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Lamb Castration and Meat Quality

Male lambs left entire grow significantly faster than castrates, while meat from entire male lambs has less fat, and thus represents better value for consumers.

In an article in the latest edition of TResearch, the official science publication of Teagasc, senior researcher Dr Seamus Hanrahan asks if leaving male lambs entire has an effect on meat quality.

“International research has shown that where lambs are reared on an all grass diet and slaughtered by the end of the grazing season, leaving male lambs entire has no negative effect on meat quality, whether assessment is laboratory based, or through in-home consumer testing,” explains Dr Hanrahan.

Teagasc studies have shown that entire male lambs grow faster; achieve higher weaning weights, finish earlier and produce leaner carcasses than castrated male lambs. The financial gain to producers from leaving males entire is of the order of €2.50 per lamb under current market conditions.