Sheep breeds
Lacaune meat line

Bélier Lacaune Viande - Crédit : OS Lacaune
Bélier Lacaune Viande - Crédit : OS Lacaune
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The meat line Lacaune is the result of a Lacaune-based breeding program led since 1970 for meat production qualities. Flocks are managed in sheepfold for part of the year, then turned out to pasture. In most cases, lambs are suckled and raised in the sheepfold. Reproduction can take place through crossbreeding with specialized meat-breed rams, but managing purebred flocks is also common as the improvement of meat production traits through breeding programs has yielded positive results.

The capacity of ewes to naturally lamb out of season makes it possible to establish accelerated reproduction systems (3 lambings in 2 years). Lamb production is thus spread over the whole year and is often commercialized under the Label Rouge "Agneau Fermier", which is characterized by young, tender, light-colored meat. This production is also marketed under the "Agneau Fermier des Pays d’Oc", "Agneau Fermier Lou Paillol" or "Agneau d’Aveyron" collective quality brands.


The meat line Lacaune is unique in that it has two distinct breeding programs managed by the Breeding Companies OVI-TEST and GID Lacaune. The significant size of the Lacaune population makes it possible for these two programs to coexist without compromising the integrity of the breed.

The breeding objectives of the two programs reflect different yet complementary directions. The Ovi-Test program aims at improving maternal qualities as a priority (natural estrus prolificacy, suckling abilities, out-of-season lambing), to improve breed’s productivity. The program is in particular interested in the management of a gene that makes ewes hyper-prolific.

The program led by GID Lacaune places a priority on improving meat production qualities (conformation, growth rate, carcass quality). The introduction of a hyper-muscling gene is currently under experiment on a portion of animals in the selection flocks. Both organizations also integrate scrapie resistance to their breeding criteria.


Key figures

  • 280,000 ewes
  • 39 flocks under official performance recording system
  • 12,796 ewes under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 105,255 artificial inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    70 to 90 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    100 kg to 150 kg
  • Prolificacy after natural estrus: 1.9
  • 30-day weight (singleton male): 13.4 kg

Results of on-farm performance recording system 2014 - Institut de l’Elevage & Races de France



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