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PW3.1 Quality Sheepmeat Series


01 Achieving target pH and temperature declines to improve meat quality

September 2007

Recent work jointly funded by the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Centre (Sheep CRC) and Meat and Livestock Australia has found that the rate of pH and temperature decline of a carcase can significantly affect eating quality. The muscle pH of a carcase declines post-slaughter from 7.2 to about 5.5 due to the conversion of muscle glycogen to lactic acid. If the rate of pH decline is too slow (high pH at low carcase temperature), cold shortening may occur. Cold shortened meat is tough or even inedible.


DownloadAchieving target pH and temperature declines to improve meat quality (779 KB)


02 Bone growth and selection for muscling

November 2007

Recent work jointly funded by the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Centre (Sheep CRC) and Meat and Livestock Australia has highlighted the possible unintended consequences of single trait selection for muscling.




03 On-farm impacts on meat eating quality

December 2007

Consumers assess the acceptability and quality of meat by its colour, fatness, tenderness, flavour and juiciness. Today’s consumers prefer to purchase meat with low levels of external fat, but in many cases prefer to eat meat with some intramuscular fat, commonly known as marbling.




04 Growth & carcase characteristics of the major sheep breeds in Australia

April 2008

A number of breeds and their crosses contribute to the sheepmeat industry in Australia. Traditionally, these include the Merino, the Border Leicester (as a maternal sire) and the terminal sire breeds such as the Poll Dorset (selected for carcase attributes).




05 Selection for growth & lean meat yield

May 2008

Whilst producers are not often paid for lean meat yield or meat quality traits, they are paid for weight. Therefore there are clear incentives to use, and pay for, high growth rate sires. This is illustrated in the success of the lamb industry in increasing carcase weights of lambs by over 4.5 kilograms since 1990. In the selection of sires for meat production however, there needs to be consideration of other impacts on the lamb production system, on lean meat yield and likely performance under poor nutrition.




06 Taking the mutton out of lamb

May 2008

The lamb roast is a favourite meal for many Australian households. However, some lamb and mutton meat can have a distinctive odour during cooking that is not well liked by some consumers both in Australia and Asia.




07 Reducing dehydration in slaughter lambs

May 2008

Recent work jointly funded by the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Centre (Sheep CRC) and Meat and Livestock Australia has found that dehydration in slaughter lambs is common in Australia.




08 Achieving a brilliant finish to your lambs

May 2008

Building year round demand for lamb meat requires that consumer acceptance is addressed.The finishing and curfew strategies that you choose can influence carcase traits and the meat quality of your lambs. Optimizing management of the finishing and curfew periods is important for lamb meat value and returns.




09 Merinos can deliver

May 2008

Merinos can produce meat of high quality in terms of tenderness, flavour and overall acceptability. However, Merinos are more susceptible than other breeds to producing meat with a high post-slaughter pH. Consistent high quality lamb products are required to maintain consumer confidence and consumption. The eating quality of meat is predominantly derived from the tenderness, flavour, odour and juiciness traits and in lamb, flavour is as equally important as tenderness.




Electrical stimulation for improved eating quality

February 2008

Electrical stimulation enhances meat quality by improving tenderness and meat colour and is helping Australian processors to consistently deliver quality sheepmeat. Electrical stimulation can also improve occupational health and safety, increase blood collection and enable faster carcase throughput.




Meat colour and shelf life

June 2008

When meat is sliced, it absorbs oxygen from the atmosphere and the cut surface. Within one hour this process is complete and the surface of the meat is usually bright red; at this stage it is known as the “bloom colour”. However as time progresses, the surface of sliced meat will change from red to brown due to oxidation of the pigment oxymyoglobin to metmyoglobin. As meat becomes brown in colour, as shown in Figure 1 below, it is unattractive to consumers.