2015-05-01    facebooktwitterrss

English Lamb Quality Remains Consistent

Latest figures released by EBLEX show that 55.7 per cent of English lamb carcases met the target ‘R3L or Better’ specification required by key markets in 2014.

This is an increase of one per cent from animals meeting the target in 2013. The percentage of carcases meeting target has remained consistent over the last 10 years according to EBLEX, the beef and lamb division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). The data was taken from a sample of over 148,000 lambs slaughtered in English abattoirs last year.

English lamb carcase performance by month 2014

English lamb carcase performance by month 2014

Lambs were 0.5kg heavier in 2014 with an average carcase weight of 19.3kg. Closer examination of the data shows that lambs in the lower weight range (up to 20kg DW) produced more in-spec carcases than in 2013. More lambs were over-fat and out of spec when carcases weighed over 20kg. The data would suggest that, at certain times in 2014, lambs were held onto longer in order for them to put on extra weight which resulted in a greater percentage becoming over-fat.

Lambs marketed in June had the highest proportion that hit target, with the lowest proportion of lambs of poor conformation or too fat, see graph. A failure to hit the target throughout the year was primarily because of lambs being over-fat and falling out of specification.

Lambs in the correct condition for their designated market will maximise returns and benefit from higher prices. It is essential that producer’s frequently and carefully handle stock to ensure each animal has reached its full potential and target specification.

Beef and sheep producers that want to learn more about market specifications, selection and marketing can attend a BRP Live to Dead day.

EBLEX has produced a video to demonstrate why over fattening lambs before slaughter is counter-productive to the industry.

Practical guidance to support continued improvements in carcase quality is available free of charge to English levy payers through the EBLEX Better Returns Programme.


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