Monday, February 11, 2013

Accuracy of ultrasounding light lambs

Spanish researchers used 124 Spanish pascual-type lambs to determine the accuracy of ultrasounding light lambs. The average carcass weight of the lambs in the study was 29 to 35 lbs.

Skin thickness, subcutaneous backfat thickness, and depth, width, and area of the longisimus dorsi muscle were determined via ultrasound. After slaughter, the same measurements were measured directly on the carcass.

Correlations between ultrasound and direct carcass measurements were greater than 0.61 for loin depth, width, and area whereas they fluctuated between 0.32 and 0.60 for subcutaneous backfat thickness. Correlations were greater for transversal vs. longitudinal views.

The researchers concluded that ultrasound can be useful tool for predicting loin measurements in light lambs, but that ultrasound predictions of backfat thickness would be less predictive.

This research is useful to U.S. producers, because ethnic markets usually prefer light weight lambs, similar to those sold in the Mediterranean Basin, where this research was conducted.

Source:  Journal of Animal Science, December 2012.

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