Overseas comparisons have indicated sheep breeds and strains with improved growth rates and lean meat production to those currently available in New Zealand. Most studies in U.K. and Eire have generally shown fastest growth and lean tissue gain amongst offspring by the large down breeds, the Suffolk and Oxford. These results are generally comparable with New Zealand studies. In addition, there has been considerable European interest shown in the Texel for its high yield of lean relative to fat and bone, including lean yield in high value areas of the carcass. The white fleece and moderate fecundity of this breed also favour its maternal use to improve flexibility of lean lamb production. In most studies in the U.S. crossbred lambs sired by Suffolk rams fastest to reach slaughter weights before other meat breeds. This breed is of widespread popularity for lamb production in the U.S. Indirect comparisons suggest a greater growth superiority (5%) of crossbred lambs sired by U.S. Suffolks overseas compared with those sired by New Zealand Suffolks in this country.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 44, , 231-234, 1984
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