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Estimation of lamb carcass composition using as electronic probe a visual scoring system and carcass measurements

, : Estimation of lamb carcass composition using as electronic probe a visual scoring system and carcass measurements. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 72(2): 237-244

Sixteen hundred and sixty lambs were used to determine the precision of carcass measurements (fat thickness, muscle thickness, tissue depth) and a visual scoring system for muscle and fat thickness to estimate carcass composition. Measurements of fat (F) and muscle (M) thickness were made in warm and cold carcass and total tissue depth in warm carcasses only between the 10th and 11th ribs and the 12th and 13th ribs using an electronic probe (Hennessy Grading Probe HGP). F explained 40-64% of the variation in carcass lean and 44-72% of the variation in carcass fat depending on the location and number of measurements and whether they were made on a warm or cold carcass. In most cases when M was added to F there was no increase in the variation explained in composition over the provided by F alone. Total tissue depth measurements differed in precision for the prediction of carcass lean content with the 12th rib being superior to the 10th rib (RSD) for 12th rib, 33.2 g kg-1; 10th rib, 36.6 g kg-1). Visual assessment of carcasses for fatness had the lowest precision for the prediction of lean content (RSD, 44.5 g kg-1). Loin eye area and fat thickness measured at the 12th rib had similar precision for the estimation of lean content as probe measurements. It was concluded that probe measurements of F or tissue depth between the 12th and 13th ribs would provide a superior method to the visual assessment of carcass fatness used in this study for classifying lamb carcasses for lean content and would allow carcasses to be graded on the slaughter floor.

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