Awareness of lamb live animal and carcass evaluation criteria can help producers make production decisions aimed at meeting lean meat yield and quality expectations.

“Live Lamb Evaluation” is the topic of the latest video released by the American Lamb Board (ALB). It is the 3rd installment in a 5-part series sponsored by ALB and Premier 1 Supplies.

Using the theme of “Beginning with the End in Mind,” the purpose of the series is to help the US lamb industry provide a consistently high-quality product to consumers.

Travis Hoffman, Ph.D., North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of Minnesota Extension Sheep Specialist, is spearheading the project. NDSU Extension Service is producing the video series.

“As sheep producers we are tasked to provide enjoyable eating experiences and meet palatability expectations for the dinner plate of American Lamb consumers,” says Peter Camino, ALB chair from Buffalo, WY.

A key part of raising sheep that meet yield and quality parameters for premium American Lamb is determining when the animal is marketed. In “Live Lamb Evaluation” producers learn how harvesting at compositionally correct end points produces carcasses that grade USDA Choice or better and Yield Grade 1, 2 or 3.

Age, breed type, size and body composition all play a part in grading and carcass cutability. The video series takes into account the wide variety of production systems used by American Lamb producers, as each strives to work with their own specific production factors.

“Different crosses such as Suffolk-Rambouillet lambs do well in our area of West Texas, mainly because of conversion, cost of gain, and the overall performance of the lamb; and then at harvest time, the yield that we see back from that animal,” says David Quam, ALB representative from 2015 to 2021.

“Live Lamb Evaluation” is available at lambresourcecenter.com. Previous videos can also be found there.

Two more videos are planned for the series, as well as Q&A webinars. Additional video topics include USDA Yield Grades and USDA Quality Grades, Lamb Carcass Characteristics, and Retail Meat Yield & Value.

ALB is an industry-funded national research, promotion and information checkoff program that works on behalf of all American producers, feeders, seedstock producers, direct marketers and processors to build awareness and demand for American Lamb. ALB conducts promotion and research programs with the goal of creating greater demand and profitability for the entire industry. One of its long-term goals is to collaborate and communicate with industry partners and stakeholders to expand efforts to grow, promote, improve and support American Lamb.

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.