Submitted to: Animal
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/17/2007
Publication Date: 1/11/2008
Citation: Patton, B.S., Huff-Lonergan, E., Honeyman, M.S., Kerr, B.J., Lonergan, S.M. 2008. Effects of space allocation within a deep bedded finishing system on swine growth performance, fatty acid composition and pork quality. Animal. 2:471-478. Interpretive Summary: Increased potential for niche marketing and a growing demand for improvement in pork quality have led to the development of alternative pig production systems, which typically have more space to freely move about compared to conventional confinement systems. The following experiment was implemented to demonstrate the degree to which space allocation in a deep bedded system influences swine performance, pork composition and pork quality. This research demonstrated that pigs finished with greater space allocation (1.13 versus 0.70 square meters/pig) had smaller longissimus muscle area, resulted in lower total lipid in subcutaneous pork adipose tissue, and produced pork that appeared to be darker. Pigs reared with less space resulted in greater proportion of lipid present as polyunsaturated fatty acids. Space allocation did not affect fat firmness. Providing more space during finishing had only a small effect on swine growth and pork quality. Variations observed from replication to replication, due to fluctuating environmental temperatures, provide insight to seasonal differences in growth and adipose tissue composition and firmness, as finishing pigs in these systems may lead to seasonal variation in lipid composition. This information is important for swine production facilities wanting informtion on how pig performance and pork quality may be affected by the amount of space allotted in deep-bedded production systems, and by environmental temperature within these systems.
Technical Abstract: The objectives of the current study were to determine the degree to which space allocation in a deep-bedded system influences swine performance and pork quality. The deep-bedded method employed was hoop structures which are large, tent-like shelters with cornstalks or straw for bedding. One hundred gilts ranging in weight from 59 to 71 kg were randomly assigned to treatments of low (0.70 square meters/pig, n = 50) or high (1.13 square meters/pig, n = 50) space allocation. During the 45-day experimental period, gilts were ad libitum fed a two-phase diet. Six gilts per treatment were used for carcass composition and pork quality evaluation. Five replications were conducted over a period of four months. Pigs finished with greater space allocation had smaller longissimus muscle area and produced pork that appeared to be darker. Variations in fatty acid composition and lipid percentage of subcutaneous adipose and longissimus dorsi muscle were observed when space allocation was changed within hoop structures. Less space resulted in greater proportion of lipid present as polyunsaturated fatty acids. Greater space allocation resulted in lower total lipid in subcutaneous pork adipose tissue. Space allocation did not affect fat firmness. Replications spanned the months of August to November, with temperatures ranging from 32° to -2°C within the hoop structure. As environmental temperature declined, the proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids increased. Providing more space during finishing in these systems had only a small effect on swine growth and pork quality. Variations observed from replication to replication at fluctuating temperatures provide insight to seasonal differences in growth and adipose tissue composition and firmness. Therefore, finishing pigs in these systems may lead to seasonal variation in lipid composition.