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Genetic and environmental effects on carcass characteristics of Southdown x Romney lambs: I. Growth rate, sex, and rearing effects

, : Genetic and environmental effects on carcass characteristics of Southdown x Romney lambs: I. Growth rate, sex, and rearing effects. Journal of Animal Science 69(5): 1856-1863

Carcass data from more than 4,400 Southdown .times. Romney ewe and wether lambs collected over a 16-yr period were analyzed for the effects of sex, rearing status, and growth rate. Ewe lambs grew more slowly than wethers and had .78 kg less carcass weight at the same age. The carcass weight advantage for wethers was nearly all caused by heavier fat-free weight. Based on fat depths, the fat on ewe lambs was distributed in more anterior and ventral parts of the carcass relative to wether lambs. Lambs reared as twins had 1.73 kg less carcass weight and correspondingly reduced carcass measurements compared with lambs reared as singles. Sex and rearing status interacted for some traits. However, in no case was a significant sex difference reversed in single- and twin-reared lambs. Growth rate effects were determined by regressing average change in carcass measurements on average carcass weight gain over a 5-wk period. When carcass weight remained constant over a 5-wk period, fat weight increased by .12 kg, fat-free weight and muscle measurements decreased, and bone lengths increased. For each kilogram of increase in 5-wk carcass weight gain, the marginal increase in fat weight was .41 kg and that of fat-free weight was .59 kg. At the average 5-wk carcass weight gain of 1.4 kg, fat and fat-free gains were equal. As carcass weight gain increased above 1.4 kg, fat-free grain exceeded fat gain.


PMID: 2066296

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