Instrument Grading Update
December 6, 2013

The American Lamb Board and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center co-funded a study to finalize the instrument grading standards and to evaluate the benefits and effectiveness of the system. 
Dennis Stiffler, Ph.D., Mountain States Rosen chief executive officer, said, “The last of the cut-out data was captured the week of Nov. 19. The study was a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), E+V Imaging, JBS Lamb, Colorado State University (CSU) and Mountain States Rosen on behalf of the industry as a whole. 
“The use of instrument grading provides for the opportunity to reduce variability in the subjective application of yield grades to lamb carcasses, improving the predictability of the saleable cuts and the ability to establish value-based returns on quality lambs. In addition, the system provides an objective sort of like carcasses into lots that should improve plant throughput efficiencies, assist in more consistent and uniform products in the box and greater marketability of lamb to create demand,” continued Stiffler. 
Data will be summarized, validated and standardized by USDA for future use in assigning USDA Quality and Yield Grades. After the USDA trial, CSU’s Center for Meat Safety and Quality will conduct an economic evaluation to analyze the benefits and effectiveness of the system and determine the potential return on investment to the American lamb industry.