The present New Zealand export lamb carcass classification system places carcasses into groups differing on average in fat (and meat) proportion (e.g. YM=20.6% fat, PM=23.8% fat, TM=27.0% fat and FM=28.2% fat). There is, however, considerable overlap in fat proportion between adjacent fatness classes. A comparison of the present mainly visual assessment system (one grader) with one based solely on measurement has shown that the objective systems investigated to date do not bring any major improvements in terms of sorting carcasses on the basis of composition. However, other advantages associated with an objective system, including the ability to sort out carcasses of any desired fatness range which may differ from current specified class ranges, makes the introduction of an instrument measurement based system extremely likely in the near future. As yet, a satisfactory instrument for this purpose has not been identified.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 52, , 7-10, 1992
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