Submitted to: World Congress of Genetics Applied in Livestock Production
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/6/2006
Publication Date: 8/13/2006
Citation: Leymaster, K.A., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Koohmaraie, M. 2006. Direct breed effects on growth, carcass, and meat quality traits of sheep. Proceedings of the 8th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production. CD-ROM Communication No. 32-12. Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Interpretive Summary: Breed diversity allows producers to identify and use a breed or breeds that perform at levels consistent with marketing goals and with production resources such as feed availability, labor, facilities, and managerial skills. Important differences exist among breeds for growth, carcass, and tenderness traits, whereas breed effects on juiciness, flavor intensity, and off-flavor scores are relatively minor. When supplemented by information on reproductive performance, these results are useful to determine appropriate roles of breeds in commercial lamb production. If meat quality traits such as juiciness and flavor intensity limit marketing opportunities, then selection within breeds rather than among breeds may be necessary to produce lamb with greater palatability.
Technical Abstract: An experiment was conducted to estimate direct breed effects on growth, carcass, and meat quality traits. Rams of nine breeds (Composite, Dorper, Dorset, Finnsheep, Katahdin, Rambouillet, Romanov, Suffolk, and Texel) were mated to Composite ewes. Data recorded on 804 progeny of 130 rams were analyzed. Differences among sire breeds for growth, carcass, and tenderness traits were detected (P < 0.001), whereas sire breed effects on juiciness (P < 0.03), flavor intensity (P < 0.06), and off-flavor scores (P < 0.11) were relatively minor. The negative correlation among sire-breed means for live weight and percentage carcass fat (-0.88) documented that rapidly growing breeds produced leaner carcasses at a constant carcass weight than less rapidly growing breeds. If juiciness and flavor limit marketing opportunities, then it may be necessary to develop selection procedures to improve lamb palatability within prominent breeds.