Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science


Breeders are looking today for larger, growthier animals which will produce a fast gaining market lamb. The market animals must be able to reach a desirable weight with a correct amount of finish. The weight at which these lambs are marketed influences average daily gain and feed efficiency. This market weight often depends upon the availability and cost of feed. When market prices look favorable for the future, the producer tends to put additional weight on his lambs in order to obtain a greater total return. The producer is usually encouraged to market his products at weights which maximize feed efficiency and meat production. During the last five to ten years, trimness has become very important in all species of livestock. Size and scale of the market lamb has increased with a trimmer type of lamb produced. Growthy lambs tend to gain more rapidly and produce a leaner, trimmer carcass which may sell at a premium. The packer's slaughtering and processing costs are prorated on a per head basis; therefore, it costs the packer the same amount to slaughter and process a 90 pound lamb as it does a larger one. With new techniques for processing such, as prepackaging, it may become desirable for the packer to purchase lambs which are heavier than current market weights. Lambs which are trim heavily muscled and have a high percentage of edible portion are being produced at these heavier weights. The production of more lambs of this type will assure a greater return on investment to both the packer and producer. This study was designed to evaluate the influence of live weight on carcass composition, particularly edible portion.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Lamb (Meat)
Sheep -- Feeding and feeds



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University