Evaluating classification methods for Canadian lamb carcasses


Roberts, J.C., and Juarez, M. 2017. Evaluating classification methods for Canadian lamb carcasses. Sheep Canada. 32(3):17-20.


Consumers’ demand for lamb products is growing in Canada. However, the Canadian flock is composed of many sheep breeds raised in a variety of production systems; this has resulted in a large variability in marketable lamb carcasses. To meet different markets, it is crucial to be able to group lamb carcasses in an objective and accurate way. Carcass assessment also allows rewarding producers for raising animals with more desirable traits.
Carcass measures obtained from linear measurements (e.g. carcass length, grade ruler measurements, and ribeye area) are often used in lean meat yield calculations. These measurements are ideal for processing plant environments, as they require minimal time and equipment to acquire. However, lean meat yield calculations using linear measures have limited accuracy. Research with dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), has demonstrated the potential for accurately assessing lean meat yield without carcass depreciation. AAFC scientists Manuel Juárez, Oscar López-Campos, Nuria Prieto, Mike Dugan, Bethany Uttaro and Jennifer Aalhus, in collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry industry specialists, Susan Hosford and Jayson Galbraith, evaluated how different carcass assessment tools, including DEXA, could be used to accurately predict lamb carcass lean meat yield. An additional technology, near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), was assessed as a rapid method to classify racks according to meat quality traits.

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