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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
Lamb eating quality guaran Operating as part of the Federal Department of Innovation Industry Science and Research’s CRC program, the Sheep CRC is a collaboration of industry, government and the commercial sector. It is working to increase productivity and proftability of the industry through new technologies for adoption by both the meat and wool supply chains. The sheepmeat industry will be able to guarantee continued improvement in consumer satisfaction for the foreseeable future by understanding what consumers really want in terms of lamb eating quality, and then using genetic tools to deliver on these taste requirements. Research coordinated by Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and other partner organisations, has established a clear understanding of the characteristics of lamb that underpin consumer satisfaction. And in a major breakthrough, researchers can now align this knowledge with new genetic markers so that producers will be able to manage their focks for eating quality, while also increasing the lean meat yield and productivity of their sheep. Sheep CRC Chief Executive Offcer James Rowe said the Sheep CRC team, via its world-leading Information Nucleus Flocks, has found that even when employing best practice meat processing techniques, there is a wide variation in lamb eating quality and it is now clear that this variation has a signifcant genetic component. “A common problem for all livestock breeding programs is that genetic selection for increased growth and muscling invariably leads to tougher and less favoursome meat,” Prof. Rowe. “It is therefore important to have made the breakthrough in lamb eating quality research to ensure that we can simultaneously improve eating quality and productivity.” Prof. Rowe said the science behind the measurement of eating quality attributes was diffcult and expensive. “However, the recent progress made in genomic technologies will enable more accurate selection of young rams with the genes to ensure both eating quality and increased productivity,” he said. The fndings were an important component of the broader genomics research program being conducted by the Sheep CRC and MLA, which will provide sheep breeders with the ability to use DNA testing early in an animal’s life to identify a wide range of traits – from meat quality through to wool length. “This will deliver producers the ability to achieve faster improvements in their focks together with a better balance in their ram selection and breeding programs,” said Prof. Rowe. The full genetic variation in eating quality is positively related to intramuscular fat and tenderness while being negatively related to genetic selection for lean meat yield and muscling. The balance in selecting for these traits is therefore very important. Information on new and existing ASBVs will assist producers in predicting the performance of rams and ewes in infuencing the eating quality and lean meat yield of their progeny. The use of more comprehensive breeding values is also likely to provide a basis for a new cuts based Meat Standards Australia system for lamb. Accuracy of Genomic Estimated Breeding Values – Terminals Trait 2010 2011 Birth weight 0.10 0.20 Weaning weight 0.16 0.27 Post weaning weight 0.10 0.34 Post weaning eye muscle 0.40 0.45 Post weaning fat 0.25 0.30 Post weaning worm egg count 0.35 Lean meat yield 0.17 0.47 Dressing % 0.33 Intramuscular fat 0.21 0.38