A comparison between the body composition, carcass characteristics and retail cuts of South African Mutton Merino and Dormer sheep
The body composition, carcass characteristics and retail cuts of 61 Dormers (21 rams and 40 ewes) and 35 South African Mutton Merinos (SAMM) (17 rams and 18 ewes) were determined. A range of carcass measurements was recorded. Since there was no sex x breed interaction, only main effects of breed and sex were considered. There were no differences in slaughter weight between Dormer and SAMM sheep at 18 months of age. Dormers had a 2.7% point higher dressing percentage and a 6.2% higher carcass weight than the SAMM. The Dormer had a higher fat content (kidney fat, back-fat depth) than the SAMM. The eye-muscle area of the Dormers was 13% larger than that of the SAMM sheep. Rams were heavier than the ewes at slaughter. All the traits measured, indicated advantages in favour of rams. Only the saturated, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids ratio differed significantly between the Dormer and SAMM sheep. Based on the fatty acid profile, SAMM meat is slightly healthier than that of Dormer sheep. The higher retail cut weights of Dormers suggested that they were superior to the SAMM as far as meat production was concerned.