A closer look at the goat carcass yield and its meat tenderness

A closer look at the goat carcass yield and its meat tenderness

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Goat carcass divided in to primal cuts

By: Kedibone Modika, Kgantjie Moloto and Tebogo Pitse / Agricultural Research Council, P/Bag X2, Irene, 0062

Goat meat is popular in most African countries, South America, Central America, the Middle East, India, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand. In South Africa, there is low commercial availability of goat meat in retail outlets such as supermarkets and butcheries due to the limited supply and cultural beliefs. However, little effort has been made to promote goat meat production in South Africa despite the potential to develop a market for this product. This may be due to the meat being perceived to be tougher and smelly. Instead, available goats are usually for rituals.

South Africa is ranked as one of the countries with a high population of goats with indigenous goats normally kept by communal farmers. This makes them not to have a significant contribution to the economy.

Goat carcass yield

The acceptability of goat carcasses in the markets lies in their perceived value, which includes the carcass yield and the eating quality of the meat. Carcass yield describes the relationship between the weight of the animal before slaughter and after slaughter (carcass weight) and it is the main economic driver for meat processors. Traits such as the meat-to-fat-to-bone ratio are of great importance in meat production and greatly influence the profitability of meat in the commercial market.

To assess the carcass yield of goats, a study was conducted at the Agricultural Research Council- Animal Production (ARC-AP). Goats were slaughtered at a weight of ±30 Kg. The percentage of carcass/dressing, chilling loss, offal, head, hide, and trotters were determined. The carcass/ dressing percentage of the goats was found to be 43%, the offal, head, hide and trotters were 55% and a loss of 2% due to chilling was recorded (as shown in Figure 1 on the left). From the 43% dressing percentage, which included bone, fat, and meat, 74% was found to be meat, 24% bone and only 2% was fat (as shown in Figure 1 on the right). This simply means that a 30 Kg goat will produce 13.5 Kg of meat, bone, and fat, and 16.5 Kg of other products including offal, head, hide, and trotters. According to available literature, the ideal carcass can be described as one that has a minimum amount of bone, a maximum amount of meat, and an optimum amount of fat. Based on the obtained results, goat carcasses fit the criteria and can be profitable in the formal market. In addition, its attributes are in line with present-day consumer demands for leaner and more nutritious meat, which is currently the basis for promoting goat meat. Figure 2 gives an indication of a goat half carcass after dissection.



Illustration of carcass and goat meat yield
Illustration of carcass and goat meat yield


Tenderness of goat meat

Tenderness is a quality attribute that evaluates how easily it is to chew a piece of meat. It is a desirable quality for consumers as tender meat is softer, easier to chew, and commonly more tasty than harder meat. Therefore, tender cuts of meat normally deserve higher prices in the markets.

Goat meat is usually criticised for its toughness. However, some studies have proven that there are good indications that goats can yield meat of acceptable quality to consumers, if animals of the right age and sex group are slaughtered and handled well enough during slaughter to minimise pre-slaughter stress and prevent cold shortening. Research conducted to date suggests that the current slaughter procedures that are used are not favourable to the production of goat meat of acceptable quality because they do not take into consideration that goats generally have low carcass fat, which predisposes the carcasses to cold shortening. The process of cold shortening results when carcasses are chilled quickly after slaughter, resulting in tougher meat.

Results obtained from our study proved that suitable slaughter conditions for goats can produce meat of acceptable tenderness. Shear force measurements were conducted after slaughter to determine the tenderness values of the meat. The shear force values ranged from 4.7 to 2.7 for the bottom round muscle (found on the rear of leg) and 3-1.8 for the loin muscle (found between the lower ribs and pelvis). The two muscles differ in tenderness because the bottom round muscle is used a lot in movement as it is located in the leg whereas the loin does very little movement and is located between the pelvis and the ribs. Muscles that do fewer movements are tenderer than those that do a lot of movement. A value between 4 and 6 represents tender meat which is acceptable by consumers, and values less than 4 are regarded as very tender. Therefore, with correct slaughter conditions and the right animal age, goats can produce meat of favourable/acceptable tenderness.

For enquiries contact: Dr Kedibone Modika, Modikak@arc.agric.za/ Dr Kgantjie Moloto, molotok@arc.agric.za

Agribusiness Livestock