Fatty Acid Composition of Longissimus dorsi Muscle of Suffolk Down Lambs Fed on Different Dryland Forages
Sheep production on dryland is based on natural pasture. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dryland legume pastures on the fatty acid composition of lamb meat. The study included 21 Suffolk Down male lambs aged about 2-mo that were randomly assigned to three types of pastures: successional pasture, subterranean clover/Wimmera ryegrass (Trifolium subterraneum L./Lolium rigidum Gaudin), or red clover/Wimmera ryegrass (T.pratense L./L. rigidum) for 66 d, and slaughtered after. The fatty acid profile measured in the Longissimus dorsi muscle showed no significant differences as to the content of saturated (SFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and the omega6/omega3 rate (co6/co3). There was a trend (p > 0.06) towards a higher monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content in the meat of lambs fed on red clover when compared to the other pasture types. Although there were no significant differences among treatments, the results obtained with natural pasture cannot be extrapolated to natural dryland pastures due to their high legume content. It is concluded that using subterranean clover/Wimmera ryegrass would provide a similar meat quality when compared to results obtained from forage based on red clover/Wimmera ryegrass.