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Border Leicester’s proven to be good meat yielding

Border Leicester’s proven to be good meat yielding

A meat yield study by New Zealand Border Leicester sheep breeders has proved their focus on improving meat quality is paying off.

They believe that the hybrid vigour coming from using Border Leicester in a terminal sire programme increases production and profits across ewe flocks, by producing more lambs that offer good quality meat.”

Border Leicester stud breeders have been focusing breeding programmes on genetic selection for meat quality, including meat yield, as well as the general production traits that produce easy care sheep, using animal genetics recording plans such as Animal Plan. Farmer feedback over recent years are that these genetic meat traits are dispersing into commercial Border Leicester cross flocks in New Zealand, and according to meat yield information coming back to them from meat processors, have been making a difference.

However, a recent study by the New Zealand Borlder Leicester Group now has the hard data that demonstrates what they knew instinctively – Border Leicester sheep are a good meat yield breed.

A comparison of Border Leicester Romney cross progeny carried out on a south Canterbury farm last year, objectively recorded the range of yield information between different rams run in the same environment, showing an average of 52.97 percent red meat yield, with over three quarters of the animals in the study measuring 52 percent or above. This compares well with the average total yield for Alliance over the 2006/07 season of between 52-53 percent, ranging from 47 to 58 percent.

This indicates the Border Leicester’s are a typical meat yielding animal, producing meat yield figures which not only were consistently good across all animals involved in the study, but compared exceptionally well with average New Zealand lamb meat yields overall. They did particularly well when compared to the breeds traditionally considered the meat producers.

“The rams involved in the study are good indicators of how the breed is performing overall on-farm. This has given Border Leicester breeders valuable facts on yield potential, and farmers objective information on meat genetic development,” Border Leicester Group chairman Owen Scott said. “We know that the breed’s meat yield compares well with that of other breeds. For us, that shows a role for the traditional breeds like Border Leicester, particularly when used as a terminal sires,” Mr Scott added.

Breeders and farmers utilising the hybrid vigour from cross-breeding will produce extra lambs, with typical dual purpose sheep meat yields. Border Leicester farmers are achieving 160 to 175 percent lambing with the Border Leicester cross every year. “They’re telling us the crosses are good doers, proving their own in hard climates, and are fantastic mothers. Commercial farmers already taking advantage of the high fertility characteristics and good maternal traits of the breed therefore know they are not compromising meat qualities when using Border Leicester’s in a terminal sire meat system.

For further information, please contact Owen Scott 03-686-4725

Details of study results Eight ram lambs, selected for general good carcass confirmation, were loaned from four different Border Leicester studs, run together on one property and used over commercial Romney ewes, with the resulting 232 male progeny then analysed and compared for meat yield over the 2006/07 summer.

Yield and GR measurements at slaughter were provided by Alliance on 232 lambs, which averaged 21.03 kg hotweight, with lamb weights ranging between 16.8 kgs to 27.1 kgs. The average total yield measurement for the study was 52.97 percent, with yield measurements ranging from 47.44. to 58.71 percent.

- The average leg yield measurement was 20.65%.

- The average loin yield measurement was 14.51%.

- The average shoulder yield measurement was 17.72%. Almost half of the lambs (48 percent) were graded Y1 (low fat content), and a further 40 percent (94) were in the P grades (medium fat content). The average GR for the comparison was 7.54, with the range of measurements between 1.0 to 17.1.


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