Post-slaughter carcass evaluation in whiteheaded mutton sheep according to the EUROP classification
Analyses were conducted on 120 lambs of the whiteheaded mutton sheep (60 tup lambs and 60 ewe lambs). Lambs were weaned at the age of 60 ± 3 days. Lambs were fattened using pelleted balanced feed. 1 kg of feed contained 860 g dry matter, 147 g crude protein and 6.9 MJ (net energy). On the day of slaughter (100 ± 3 days), tup lambs weighed an average of 33.1 kg and ewe lambs weighed 31.0 kg. After slaughter, a point score conformation and fatness evaluation was performed according to the EUROP classification (E is excellent, U is very good, R is Good, O is fair and P is poor), carcass measurements were taken, and the tissue composition of the half-carcass was determined on the basis of complete dissection. In terms of conformation, the carcasses of tested lambs of both sexes were classified to three grades, that is, E: 14.2%, U: 60.8% and R: 25.0%, respectively. A total of 76.7% carcasses of tup lambs and 73.3% ewe carcasses were classified to two highest grades, that is E and U. In terms of fatness, carcasses were classified to 4 grades, denoting small and medium fatness, that is, 2: 15.0%, 3L: 56.7%, 3H: 20.0% and 4L: 8.3%. A higher number of carcasses with the most desirable degree of fatness (grades 2 and 3L), came from tup lambs (78.3%) than ewe lambs (65.0%). A comparison of the subjective EUROP classification with the results of evaluation based on measurements and complete dissection shows that when evaluating conformation, it was not possible to determine precisely the tissue composition of the carcass. In turn, fatness evaluation may be informative on tissue contents in the carcass.
Keywords: Lamb, carcass composition, EUROP classification