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Meat Sci. 2006 Jan;72(1):91-9. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2005.06.006. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Effects of slaughter weight on carcass composition and meat quality in pigs of two different growth rates.

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, P.O. Box 90, 2000 Route 108 East, Lennoxville, Que., Canada J1M 1Z3; Département des sciences animales, Université Laval, Pavillon Paul-Comtois, Québec, Que., Canada G1K 7P4.


Three hundred and forty (340) Duroc×(Landrace×Yorkshire) crossbred piglets were allotted to a 2×2×3 factorial design experiment. The independent variables were the growth rate (fast: around -10 days at 100kg and slow: around +2 days at 100kg), based on two different EBV's (estimated breeding value) of the sire-line for age, the sex (barrows and gilts) and the live weight at slaughter (107, 115 and 125kg). A sub-population of 119 pigs (10 carcasses per treatment) was selected for the carcass and meat quality evaluation trials. As live weight increased there were significant increases in hot carcass weight and dressing percentage (P<0.05). Lean, fat and bone proportions were not affected by weight. Gilts had higher lean proportion (P<0.05) than barrows. Furthermore, carcasses of fast growing pigs were fatter (P<0.05) than those of slower growing ones. Loin muscle pH, drip loss and reflectance values did not vary significantly with any of the treatments. Intramuscular fat was higher in barrows (P<0.05) than in gilts and soluble collagen content decreased with increasing weight (P<0.05). Muscle protein (%) increased (P<0.05) from 107 to 115kg and gilts had a higher (P<0.05) content than castrates. No evidence was found that increasing slaughter weight detracts from carcass characteristics or meat quality.

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