Submitted to: The Shepherd
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2001
Publication Date: August 1, 2001
Citation: BURKE, J.M. 2001. EVALUATION OF PERFORMANCE OF HAIR SHEEP BREEDS FOR LAMB MEAT PRODUCTION. THE SHEPHERD. p. 36-37. Technical Abstract: The objectives of current hair sheep research are to evaluate 1) growth and carcass characteristics of hair breeds of sheep compared with traditional wool breeds, 2) production and reproduction performance of intensively and extensively managed hair sheep, 3) parasite tolerance of hair and hair x wool crosses of sheep. Outcome of these studies will address concerns of hair sheep production and aid in management decisions to optimize production. Preliminary data indicate that from birth to weaning, average daily gain (ADG) was greater for Katahdin (K) and Dorper x St. Croix (DXSC) compared with St. Croix (SC) and St. Croix crossbred lambs (SCX); however, from weaning to harvest, ADG was greater for DXSC, followed by Dorper x Romanov x St. Croix (DX), SC, SCX and K (253.7, 226.1, 204.9, 193.1 and 181.1 g/d, respectively). Carcasses from DXSC lambs were heavier than all other breed types; whereas, carcasses of K, SCX, DXSC and DX had greater yield grades than SC. Although fatter, carcasses of DXSC lambs had the largest, and SC and SCX lambs the smallest longissimus muscle areas. Carcasses from SCX lambs tended to have a higher percentage of internal fat than DX, DXSC and K lambs. Conformation scores for DX and DXSC carcasses were substantially higher, resulting in higher quality grades, than SC and SCX carcasses. Results from this study indicate that improvements in ADG and carcass muscularity and quality can be achieved by using Dorper sires on purebred and crossbred St. Croix dams.