Carcass merit and meat quality in Suffolk lambs, Katahdin lambs, and meat-goat kids finished on a grass-legume pasture with and without supplementation

Meat Sci. 2014 Oct;98(2):211-9. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


The experiment evaluated traditional U.S. sheep (Suffolk), hair sheep (Katahdin), and meat goat (Boer crossbred; Goat) carcass and meat quality parameters when finished on pasture with and without supplemental whole cottonseed (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Supplemented animals had greater ribeye area (P<0.01), body wall thickness (P<0.001), and lean quality score (P<0.05) than unsupplemented animals. Whole cottonseed increased fatty acids (FA) 18:1 trans-10, 18:1 trans-12, 18:2, and Omega6:Omega3 ratio and decreased FA 18:1 trans-11, 18:3, and Omega3 in longissimus muscle (LM). Katahdin LM had greater (P<0.001) intramuscular fat compared to Suffolk and Goat. Goat LM had less (P<0.001) FA 14:0, 18:0, 18:1 t11, 18:3, 20:3n-6, and saturated FA when compared to Suffolk or Katahdin. Carcass weights from pasture-finished sheep and goats would be acceptable for most ethnic markets in the USA. Omega6:Omega3 ratios in chevon and lamb were within the guidelines for meats that can improve human diets and health.

Keywords: Carcass; Goat; Meat quality; Pasture-finish; Sheep; Supplement.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fabaceae / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / analysis
  • Food Quality
  • Goats
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Poaceae / chemistry
  • Sheep, Domestic / classification
  • United States


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6