Lambs which are heaviest at weaning produce the leanest meat, according to a new study.
Scientists at the Hertfordshire-based Rothamsted Research Institute have found a link between the weight of lambs in their early life and meat quality.
The study, carried out at Rothamsted’s farm laboratory at North Wyke Farm Platform in Devon, aimed to address the problem of 35% of lambs going to market being too fatty.
They found the lambs which were heaviest at the point of weaning went on to produce the leanest, most sought-after meat at market.
PhD student Andy Jones, who was the lead author of the study, said in addition to producing a better quality of meat, these heavier lambs were ready earlier in the season when demand was highest, leading to premium prices at market.
“More than a third of British lambs going to market are rated as ‘overfat’ and we’ve shown that the leanness of lamb meat is determined very early in an animal’s life,” said Mr Jones.
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