Montana Loves Lamb

The lambs are raised by The E.L. Peterson Ranch in Central Montana.  Trudi Peterson runs the lambing operation and takes great care and pride in her flock.  The ewes lamb early April inside a cozy barn bedded with warm straw.  The ewes and their lambs gradually are transferred to green pastures as the weather allows later in April.  They remain on pasture until fall.  The lambs are weaned in the fall and harvested in October after 60 days of finishing. 

Freezer Space
A lamb takes up about 3/4 of an upright refrigerator freezer.

How Much Meat
Lambs are smaller and well suited for fitting into family freezers and smaller family meals.  Lambs generally have about a 50% yield for the carcass weight and then about a 75% yield of meat from that carcass. Requesting closely trimmed and boneless steaks and roasts and/or trimmed, lean ground lamb will result in less pounds of take-home product.

This may be advantageous depending on available freezer space and eating preferences. It is important to understand that the amount of edible lean will be the same, regardless of whether the retail cuts are boneless or bone-in. The primary difference will be the inclusion of bone and sometimes some additional fat removal.


  • Shoulder Cuts: Blade Chops, Shoulder Chops, Shoulder Roast, Ground Lamb, Stew Meat
  • Rack Cuts: Bone in Rib Roast, Bone in Rib Chops, Crown Rack of Lamb
  • Loin Cuts: T-Bone, Loin Roast, Tenderloin
  • Leg Cuts: Leg Roast (Bone in or Boneless), Shank Roast, Leg of Lamb (Bone in or Boneless), Stew Meat
  • Breast and Foreshank: Foreshank, Ground Lamb, Ribs

Example Meat Yield Calculations:

Live Wt. x Typical Dressing Percent = Hot Carcass Wt. 130 lb x 54% = 70 lb

Hot Carcass Wt. x (100 – shrink) = Chilled Carcass Wt. 70 x (100% – 3 %) = 68 lb

Chilled Carcass Wt. x Carcass Cutting Yield % = Retail Cuts “take-home meat” 68 lb x 70% = 48 lb