REGINA, Saskatchewan – The Canadian government invested $1.4 million toward a new meat grading system that uses computer indexing and grading protocols.

Stakeholders in government and industry say analysis of the data generated by the new system will help improve flock genetics and feed management practices while reducing operating costs. In addition to benefits to Canada's domestic lamb market, the new system will enable better traceability, a must for exporting lamb to international markets. The system was designed and built in Canada, and it is the first of its kind to be used in the Canadian lamb industry.

"This is a very important step forward in increasing the farm cash receipts of lamb producers," said Terry Ackerman, CEO, Canadian Lamb Producers Cooperative (CLPC). "The new electronic lamb grading system will facilitate the payment of a premium to CLPC members for higher quality lambs."

Government statistics show that 40 percent of Canada's sheep flock is located in Western Canada; 30 percent in Ontario; 25 percent in Quebec and 5 percent in Atlantic Canada.