Technical-economical aspects of the Alcarreña sheep farms in Spain and characterization of their meat products

  1. Carlos Palacios Riocerezo
  2. Isabel Revilla Martín
  3. M.A. Lurueña Martínez
  4. Soledad Álvarez Sánchez-Arjona
  5. José Alfonso Abecia Martínez
Journal:
Animal Genetic Resources Information = Bulletin de information sur les ressources génétiques animales = Boletín de información sobre recursos genéticos animales

ISSN: 1014-2339

Year of publication: 2016

Issue: 58

Pages: 83-89

Type: Article

More publications in: Animal Genetic Resources Information = Bulletin de information sur les ressources génétiques animales = Boletín de información sobre recursos genéticos animales

Abstract

Alcarreña is an endangered Spanish sheep breed (8 009 breeding animals) characterized by its adaptation to a particularly harsh environment and by having a sustainable pasture-based, small-scale, production model. The first objective of this study was to identify the technical-economic aspects of the Alcarreña farms, based on information obtained from surveys. The second objective was to quantify the influence of slaughter weight (12, 19 and 23 kg) on the sensory characteristics of the lamb meat. The mean age of the Alcarreña sheep farmers was lower than the average age of Spanish sheep farmers; however, generational renewal is not assured because most of the farmers’ children were still in school. Mean flock size was higher than the average Spanish sheep flock. Alcarreña sheep were reared under an extensive management system, grazed year-round and had a reproductive schedule of three lambings within 2 years. The carcass and meat qualities of the 12 and 19 kg lambs did not differ significantly, although the lightest lambs had the softest meat and the clearest subcutaneous fat. The most important differences between the lighter lambs and the 23-kg lambs were in meat and fat colour and lipid composition. Among the sensorial characteristics, the 19-kg lambs had the lowest meat fibrosity, and meat colour and slaughter weight were negatively correlated. Keywords: Alcarreña, sheep, surveys, lamb, meat