The effect of final weight on slaughtering and carcass quality characteristics of lambs in concentrate-based or pasture-based production systems

Keywords: carcass quality, fat colour, lamb, production system


In lamb finishing for meat production, determination of optimal slaughter weight is an important issue for the provision of a profitable and high-quality lamb production. Aim of the study was to investigate the effect of final weight (LOW: 25-26 kg, MEDIUM: 30-31 kg and HIGH: 35-36 kg) on the slaughtering and carcass quality characteristics of Kivircik lambs, which were finished with concentrate-based diet (CON) or on pasture (PAS). CON lambs (n=27) were weaned at 76-d and then finished on concentrate feed and alfalfa hay until slaughter in sheepfold. PAS lambs (n=25) were on native pasture in the day-time with their mothers and allowed to suck their mothers until the slaughter. In the CON system, commercial and real dressing percentages were lower in the LOW group compared to MEDIUM and HIGH groups. In MEDIUM and HIGH weight groups, CON system yielded higher commercial dressing than PAS system. CON lambs had higher liver percentage than PAS lambs in all final weight groups. LOW lambs had lower values for carcass measures and indices, except chest roundness index than HIGH lambs. CON lambs a had higher buttock width and circumference, carcass width, carcass compactness and chest roundness index in all final weight groups. Lambs from LOW group in PAS system had a higher yellowness than that in CON system. In conclusion, CON system can be preferred to produce a higher amount of lamb meat in a shorter time. Final weight of 35-36 kg might be preferred in both production systems to increase lamb production, without any adverse effect on carcass quality.

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