Service and regulatory announcements

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Title:
Service and regulatory announcements
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v. : ; 23 cm.
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English
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United States -- Bureau of Agricultural Economics
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Washington
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Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
Agricultural estimating and reporting -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
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Statement of Responsibility:
United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
No. 71 (Sept. 1922)-
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"S.R.A.--Agricultural economics ..."
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Title from caption.

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University of Florida
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S. R. A.-P. M. A. 168 1 Issued April 1951

United tat4K. Rpeitment f Agriculture

PRODUCTION AND MARKETING ADMINISTRATION
SERVICE AND REGULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS NO. 168


OFFICIAL UNITED STATES STANDARDS FOR GRADES OF
SLAUGHTER LAMBS, YEARLINGS, AND SHEEP

(Title 7, Ch. I, Pt. 53, Sections 53.130-53.134 of the Code of Federal Regulations)

The following is a reprint of the official United States standards for the ;r:iles
of slaughter lambs, yearlings, and sheep heretofore prmuullgatedl by the Secre-
tary of Agriculture under the Agricultural M;Irlrktirig Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 11,7 ;
7 U. S. C. 1621 et seq.) and the items for Market Inspection of Farm Products and
Marketing Farm Products recurring in the annual appropriation acts for the
United States Department of Agriculture.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE STANDARDS
Tentative United States Standards for the Market Classes and Grades of
Slaughter Lambs and Sheep were prepared in 1917 to provide a basis on which
the Federal Market News Service might issue market quotations on these animals,
according to a uniform classification. Preliminary gr;mile descriptions were
mimeographed and distributed. S.lggeltio'lu for their improvement were solic-
ited and received from producers, animal hu;-bndljiezi, market age nci.s, and
slaughterers. These suggestions were used in further perfecting the standards.
Late in 1926 and early in 1927, public hearings were held in Portland (Oreg.),
San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Fort Worth, Kainsas City, Omaha, St.
Paul, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Invitations to attend these
hearings were sent to livestock producers, slaughterers, wholesale and retail
dealers, agricultural college workers, and others interested in the livestock and
meat industries. The sentiment developed in these hParin-i; was decidedly in
favor of the standardized grades for sheep, y.-arlin's. and lambs, as presented.
Criticisms and suggestions brought out in the 1,e;irini- were given careful con-
sideration in later revisions of the tentative standards, which were printed in
March 1936, Circular No. 383. The circular was slightly revised in July 1940.
The tentative standards for grades of slaughter sheep were revised and pro-
mulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture as the official United States standards
for grades of slaughter lambs, yearlings, and sheep, effective April 30, 1951.
These standards are now being issued as Service and Regulatory Announcements
No. 168. The revisions in the tentative standards, at the time of their promul-
gation as official standards, combined the Prime and Choice grade-s and designated
them as Prime. The Good grade was renamed Choice, which also became the
highest grade for which slaughter sheep older than yearlings are eligible. The
top two-thirds of the Medium grade was renamed Good; the lower one-third
of the Medium grade was combined with the upper two-thirds of the Common
grade and designated as Utility; and the lower one-third of the Common grade
was combined with the Cull grade and designated as Cull. The revisions also
provided for indicating in the standards the minimum requirements for each
grade and specified the grade requirements at varying degrees of maturity.

APPLICATION OF STANDARDS
The official standards for market sheep, developed by the United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture, provide for segregation according to: (1) Use as slaughter
animals or feeders; (2) class or sex condition; (3) age group; and (4) grade,
which is determined by the apparent relative excellence and desirability of the
individual animal for a particular use.
CLASSES AND MARKET GROUPS
The classes of slaughter sheep are ram, ewe, and wether; the age groups are
lambs, yearlings, and sheep. Definitions of the respective classes and age groups
are as follows:
RAM.-A ram is an uncastrated male ovine.
948538-51








