Carcass characteristics and meat quality of progeny of five Merino dam lines, crossed with Dormer and Suffolk sires

Author: J.J.E. Cloete, L.C. Hoffman and S.W.P. Cloete
Year: 2008
Issue: 4
Volume: 38
Page: 355 - 366

This study details the slaughter traits of lambs born from a terminal crossbreeding experiment that involved five Merino type dam lines crossed with Dormer and Suffolk sires. Dam lines included dual purpose types; South African Mutton Merino (SAMM), Dohne Merino, SAMM rams crossed to commercial Merino ewes (SAMM cross) and specialist Merino lines selected either for clean fleece weight (FW+) or for an increased fertility (Rep+). Data include between 228 and 483 individual records, depending on the trait. The unadjusted fat depth 25 mm from the midline at the 13th rib of lambs from dual-purpose ewes was between 22 and 32% greater than that of lambs from FW+ Merino ewes. Progeny from Rep+ Merino ewes showed a closer resemblance to the progeny of dual-purpose breeds than to those of FW+ Merino ewes in this instance. Adjustment for slaughter weight eliminated these differences. The initial pH of meat from progeny of FW+ Merino ewes was lower than that from progeny of dual-purpose ewes, and Rep+ Merino ewes. No differences in Warner-Bratzler shear values of the meat were found between the different crosses. Crossbred progeny of the Merino lines performed satisfactorily for all the traits considered, and will not be discriminated against in the market. No conclusive differences in favour of either sire breed were found.

Keywords: Dohne Merino, meat quality, SA Mutton Merino, terminal crossbreeding
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