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The influence of sex (boars and gilts) on growth, carcass and pork eating quality characteristics

Lookup NU author(s): John Chadwick


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Boar and gilt pigs from three genotypes (with 0, 0·25 and 0·50 Duroc inclusion level) were reared from 30 to 90 kg live weight on seven feeding regimens which involved combinations of diet formulation and feeding level. A diet of conventional energy and protein level (CEP; 14·2 MJ/kg digestible energy, 205 g/kg crude protein, 10 g/kg lysine) and a diet of higher energy and lower protein (HELP; 14·7 MJ/kg digestible energy, 166 g/kg crude protein, 7·0 g/kg lysine) were used. One treatment involved feeding the HELP diet ad libitum, with the other six treatments involving feeding the CEP diet ad libitum, restricted, or in combinations of ad libitum and restricted. A total of 721 animals comprising similar numbers of boars and gilts were used to estimate sex differences for growth performance, carcass and meat quality, and eating quality. Tissue growth rates were predicted from regression equations based on P2 fat depths or ham-joint dissection, developed from subsamples of animals that were subjected to full-side dissection. Overall when compared with gilts, boars grew faster (838 v. 799 g/day, P < 0·001), had improved food conversion ratios (2·39 v. 2·55, P < 0·001) but had similar daily food intakes and lean and subcutaneous fat growth rates. Lean tissue food conversions did not differ significantly between the sexes. Killing-out proportions were higher for gilts (0·766 v. 0-749, P < 0·001), however P2 backfat thickness and lean proportions did not differ between the sexes. The firmness of the mid-back fat, assessed subjectively and using a penetrometer, was greater for gilts than for boars. The tenderness of pork loin chops, assessed by a trained sensory panel, was judged to be better for boars than for gilts but there was no sex difference in overall acceptability. The fat from boars had a higher level of abnormal odour and boar odour. There was a sex X dietary treatment interaction for boar odour with the HELP diet producing the highest levels and the biggest difference between the sexes for odour scores.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blanchard PJ, Ellia M, Warkup CC, Chadwick JP, Willis MB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal Science

Year: 1999

Volume: 68

Issue: 3

Pages: 487-493

Print publication date: 01/04/1999

ISSN (print): 1357-7298

ISSN (electronic): 1748-748X

Publisher: Cambridge University Press