EWE.-A ewe is a female ovine.
WETHER.-A male ovine castrated when young and prior to developing the
secondary physical characteristics of a ram.
LAMB.-A lamb is an immature ovine, usually under 14 months of age, and
has not cut its first pair of permanent teeth.
YEAHLING.-A y';arliIrg is an ovine between 1 and 2 years of age that has cut
its first pair of permanent teeth but has not cut the second pair.
SHEEP.-The term sheep refers to ovines over 24 months of age that have cut
their second pair of permanent teeth.
GRADE FACTORS
The specific grade of slaughter lambs and sheep is determined by an evaluation
in terms of factors which influence carcass excellence-conformation, finish, and
quality.
Conformation refers to the general body proportions of the animal and to the
ratio of meat to bone. Although primarily determined by the inherent muscular
and skeletal system, it is also influenced by degree of fatness. Excellent con-
formation in slaughter lambs and sheep is denuited by a compact, wide-topped,
straight-lined, thick-fleshed individual that is deep and full in the twist. Full-
ness and thickness should be especially evident in the portions of the body
producing the more desirable cuts of meat-loin, rack, and legs.
Finish refers to the fatness of the animal. The type, quan tity, and distribu-
tion of finish of the -l;ughter animal are very closely associated with the palata-
bility and quality of the meat which it will produce. Thus, finish becomes the
most important single factor affecting the grade of slaughter lambs and sheep.
Exttirrial finish is evidenced by fullness and the apparent thickness of the fat
covering over the back, loin, rump, ribs, and legs. A high degree of desirable
finish is evidenced by a thick, firm, smooth layer of fat which is uniformly
distributed over the body.
Quality in slaughter lambs and sheep refers largely to the refinement of bone
and to the smoothness and symmetry of the body. Quality is also closely asso-
ciated with carcass yield and the proportion of meat to bone. A high degree of
quality in slaughter lambs and sheep is denoted by relatively small bones, neat
joints, neatly laid in shoulders and hips, smoothness of fleshing, refined, clean-cut
features about the head, and fine hair on face and legs.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The determination of the carcass grade that the slaughter animal will produce
requires the exercising of well-regulated judgment. Each animal presents a
different combination of the grade-determining factors. Animals frequently have
characteristics associated with two or more grades. Therefore, a composite
evaluation of all the inherent physical characteristics is essential for accuracy
in determining grade.
The accurate determination of the grade of a slaughter lamb or sheep requires
handling in addition to the visual observations. The length and density of
the fleece varies greatly with individuals and the thickness and firmness of
the flesh covering of wooled lamb and sheep can only be roughly estimated
without handling. The technique used in handling usually varies with the
degree of precision in mind as well as the experience of the grader. Ex-
perienced graders may find one quick handling satisfactory. This usually con-
sists of placing one open hand over the back and ribs in a simultaneous motion.
The thumb extends just over the backbone, while the fingers, which are held
close together, cover the rib section and pressure is applied very lightly with a
slight lateral and forward and backward motion. The generally accepted tech-
nique of handling shlce, where time permits, and especially when noting slight
differences between individuals, is to handle forward from the dock to the neck
with the open hand, fingers together, laid flat and with a slight lateral motion.
Both hands nimay then be used on each side in a similar manner to determine
the fleshing over the shoulders, ribs, and hips. Regardless of the method, con-
siderable experience is necessary in handling lambs or sheep to accurately
determine the grade.
The market dcf(i-natin of slaughter lambs and sheep is usually made by
classes. However, the standards are intelnded to apilly to all classes. The .;raile
descriptions are cio.inid.ried typical of ewes and wethers; it is re'o-nized that
rams, which numerically constitute a minor market class, will have somewhat
thicker necks, shoulders, and legs than those specified for a given grade.








The descriptions of the physical characteristics of the grades of sl;llg1iti'r
lambs and sheep represent the lower limit of each grade. No attempt is made
to describe the numerous combinations of grade factors which may meet the
minimum requirements for a particular grade. Descriptions are limited largely
to animals considered as typical of the lower limits of the grade.

SPECIFICATIONS FOR OFFICIAL UNITED STATES STANDARDS FOR
GRADES OF SLAUGHTER LAMBS
PRIME
Lambs possessing the minimum requirements for Prime grade tend to be
lowset, compact, thickly fleshed, and short of neck. They tend to be wide over
the back, loin, and rump. Shoulders and hips are moderately neat and smoothly
laid in. The twist is deep and full, and the legs are large and plump. There
is a slight fullness or plumpness evident over the crops, loin, and rump which
contributes to a well-rounded appearance. Relatively young lambs, under 7
months of age, tend to have a slightly thick fat covering over the back, ribs,
loin, and rump. In handling, the backbone and ribs are slightly discernible.
Older, more mature lambs have a moderately thick fat covering over the back,
loin, and rump. In handling, the backbone and ribs are not readily discernible.
Prime lambs exhibit evidences of high quality. The bones tend to be propor-
tionately small, joints smooth, the finish evenly distributed, and the body trim,
smooth, and symmetrical.
CHOICE
Lambs possessing the minimum requirements for Choice grade are slightly
compact, thick-fleshed, and slightly short of neck. They are slightly wide over
the back, loin, and rump. The shoulders and hips are usually moderately neat
and smoothly laid in but may exhibit a slight tendency toward prominence.
The twist is slightly deep and full, and the legs slightly thick and plump. Rela-
tively young lambs, under 7 months of age, have a moderately thin fat covering
over the back, ribs, loin, and rump. In handling, the backbone and ribs are
slightly prominent. Older, more mature lambs tend. to have a slightly thick
fat covering over the back, ribs, loin, and rump. In handling, the backbone and
ribs are slightly discernible. Choice lambs usually present a moderately refined
appearance.
GOOD
Lambs possessing the minimum requirements for Good grade are moderately
rangy, upstanding, long and thin of neck, and moderately thin-fleshed. They are
slightly narrow over the back, loin, and rump. Hips and shoulders are moderately
prominent. The twist is slightly shallow and the legs slightly small and thin.
Relatively young lambs, under 7 months of age, have a very thin, uneven fat
covering dyer the back, loin, and upper ribs. In handling, the shoulders, back-
bone, hips, and ribs are prominent. Older, more mature lambs have a thin
fat covering over the back, ribs, and loin. In handling, the bones of the shoulders,
backbone, hips, and ribs are rather prominent. Lambs of this grade may present
evidences of slightly low quality. The bones and joints are usually moderately
large, and the body somewhat lacking in symmetry and smoothness.
UTILITY
Lambs meeting the minimum requirements for Utility grade are very rangy,
angular, and long and thin of neck. They are very thinly fleshed, narrow over
the back, loin, and rump and shallow in the twist. The hips are very prominent
and the shoulders are usually open, rough, and prominent. The legs are very
small, thin, and present a slightly concave alivlraaliice. Regardless of age,
Utility lambs show no visible evidence of fat coverii:.. In haiidlinti. bones of the
shoulders, backbone, hips, and ribs are very prominent. Utility grade lambs are
of rather low quality. The bones and joints are proportionately large and the
body is very rough and unsymmetrical.

