Yield grade and carcass weight effects on the cutability of lamb carcasses fabricated into innovative style subprimals.
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Lamb carcass (n = 100) were selected from USDA yield grades (YG) 2, 3, and 4 and carcass weight (CW) groups 20.4 to 24.9, 25.0 to 29.5, and 29.6 to 34.0 kg. Lamb carcass were fabricated into semiboneless and boneless subprimals and trimmed to three s.c. fat trim levels: .64, .25, and .00 cm of fat remaining. Innovative subprimals were fabricated and yields were calculated for the subprimals and dissectible components (lean, bone, connective tissue, external fat, and seam fat) from each of the various subprimals. Carcass weight as a main effect in a two-way analysis of variance did not account for a significant amount of the variation in yield among trimmed subprimals or the percentage of the dissectible components, but USDA YG was a significant main effect in determining variation in yield for many of the subprimals or dissectible components. Muscle seaming of shoulders and legs and removal of excessive tails on the loin and rack resulted in a majority of the seam fat being removed from these cuts. Dissection data clearly showed that seam fat is a major component of rack and shoulder cuts and with increasing fatness or higher numerical yield grade there are clearly increased amounts of this depot. Increased trimming of external fat magnifies and draws more attention to the amount of seam fat remaining. Production of heavy, lean lambs would be more useful in an innovative type of program because of the larger-sized muscles. Heavy, fat lambs would not be as useful because of their decreased yields and excess seam fat located in cuts that cannot be muscled-seamed because of the loss of retail cut integrity. Seam fat was highly correlated to percentage of kidney and pelvic fat and to external fat thickness and with USDA yield grade but was not strongly correlated to carcass weight.