Hondo Creek Feedyard general manager, and Phil Moreman, cattle manager, will answer questions about the steers in this year's Ranch to Rail. The feedyard has been feeding Ranch to Rail South steers since 1996.

Consignors and the audience can look at the Ranch to Rail South cattle that remain on feed after lunch.

The field day is free, but advance registration is needed. Further information is available from Paschal at (361) 265-9203.