Tooraweenah Prime Lamb has encouraged members to become MSA accredited as part of the latest MLA research program to improve sheepmeat eating quality.
Why is eating quality important?
Consumers are demanding improved quality, consistency, versatility and value for money. The outcome of the sheepmeat eating quality program is to improve product quality and consistency.
Effect of nutrition and growth on eating quality.
Good finishing optimizes the amount of muscle, leading to tender meat.
Poorly finished sheep are likely to produce tougher or dark cutting meat. Good finishing optimizes muscle glycogen levels at slaughter leading to better colour, flavour and shelf life.
How sheep handling can affect eating quality.
An important element contributing to predictable eating quality is the management of sheep on farm or at a feedlot prior to slaughter. Poor handling in the days and hours prior to slaughter can compromise eating quality of finished animals.
Best Practice for minimizing stress:
- Correct yard design to minimize stress and physical exertion while reducing bruising. No protusions, sharp objects or broken railings to injure stock.
- No hindrance to animal movement
- Yards should be well drained and sheltered
- Avoiding or minimizing the use of dogs in yards and when loading stock.
- Move sheep with a minimum of force.
- Mixing unfamiliar groups of sheep can create stress. It is best practice to run sheep as a single mob for 14 days prior to dispatch and draft at time of loading into separate mobs.