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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Wool and Hair Breeds for Growth, Carcass, and Meat Quality Traits

Authors
item Leymaster, Kreg
item Shackelford, Steven
item Wheeler, Tommy
item Koohmaraie, Mohammad

Submitted to: Hair Sheep Research Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 13, 2005
Publication Date: October 6, 2005
Citation: Leymaster, K.A., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Koohmaraie, M. 2005. Evaluation of wool and hair breeds for growth, carcass, and meat quality traits. In: Proceedings of the North American Hair Sheep Symposium, October 6-8, 2005, San Angelo, TX. 2005 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: A consumer-responsive goal of the sheep industry is consistent production of uniform, safe, nutritious, lean lamb that results in an enjoyable and pleasant eating experience. Important differences may exist between breeds of sheep for traits that affect consumer perceptions of lamb quality. Therefore, an experiment is being conducted to evaluate growth, carcass, and meat quality traits of a diverse sampling of sheep breeds. Breeds were chosen to represent wide ranges of performance and various uses (general purposes, maternal, and paternal) in crossbreeding systems for production of market lambs. The nine breeds being evaluated are Composite, Dorper, Dorset, Finnsheep, Katahdin, Rambouillet, Romanov, Suffolk, and Texel. Rams of each breed were mated with Composite ewes to produce lambs in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Preliminary results are available based on data collected on lambs born in 2002 and 2003, about 60 lambs per crossbred type. The relative performance of hair breeds is emphasized. Crossbred lambs produced by Dorper, Katahdin, and Romanov rams differed for growth, carcass, and meat quality traits. In comparison to Katahdin and Romanov, Dorper-sired lambs were superior for growth and carcass (dressing percentage, leg score, loin eye area, and carcass fat percentage) traits. Differences between Katahdin and Romanov for growth and carcass traits were relatively minor. Romanov-sired lambs tended to excel for meat quality traits (marbling and tenderness), with Katahdin intermediate, and Dorper less favorable. Each hair breed has relative strengths and weaknesses across traits and no single breed excels for all relevant traits. The contribution of these three hair breeds to commercial sheep production ultimately will depend on additional characteristics that affect performance in low-input, easy-care production systems. Traits such as fertility, prolificacy, lamb survival, maternal ability, adaptability, hardiness, and parasite tolerance also need to be evaluated before the proper use of hair breeds can be determined. Use of easy-care hair breeds, terminal crossbreeding systems, and extensive production systems could define the meat industry for appropriate regions of the country.

Technical Abstract: A consumer-responsive goal of the sheep industry is consistent production of uniform, safe, nutritious, lean lamb that results in an enjoyable and pleasant eating experience. Important differences may exist between breeds of sheep for traits that affect consumer perceptions of lamb quality. Therefore, an experiment is being conducted to evaluate growth, carcass, and meat quality traits of a diverse sampling of sheep breeds. Breeds were chosen to represent wide ranges of performance and various uses (general purposes, maternal, and paternal) in crossbreeding systems for production of market lambs. The nine breeds being evaluated are Composite, Dorper, Dorset, Finnsheep, Katahdin, Rambouillet, Romanov, Suffolk, and Texel. Rams of each breed were mated with Composite ewes to produce lambs in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Preliminary results are available based on data collected on lambs born in 2002 and 2003, about 60 lambs per crossbred type. The relative performance of hair breeds is emphasized. Crossbred lambs produced by Dorper, Katahdin, and Romanov rams differed for growth, carcass, and meat quality traits. In comparison to Katahdin and Romanov, Dorper-sired lambs were superior for growth and carcass (dressing percentage, leg score, loin eye area, and carcass fat percentage) traits. Differences between Katahdin and Romanov for growth and carcass traits were relatively minor. Romanov-sired lambs tended to excel for meat quality traits (marbling and tenderness), with Katahdin intermediate, and Dorper less favorable. Each hair breed has relative strengths and weaknesses across traits and no single breed excels for all relevant traits. The contribution of these three hair breeds to commercial sheep production ultimately will depend on additional characteristics that affect performance in low-input, easy-care production systems. Traits such as fertility, prolificacy, lamb survival, maternal ability, adaptability, hardiness, and parasite tolerance also need to be evaluated before the proper use of hair breeds can be determined. Use of easy-care hair breeds, terminal crossbreeding systems, and extensive production systems could define the meat industry for appropriate regions of the country.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014