Federally Inspected Lamb
(Nov. 1, 2013) These graphs depict a trend that is surprising to many sheep producers. It shows the significant decline of the share of federally inspected lamb carcasses that are also U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quality graded.
Only 70 percent of the carcasses are being graded today versus almost 90 percent in the late 1990s. Two issues are thought to impact the decreased use of USDA graded lamb being the non-traditional or ethnic lamb carcasses that go through the large commercial plants today and larger share of old crop in the slaughter mix. Non-graded or “no roll” lamb carcass applies to most of the non-traditional market today which is one third of all lamb produced in the United States in addition to the share of carcasses not graded at the large commercial plants could approach 40 percent of the total lamb crop.
The graph above shows that 60 percent of the commercial slaughter of lamb is yield graded.