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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety and Quality » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335729

Title: Effects of marketing group and production focus on quality and variability of adipose tissue and bellies sourced from a commercial processing facility

item OVERHOLT, M.F. - University Of Illinois
item ARKFELD, E.K. - University Of Illinois
item WILSON, K.B. - University Of Illinois
item MOHRHAUSER, D.A. - Smithfield Foods, Inc
item King, David - Andy
item Wheeler, Tommy
item DILGER, A.C. - University Of Illinois
item Shackelford, Steven
item BOLER, D.D. - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/17/2016
Publication Date: 12/29/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Overholt, M.F., Arkfeld, E.K., Wilson, K.B., Mohrhauser, D.A., King, D.A., Wheeler, T.L., Dilger, A.C., Shackelford, S.D., Boler, D.D. 2016. Effects of marketing group and production focus on quality and variability of adipose tissue and bellies sourced from a commercial processing facility. Journal of Animal Science. 94:5168-5176. doi:10.2527/jas2016-0975.

Interpretive Summary: Bacon is one of the most valuable retail pork cuts and, thus, variation in belly characteristics is important to the pork industry. A vast majority of U. S. pigs are sold in marketing groups designed to minimize variation in weight. In addition, producers use different genetics that have been selected for emphasis in different traits such as lean growth or meat quality. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of marketing group and production focus on variability and quality of fat tissue and bellies. Results showed that variation in belly and fat quality traits among marketing groups was dependent on production system. This information can be used to refine marketing strategies to increase the value of pork bellies.

Technical Abstract: Objectives were to determine the effects of marketing group on quality and variability of belly and adipose tissue quality traits of pigs sourced from differing production focuses (lean vs. quality). Pigs (N = 8,042) raised in 8 barns representing 2 seasons (cold and hot) were used. Three groups were marketed from each barn with 2 barns per production focus marketed per season. Data were collected on 7,684 carcasses at a commercial abattoir. Fresh belly characteristics, AOCS iodine value (IV) and near infrared IV (NIR-IV) were measured on a targeted 50, 10, and 100% of carcasses, respectively. Data were analyzed as a split-plot design in the MIXED procedure of SAS 9.4 with production focus as the whole-plot factor and marketing group as the split-plot factor. Barn (block), season, and sex were random variables. A multi variance model was fit using the REPEATED statement with the marketing group × production focus interaction as the grouping variable. Variances for production focus and marketing groups were calculated using the MEANS procedure. Homogeneity of variance was tested on raw data using the Levene’s test of the GLM procedure. Among quality focus carcasses, marketing group 3 bellies weighed less (P = 0.03) than those from either marketing group 1 or 2, but there was no difference (P = 0.99) among marketing groups of the lean focus carcasses. There was no effect P = 0.11) of production focus on fresh belly measures, SFA, or IV; but, lean focus carcasses had decreased (P = 0.04) total MUFA and increased (P < 0.01) total PUFA compared with quality focus carcasses. Marketing group did not affect (P = 0.10) fresh belly dimensions, total SFA, total MUFA, total PUFA, or IV. Belly weight, flop score, width, and all depth measurements were less variable (P = 0.01); whereas, belly length, total SFA, and total MUFA were more variable (P < 0.0001) in lean focus carcasses than in quality focus carcasses. There was nodifference (P = 0.17) in total PUFA or AOCS-IV variability between production focuses. Variance of flop score, total MUFA, and total PUFA were not equal (P = 0.01) among marketing groups. Belly weight, length, width, and depth measurements, SFA, or IV variance did not differ P = 0.06) among marketing groups. Though a multiple-marketing strategy was effective at minimizing differences in belly characteristics, differences in the variability of these traits exist among marketing groups and are likely dependent on the production system used.