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New Research to Inform Australians on Lamb Cuts from Heavier Carcases

26 January 2016

AUSTRALIA - Australia Day lamb connoisseurs will this week be treated to an array of never before seen cuts as innovative chefs and retailers design new recipes to showcase the flavours of our favourite red meat.

And the taste innovations are set to be accelerated in 2016 with new research identifying potential new cuts that can be taken from heavier lamb carcases based on an investigation into how sheepmeats are served in countries around the world, as well as how meat from other species such as pork and beef is processed and presented for sale.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) project is documenting nutritional and eating quality data for new cuts from heavier lamb carcases so that consumers and the retail trade can make objective comparisons of the merits and value of each individual cut.

Project leader Dr David Hopkins, Senior Principal Research Scientist (Meat Science) at NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), said it was an exciting time for lamb lovers with industry bodies being challenged to keep pace with the innovation of chefs and retailers in creating new lamb dishes.

“Our work will provide comprehensive information regarding large lamb cuts in terms of eating and nutritional qualities, estimated weights and the best cooking methods, as well as identifying potential novel cuts by looking at how lamb, pork and beef are served in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom that have traditionally produced heavier lamb carcases than we do in Australia,” Dr Hopkins said.

The Sheep CRC is a collaboration of industry and government with the aim of increasing the productivity and profitability of the industry through the utilisation of new technologies in both the meat and wool supply chains.

With the production of heavy lambs (over 25kg) increasing in the national flock, the Sheep CRC’s meat science program is investigating ways to improve their value to processors and retailers who currently discriminate in favour of lighter lamb carcases.

“Our comparison of cuts suggests there are a number of lamb cuts utilised in other countries which have potential in Australia, as well as some comparable cuts from other species for future investigation,” Dr Hopkins said.

Dr Hopkins and his research team recently published a manual, “The Nutritive Value and Eating Quality of Australian Lamb Cuts”, which documents their findings.

“The document is a compilation of the industry’s existing knowledge about the full range of sheepmeat cuts, and will change over time as we obtain additional nutritional and eating quality data to describe the range of new cuts as they are developed,” he said.

The Nutritive Value and Eating Quality of Australian Lamb Cuts manual, including the cuts information matrix, is available for download at

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