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Differences Among Breeds, Breed Origins and Gender for Growth, Carcass Composition and Pork Quality
There are many growth and carcass characteristics of pigs that contribute to the overall profitability of the pork production system. The long-term competitiveness of the pork industry will be strengthened by having optimum combinations of growth, carcass characteristics and meat quality to meet diverse market demands. However, many economically important characteristics relating to carcass composition and meat quality are not recorded in routine genetic improvement programs. Thus, informed choice of optimum breeds is not always possible.
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Swine Industry News And Notes
The question has come up about calculating the Fat Free Lean Index from information on the kill sheets. The following equations can be used to calculate the index. Choose the one that matches the information (Fat-O-Meater or ruler) on the kill sheet. You'll also need the hot carcass weight.
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Eating Quality of Pork
Although the period immediately prior to slaughter and the following 24 hours post-mortem are viewed as the most critical period in the life of pigs in determining the eating quality of pork other factors have also been implicated. Significant breed differences in sensory characteristics of pork, for instance, have been consistently reported, particularly when the Duroc and Hampshire breeds are included in the comparison. On the other hand, studies in the UK and Europe have found few differences between sexes in the eating quality of pork.
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Stressed Pigs Get Better Fitting Genes
The modern pig has been bred to be faster growing, leaner, more feed efficient and to put pork on the dinner plate at a lower cost than pigs 30 years ago. This has led to substantial benefits in terms of a healthier product with less waste and a lower use of natural resources (see Vol. 16, No. 4). During the early 1970's, however, it became clear that these improvements were being made at the price of an increased frequency of pale, soft and watery meat, and an increased frequency of pigs with a peculiar sensitivity to stress.
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Boar Taint: How Much Is Too Much?
The potential benefits from raising entire male pigs instead of castrates include lower feed costs and increased carcass lean yield. The costs of genetic selection programs would also be lowered if nonselected breeding stock could be sold as normal market hogs. The main reason that entire males are not raised for meat is the possibility of boar taint in the carcasses. Boar taint can be caused by high levels of boar taint (16-androstene) steroids and skatole. If entire male pigs are to be used for fresh pork production, there should be low levels of boar taint at normal market weights.
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Levels of Genetic Variation for Growth, Carcass and Meat Quality Traits of Purebred Pigs
Levels of genetic variation for key growth and carcass, and meat quality traits were estimated for 3200 pigs, representing 4 pure breeds (Duroc, Hampshire, Yorkshire, Landrace), coming from 118 different breeder sources in Ontario. Pigs were reared in a single test station, were slaughtered at about 105 kg, and went for detailed carcass dissection. Mixed model analyses had herd origin, sire, litter and error as random effects, and sex, breed, PSS genotype, fill number and interaction terms as fixed effects. For all traits except meat quality attributes, differences among sources of breeding stock (herds) within breed were as large or larger than differences among breeds.
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Moving Into A Molecular Era
Inside the black box are the genes that pig breeders are trying to improve. Until recently, we have known almost nothing about these genes and had no way of accessing them directly. Genetic improvement has, therefore, taken place indirectly by recording the performance of the animal itself which is in part due to the genes inside the black box.
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Selection and Mating of Breeding Stock
Select gilts to be retained for the breeding herd at five to six months of age or when they weigh 200 lb or more. Separate from the market herd and grow them out on 4 to 6 lb of a balanced 14% to 15% protein ration.
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Effect of Genotype on Energy/Feed Intake
Young pigs between weaning and slaughter and lactating females are generally fed ad libitum on the majority of commercial units in the US and, therefore, a critical factor determining their performance levels is their voluntary feed intake. For the growing-finishing animal, which is the focus of this paper, a combination of its feed intake level and lean growth rate largely dictate the nutritional program for optimal performance. Lean growth rates determine animal requirements for nutrients and feed intake potential sets the nutrient density required in the diet to meet these requirements
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Differences Among Breeds, Breed Origins and Gender for Growth, Carcass Composition and Pork Quality
There are many growth and carcass characteristics of pigs that contribute to the overall profitability of the pork production system. The long-term competitiveness of the pork industry will be strengthened by having optimum combinations of growth, carcass characteristics and meat quality to meet diverse market demands. However, many economically important characteristics relating to carcass composition and meat quality are not recorded in routine genetic improvement programs. Thus, informed choice of optimum breeds is not always possible.
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Gwaltney Gift Creates Unique Opportunity to Study Pork Quality
The project seeks answers on two important swine industry concerns. First, market pigs that are carriers of the "stress gene" (also referred to as Halothane 1843 carrier pigs) are known to produce carcasses with less external fat and heavier muscling than their non-stress gene contemporaries. However, research also suggests that stress gene carrier pigs may produce pork cuts that are paler in color and subject to shrinking and excess drying when processed and cooked. Currently there is debate in the industry as to whether the stress gene should be strategically used to produce leaner carcasses or totally eliminated by selection to avoid possible pork quality problems.
