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J Anim Sci. 1996 May;74(5):925-33.

Influence of slaughter weight on growth and carcass characteristics, commercial cutting and curing yields, and meat quality of barrows and gilts from two genotypes.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


Pigs representing two crossbred genotypes, a breeding company hybrid (BCH) and a three breed cross (Hampshire x [Yorkshire x Duroc]) (HYD) were evaluated at five slaughter weights (SLW): 100, 115, 130, 145, and 160 kg. A total of 160 pigs were grown in like-sex (barrows [B] or gilts [G]), like-genotype groups, with four pigs/group, from 60 kg live weight. A corn-soybean meal-based diet was available on an ad libitum basis (15.8% crude protein, 3,300 kcal/kg ME). One-half of the pigs from each group (80 pigs) were slaughtered for carcass and meat quality evaluation. Genotype BCH grew faster, had lower backfat depths in the loin and lumbar regions, and a smaller loin eye area than HYD, but both groups had a similar gain:feed ratio. Few consistent genotype differences in cutting and curing yields and meat quality were observed. Differences between sexes for growth and carcass traits were generally in agreement with previous research; however, the magnitude of the differences was small. There were few nonlinear regressions involving SLW and limited differences between genotypes or sexes in the slopes of the linear regressions. Increases in SLW were associated with increases in feed intake, backfat depth and loin' eye area, and minimal changes in growth rate or gain:feed. Percentage of loin increased and ham, shoulder, and spare rib percentages decreased with slaughter weight. The weight of trimmed, boneless cuts increased with slaughter weight, but percentage trimmed, boneless cuts was reduced. Curing yields for belly increased with slaughter weight. Changes in meat quality with increasing slaughter weight were relatively small. Longissimus lumborum fat content increased and moisture content decreased with slaughter weight. These results suggest that modern genotypes can be slaughtered at live weights up to 160 kg with limited impact on growth performance, commercial meat yields, or meat quality characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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