Agriculture and Food Systems - Theses

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    Production of heavy weight cryptorchid and wether lambs
    Channon, Heather Anne ( 1996)
    Declining Iamb consumption remains a major problem facing the Australian prime Iamb industry. For Iamb to retain its market share and to remain a viable commodity in the future, leaner Iambs must be produced and marketed. Recent industry initiatives therefore focussed upon the production and marketing of Iambs to meet carcass specifications of 18-26 kg with a fat depth of 6 to 15 mm at the GR site. Emphasis was placed upon the production of lean carcasses weighing more than 22 kg, which are otherwise referred to as Elite Iambs. The development of production, management and marketing systems to produce and market Iamb carcasses of Elite Iamb specifications, both domestically and overseas, was the focus of this research program. The major objective of this experiment was to determine the potential of producing high and consistent quality meat from cryptorchid and wether Iambs meeting carcass specifications for Elite Iambs when slaughtered from six to eighteen months of age. One hundred and sixty three second cross Poll Dorset x Border Leicester/Merino cryptorchid and wether Iambs, born in May 1991 at Rutherglen Research Institute, Rutherglen, were grown and managed on annual pasture at an average liveweight of 50 kg prior to slaughter. Lambs were allocated to one of seven slaughter groups and finished every two months from 6 to 18 months of age and the influence of sex, age and nutrition on carcass composition, meat quality attributes and fat quality and consistency of cryptorchid and wether Iambs examined. Cryptorchid and wether Iambs slaughtered from 8 to 18 months of age produced carcasses meeting targeted specifications of greater than 22 kg with 6-15 mm of fat at the GR site. Lambs slaughtered at six months of age did not achieve the target liveweight of 50 kg at slaughter due to poor seasonal conditions which influenced the quality and availability of annual pasture in spring 1991. Cryptorchid Iambs had a lower dressing percentage and produced carcasses with a lower GR measurement than wethers at a cold carcass weight (CCW) of 23.5 kg. Cryptorchid Iambs exhibited growth rate advantages over wethers only when nutrition and seasonal conditions did not limit Iamb growth. When compared at the same fasted liveweight, cryptorchid Iambs deposited less internal fat than wethers. Cryptorchid carcasses also had a lower proportion of subcutaneous fat present on all primals, higher proportions of soft tissue and bone in the hindquarter and the EMA of the M. longissimus thoracis was significantly larger compared with wethers at a CCW of 23.5 kg. The proportion of CCW in the leg, chump and ribloin was not significantly influenced by Iamb sex. Nutritional management of lambs significantly influenced the proportion of subcutaneous fat on all primals. Meat quality was significantly influenced by Iamb sex however results obtained did not suggest that meat from cryptorchid Iamb carcasses was of inferior quality compared with wethers as only small differences in tenderness, intramuscular soluble collagen content, meat flavour, meat colour, intramuscular fat content and cooking loss were found. In addition, age and nutrition significantly influenced meat quality, however, consistent relationships were not found. The incidence of yellow soft subcutaneous fat was higher in cryptorchid Iamb carcasses than those from wethers with cryptorchids also producing subcutaneous fat with significantly higher levels of total unsaturated fatty acids and lower levels of stearic, palmitic and total saturated fatty acids compared with wethers. Age and nutrition also influenced the fatty acid composition of subcutaneous fat with Iambs fed lupins having significantly higher linoleic acid levels in subcutaneous fat. However, the magnitude of these differences did not explain differences found in fat quality and consistency between cryptorchid and wether carcasses slaughtered at different ages. Significant, though small, differences were found due to sex in both the triglyceride and phospholipid components of intramuscular fat. As higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids were found in the phospholipid component of intramuscular fat compared with cryptorchids, this may affect the keeping quality of meat from wether carcasses. Finally, although significant differences due to age were found in the fatty acid composition of intramuscular fat, these differences were not consistent with age and more likely reflected differences in nutritional management between slaughter groups. This study demonstrated that cryptorchid and wether Iambs turned off at heavy market weights on an improved plane of nutrition over a 12 month period produced carcasses meeting Elite Iamb specifications and yielded high quality, tender meat.