lamb carcasses© Rex Shutterstock

More than 55% of English lamb carcasses hit target market specification last year, according to recent data from Eblex.

Figures from a sample of 148,000 lambs slaughtered in English abattoirs last year showed 55.7% of lamb carcasses met the target R3L or better – a one percent increase on 2013.

Lambs were 0.5kg heavier in 2014 with an average carcass weight of 19.3kg, but more carcases were in spec in the lower weight range (up to 20kg deadweight) than in 2013, explained Kim Matthews, head of research and development at Eblex.

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However, the survey also showed an increase in over-fat and out of spec carcasses weighing over 20kg.

Mr Matthews said: “The data would suggest that, at certain times in 2014, lambs were held on to longer in order for them to put on extra weight which resulted in a greater percentage becoming over-fat.

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“It is essential that producer’s frequently and carefully handle stock to ensure each animal has reached its full potential and target specification,” added Mr Matthews.

Farmers can learn more about hitting target specification by attending an Eblex live to dead day. Find out more at www.eblex.org.uk