DENVER, Colo. — The American Lamb Board (ALB) continues its “Beginning with the End in Mind” Lamb Quality video series with “USDA Lamb Yield Grading.”
The series, sponsored by ALB and Premier 1 Supplies, is designed to help producers maximize operational efficiency and productivity while giving consumers a consistent quality eating experience.
“As sheep producers, we are tasked to provide enjoyable eating experiences and meet palatability expectations for the dinner plate of American Lamb consumers,” says Peter Camino, ALB chair from Buffalo, WY.
This fourth video of the series explains how inspectors use fat measurements and visual assessments of shape and fat disposition in the USDA Yield Grading process. USDA Yield Grade can determine the cutability of a carcass. Yield Grade I, the highest grade, results in approximately 50% retail cuts. Yield Grade 5, the lowest grade, produces around 45% retail cuts.
The video also explores live evaluation and the connection to carcass yield grade to help producers market lambs at a desirable yield grade category.
“If we make lambs with more muscle and less fat, we have improved yield and value,” says the video. “The amount of salable meat yield from a lamb and the subsequent carcass should be a priority for sheep producers and processors and inevitably result in a consistent premium product for lamb consumers.”
Muscle and fat thicknesses differ across a variety of breed compositions. An emphasis on lean meat growth and the ability to use USDA Yield Grade to consistently identify cutability means people can raise the breed that fits their system and operational goals and provide the consumer with a variety of end products.
Furthermore, applying premiums and discounts to USDA Carcass Yield Grades meets the Lamb Industry Road Map’s objective to adopt consumer-driven value-based pricing for slaughter lambs.
Travis Hoffman, Ph.D., North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of Minnesota Extension Sheep Specialist, is spearheading the video project. NDSU Extension Service is producing the series. One more video focusing on retail meat yield and value, and a Q&A series are yet to come.
Previous videos in the series include “Lamb Carcass Characteristics,” “USDA Lamb Quality Grading,” and “Live Lamb Evaluation.”
ALB is an industry-funded national research, promotion and information checkoff program that works on behalf of all American producers, feeders, seedstock producers, direct marketers and processors to build awareness and demand for American Lamb. ALB conducts promotion and research programs with the goal of creating greater demand and profitability for the entire industry. One of its long-term goals is to collaborate and communicate with industry partners and stakeholders to expand efforts to grow, promote, improve and support American Lamb.
–American Lamb Board