Lean Meat Yield

The amount of meat recovered from a carcase is a key driver of profitability for sheep producers, processors and retailers.  The measure of this which has been adopted as a standard is the percentage yield of lean meat (LMY).  This is focussed on lean meat rather than saleable meat to allow for different levels of trim. 

Lean meat yield is expressed as a percentage (LMY%) so that it is independent of variation in carcase weight.  Lambs with greater LMY have more muscle and less fat.  It is currently estimated from hot standard carcase weight (HSCW) and fat depth at the GR site (ribs).  Industry is moving toward far more accuracy using a dual x-ray (DEXA) system.  Unfortunately, there is a negative relationship between LMY% and eating quality so research is also underway to develop objective measurements of quality.  LMY% and eating quality are affected by both nutrition and genetics so producers will be able to make informed management decisions as this information becomes available.