Skip to main content Accessibility help

The influence of terminal sire breed on carcass composition and eating quality of crossbred lambs

  • M. Ellis (a1), G. M. Webster (a1), B. G. Merrell (a2) and I. Brown (a3)


Carcass and eating quality characteristics of crossbred wether and female lambs sired by Charollais (C), Suffolk (S) and Texel (T) rams out of Mule ewes (Bluefaced Leicester ♂ × Scottish Blackface ♀ or Swaledale ♀J)were evaluated in a study carried out over a 3-year period in an upland flock. A total of 10 unrelated rams of each breed were used as sires. Lambs (no. = 280) were selected for slaughter at the same estimated subcutaneous fat level on four occasions within each year (i.e. at weaning in July and at approx. monthly intervals thereafter). Following slaughter, the left side of each carcass was physically dissected. A loin joint from lambs slaughtered in the 2nd and 3rd years of the study (no. = 184) was used to evaluate eating quality.

Suffolk-sired lambs were heavier at slaughter (S: 42·2; C: 41·0; T: 40·7 (s.e. 0·35) kg) but had similar killing-out proportions compared with the other two breeds (S: 444; C: 450; T: 452 (s.e. 26) g/kg). Texel-sired lambs had higher lean proportion (S: 543; C: 550; T: 567 (s.e. 4·4) g/kg) and lower total carcass fat proportion (S: 240; C: 242; T: 233 (s.e. 5·3) g/kg) compared with S and C sired lambs. Bone proportion was similar for C and T lambs but was higher for S (S: 199; C: 191; T: 191 (s.e. 2·1) g/kg). Lean: bone (S: 2·75; C: 2·90; T: 2·99 (s.e. 0·037)) and lean:fat (S: 2·38; C: 2·40; T: 2·54 (s.e. 0·034)) ratios were higher for T-sired lambs. Female lambs were lighter (40·4 v. 42·2 (s.e. 0·24) kg), and had proportionately more intermuscular fat than wethers (122 v.118 (s.e. 1·3) g/kg) but the sex differences for other tissue proportions were small. Carcass weights and total carcass fat proportions increased and lean proportions decreased across the four slaughter dates. There were no effects of breed or sex on eating quality. However, samples from lambs slaughtered at weaning were judged to be more tender than those slaughtered later in the season.



Hide All
Butler-Hogg, B. W., Francombe, M. A. and Dransfield, E. 1984. Carcass and meat quality of ram and ewe lambs. Animal Production 39:107113.
Butler-Hogg, B. W. and Johnsson, I. D. 1986. Fat partitioning and tissue distribution in crossbred ewes following different growth paths. Animal Production 42: 6572.
Cameron, N. D. and Drury, D. J. 1985. Comparison of terminal sire breeds for growth and carcass traits in crossbred lambs. Animal Production 40:315322.
Croston, D., Kempster, A. J., Guy, D. R. and Jones, D. W. 1987. Carcass composition of crossbred lambs by ten sire breeds compared at the same carcass subcutaneous fat proportions. Animal Production 44: 99106.
Cuthbertson, A., Harrington, G. and Smith, R. J. 1972. Tissue separation — to assess beef and lamb variation. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Production 1972, pp. 113122.
Devine, C. E., Graafhuis, A. E., Muir, P. D. and Chrystall, B. B. 1993. The effect of growth rate and ultimate pH on meat quality of lambs. Meat Science 35: 6377.
Dransfield, E., Nute, G. R., Hogg, B. W. and Walters, B. R. 1990. Carcass and eating quality of ram, castrated ram and ewe lambs. Animal Production 50: 291299.
Dransfield, E., Nute, G. R., MacDougall, D. B. and Rhodes, D. N. 1979. Effect of sire breed on eating quality of cross-bred lambs. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 30: 805808.
Gaili, E. S. E. 1978. A note on the effect of breed-type and sex on the distribution of intermuscular fat in carcasses of sheep. Animal Production 26:217219.
Jones, S. D. M. 1982. The accumulation and distribution of fat in ewe and ram lambs. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 62: 381386.
Kempster, A. J. 1981. Fat partition and distribution in the carcasses of cattle, sheep and pigs: a review. Meat Science 5: 8398.
Kempster, A. J., Cook, G. L. and Grantley-Smith, M. 1986. National estimates of the body composition of British cattle, sheep and pigs with special reference to trends in fatness. A review. Meat Science 17: 107138.
Kempster, A. J., Croston, D., Guy, D. R. and Jones, D. W. 1987. Growth and carcass characteristics of crossbred lambs by ten sire breeds, compared at the same estimated carcass subcutaneous fat proportions. Animal Production 44: 8398.
Kempster, A. J. and Cuthbertson, A. 1977. A survey of the carcass characteristics of the main types of British lamb. Animal Production 25:165179.
Kilkenny, J. B. 1990. Changes in quality specifications for different markets. In New developments in sheep production (ed. Slade, C. F. R. and Lawrence, T. L. J.), occasional publication, British Society of Animal Production, no. 14, pp. 109113.
Latif, M. G. A. and Owen, E. 1980. A note on the growth performance and carcass composition of Texel- and Suffolk-sired lambs in an intensive feeding system. Animal Production 30:311314.
Leymaster, K. A. and Jenkins, T. G. 1993. Comparison of Texel-sired and Suffolk-sired crossbred lambs for survival, growth and compositional traits. Journal of Animal Science 71: 859869.
Meat and Livestock Commission. 1975. Instructions for the assessment, photography, jointing, retail cutting and tissue separation of lamb carcasses from the Sheep Breed Evaluation Scheme. Meat and Livestock Commission, Milton Keynes.
Meat and Livestock Commission. 1987. Sheep production yearbook. Meat and Livestock Commission, Milton Keynes.
Merrell, B. G., Webster, G. M. and Ellis, M. 1989. A comparison of three terminal sire breeds for crossbred lamb production. 1. Growth performance and carcass classification. In New developments in sheep production (ed. Slade, C. F. R. and Lawrence, T. L. J.), occasional publication, British Society of Animal Production, no. 14, pp. 169172.
Morgan, J. A. and Owen, J. B. 1972. The nutrition of artificially reared lambs. 1. The effect of different feeding methods applied at three stages of growth. Animal Production 15: 285292.
Murray, D. M. and Slezacek O. 1976. Growth rate and its effect on empty body weight, carcass weight and dissected carcass composition. Journal of Agricultural Science 87: 171179.
Scales, G. H. 1993. Carcass fatness in lambs grazing various forages at different rates of live weight gain. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 36:243251.
Statistical Analysis Systems Institute. 1993. SAS user's committee: statistics. Statistical Analysis Systems Institute Inc., Cary, NC.
Thompson, J. M., Atkins, K. D. and Gilmour, A. R. 1979. Carcass characteristics of heavy weight crossbred lambs. II. Carcass composition and partitioning of fat. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 30:12071214.
Vipond, J. E., Marie, S. and Hunter, E. A. 1995. Effects of clover and milk in the diet of grazed lambs on meat quality. Animal Science 60: 231238.
Visscher, A. H. and Bekedam, M. 1984. Influence of the Texel breed on sheep production in Europe. Thirty-fourth annual meeting of the European Association of Animal Production, The Hague.
Wolf, B. T., Smith, C. and Sales, D. I. 1980. Growth and carcass composition in the crossbred progeny of six terminal sire breeds of sheep. Animal Production 31: 307313.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The influence of terminal sire breed on carcass composition and eating quality of crossbred lambs

  • M. Ellis (a1), G. M. Webster (a1), B. G. Merrell (a2) and I. Brown (a3)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.