During a programme which targeted late-born heavy-weight lambs supplied at 14 months of age, the question was raised about the meat quality of old-season lambs compared to traditional new-season product. In Experiment 1, short loins from 10 new season ram lambs (3.5 months of age) and 10 old-season ram lambs (14 months of age) of similar weights and grades were compared. Samples from new-season lambs scored slightly better for most characteristics (taste P<0.10, tenderness P <0.001 and juiciness P<0.03) but there was no difference in odour (P <0.60) and few tasters disliked any of the samples. In Experiment 2, short loins from 10 ewe, nine cryptorchid and nine ram older lambs with similar carcass weights were compared. There were no significant differences in eating quality between the samples from ram, ewe and cryptorchid lambs. In conclusion, differences due to age were small when carcasses were compared at the same weight and carcass fatness.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 79, Palmerston North, 98-99, 2019
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