CULL
Typical Cull grade lambs are extremely rangy, angular, long and thin of neck,
thin-fleshed, and extremely narrow and shallow bodied. hiioildter. and hips are
very prominent. The legs are extremely small, thin, and present a very concave
appearance. In handling. the bones of the shoulders, backbone, hips, and ribs
are extremely prominent and the entire bony framework is very evident. The





UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

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general appearance is that of low quality. The relative proportion of meat to
bone is quite low, joints appear large, and the body is very unsymmetrical,
SPECIFICATIONS FOR OFFICIAL UNITED STATES STANDARDS FOR
GRADES OF SLAUGHTER YEARLINGS AND SHEEP
PRIME
Slaughter sheep beyond the yearling stage are not eligible for the Prime grade.
Yearling sheep pis4s.ing the minimum requirements for Prime grade are
lowset, compact, thickly fleshed, and short of neck. They are wide over the
back, loin, and rump. Shoulders and hips are moderately neat and smoothly
laid in. The twist is deep and full, and the legs are large and plump. There is
a distinct fullness or plumpness evident over the crops, loins, and rump which
contributes to a well-rounded appearance. There is a thick but very smooth fat
covering over the back, ribs, loin, and rump, and, in handling, the backbone and
ribs are not discernible. Prime slaughter sheep exhibit evidences of high quality.
The bones tend to be proportionately small, joints smooth, the finish evenly
distributed, and the body trim, smooth, and symmetrical.
CHOICE
Slaughter sheep possessing the minimum requirements for Choice grade are
moderately compact, thickly fleshed, and short of neck. They are moderately
wide over the back, loin, and rump. The shoulders and hips are usually mod-
erately neat and smoothly laid in but may show a slight tendency toward promi-
nence. The twist is moderately deep and full, and the legs rather thick and
plump. Yearling sheep have a slightly thick fat covering over the back,
ribs, loin, and rump and, in handling, the backbone and ribs are only slightly
discernible. Mature sheep have a moderately thick but very smooth fat covering
over the back, ribs, loin, and rump, and, in handling, the backbone and ribs are
hardly discernible. Choice slaughter sheep usually present a moderately refined
appearance.
GOOD
Slaughter sheep possessing the minimum requirements for Good grade are
slightly rangy, upstanding, long and thin of neck, and slightly thin-fleshed. They
are slightly narrow over the back, loin, and rump. Hips and shoulders are
moderately prominent. The twist is slightly shallow and the legs slightly small
and thin. Yearling sheep tend to have a thin fat covering over the back, loin,
and upper ribs. In handling, the shoulders, backbone, hips, and ribs are rather
prominent. Mature sheep have a moderately thin fat covering over the back,
ribs. and loin. In handling, the bones of the shoulders, backbone, hips, and ribs
are slightly prominent. Sheep of this grade may present evidences of slightly
low quality. The bones and joints are usually moderately large, and the body.
somewhat lacking in symmetry and smoothness.
UTILITY
Slaughter sheep meeting the minimum requirements for Utility grade are
very rangy, angular, and long and thin of neck. They are very thinly fleshed.
narrow over the back, loin, and rump, and shallow in the twist. The hips are
very prominent and the shoulders are usually open, rough, and prominent. The
legs are very small, thin, and present a slightly concave appearance. Regard-
less of age, Utility grade slaughter sheep show no visible evidences of fat covering.
In handling, the bones of the shoulders, backbone, hips, and ribs are so thinly
covered that they are very prominent. Utility grade slaughter sheep are of
rather low quality. The bones and joints are proportionately large and the body
is very rough and unsymmetrical.
CULL
Typical Cull grade sheep are extremely rangy, angular, long and thin of neck,
thin-fleshed, and extremely narrow and shallow bodied. Shoulders and hips
are very prominent. The legs are extremely small, thin, and present a very
concave appearance. In handling, the bones of the shoulders, backbone, hips, and
ribs are extremely prominent and the entire bony framework is very evident.
The general appearance is that of low quality. The relative proportion of meat
to bone is quite low, joints appear large, and the body is very unsymmetrical.
U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1951




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