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The Effects of PSS Genotype on Growth and Carcass Characteristics
Pigs that carry two copies of the halothane gene, also known as the PSS (porcine stress syndrome) gene, have long been known to exhibit extreme sensitivity to stress, including sudden death when stressed, and produce pale soft watery meat (known as PSE meat - pale, soft, exudative). The same gene also causes increased leanness and feed efficiency. Pigs carrying one copy of the gene (known as heterozygotes) are not susceptible to stress, but it is believed that they show some increase in leanness. It is uncertain whether, and if so to what degree, these heterozygotes also produce PSE meat. On the belief that heterozygotes show increased leanness but not PSE, it has been suggested that heterozygotes might have an economic advantage over normal homozygotes that carry no copies of the PSS gene.
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Estimated Breeding Value: A Tool for Genetic Improvement of Swine
The performance of any animal is determined primarily by two factors - genetics and environment (management). Often environment can affect an animal's performance as much or more so than the animal's genetic make-up. The key to genetic improvement of livestock is to distinguish between genetic and environmental factors influencing performance and select only those animals which are genetically superior. Performance that is the result of good management will not be passed on to the next generation, whereas performance due to genetic superiority will be repeated
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Sourcing Genetics: Breeds vs Breeders
A pig production system can only be as good as the pigs that are in it. If you don't have the right genetics in your herd, you will be working hard as a manager to overcome the poor genetics of your pigs and, no matter how hard you work, the quality of your product and your profitability will never be as good as it should be. But, until recently, we had little idea of how good was good; and whether or not it really makes that much difference which breeding stock you use in your herd.
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Genetically Modified Organisms in Animal Production
A topic that has been receiving a lot of press lately is the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into our food chain. For nonscientists, the technology behind genetic modifications is bedazzling, which is the reason for fear among many. Even for scientists, genetic modification of living organisms may raise some serious questions about ethics. On the other hand, genetic modification of organisms opens some interesting possibilities for improving productivity and better tailoring products to the demands of the consumer.
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Significant Interactions Between Breeds and Sex
Statistical analyses use Yorkshire boars, gilts and barrows, as the base to test breed x sex interactions. All deviations quoted are the deviation of the given breed by sex class from the breed + sex deviation. eg. For average daily gain, the Hampshire gilt breed x sex deviation is 0.038 kg/d. This means that the difference between Hampshire and Yorkshire gilts is 0.038 kg/d higher than expected based on the average breed difference between Hampshires and Yorkshires. Put another way, the difference between Hampshire gilts and boars (or barrows) is 0.038 higher than for Yorkshire gilts and boars (or barrows).
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Regulation of Genetically Engineered Organisms and Products
Who's minding the store?
Genetically engineered products are big news these days. The agricultural, science and business sections of newspapers and magazines regularly announce the latest advancement in humankind's quest to improve nature's products. Some of these products are on the market and many more are being developed. For the nonscientist, the whole prospect of moving genes among plants and animals can be overwhelming. Consumers want and need to know who is watching out for their interests. Who can tell them whether a genetically engineered product is safe?

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Levels of Genetic Variation for Growth, Carcass and Meat Quality Traits of Purebred Pigs
Important tools for improving several traits together are multiple trait genetic evaluations and selection indexes. To develop these for carcass yield and quality traits, we require estimates of the variances and covariances among these traits, and covariances of these traits with other traits of economic interest.
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Prediction of Carcass Lean Yield Traits From Live Animal Ultrasound Measurements
Ultrasound probes have been used for many years in Canada and elsewhere to measure backfat depth on live pigs for use in genetic evaluation programs. One objective of the OPCAP was to compare existing measurements of backfat depths with a wider range of measurements of fat depth, muscle depth and muscle areas provided by more advanced "real time" ultrasound machines. Real time ultrasound (also known as B mode ultrasound) machines provide accurate images of fat and muscle that should convey more information about the amount of lean and fat in the carcass. Apart from the equipment used, there is also the question of which are the best sites to take measurements, and whether measurements at different sites provide information about different aspects of carcass composition.
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Genetics of Boar Taint: Implications for the Future Use of Intact Males
Male pigs are castrated very early in life to prevent boar taint or sex taint in the meat. However, uncastrated (intact) males have improved feed efficiency and greater lean yield of the carcass compared to barrows. Animal welfare concerns about castration of animals is also becoming increasingly important in some countries. The prevention of boar taint without castration is therefore very desirable. We are working towards genetic methods for taint control.
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Levels of Genetic Variation for Growth, Carcass and Meat Quality Traits of Purebred Pigs
Genetic improvement of pigs over the past 30 years or so has focused primarily on improving growth rate and carcass leanness, and the success of such breeding programs is well accepted. In many cases breeding stock now have back fat levels that are at, or are approaching, a commercial optimum.
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