Australia produces approximately 16.5 million slaughter lambs annually, of which about 20% are exported. Average carcase weight is 18.5 kg, and the average subcutaneous fat level is 12-14 mm at the GR site (total tissue depth 110 mm from the backline at the 12/13th rib). The industry has suffered declining real income and profit over the last 30 years, due to a combination of inefficient production methods, minimal investment in improved processing, and increasing consumer reaction against a product that is perceived as having too little lean meat and too much fat. Extremely insensitive price signals between sectors of the industry has inhibited any technological innovation, including that available through genetic improvement.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 18. Genetics and Breeding of Sheep and Goats; Breeding objectives and Breeding strategies; Genetic Parameters, Breeding Values, , 15–18, 1994
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