Effects of age at slaughter and sire genotype on fatness, muscularity, and the quality of meat from ram lambs born to Romney ewes
MetadataShow full item record
Ram lambs (n = 356) born to Romney ewes and sired by a range of straightbred or crossbred sires were evaluated for carcass composition and, for a subsample (n = 236), some meat quality characteristics over a period of 4 years. Within each year, 2 to 4 sire genotypes, including Romney controls, were evaluated at 2 slaughter ages (5-9 months and 10-11 months). Weight-adjusted carcass length was greater for lambs with some East Friesian or Finn genes, but no differences were found in dressing-out percent. At a constant carcass weight, carcass fatness (fat depths and leg dissectible fat) was lower in lambs with East Friesian, Texel, or Finn genes. Meat yield at a constant weight tended to be greatest in sire groups that were least fat, and M:B ratio in the femur region was highest in lambs with Texel genes and, to a lesser extent, those with Poll Dorset genes. Leg muscularity in the femur region generally paralleled differences in M:B, except in a comparison of East Friesian-cross and Romney lambs where the former had lower muscularity but slightly better M:B. Lambs slaughtered at the older age for each year had longer and leaner carcasses at the same weight, possibly because they had been taken part way through a winter or because of slower growth rates leading up to slaughter. Meat quality characteristics differed little between the genotype groups, but for 2 of 3 years, meat from the semimembranosus muscle of lambs in the older slaughter lot was significantly tougher.