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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety & Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335740

Research Project: STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE MEAT QUALITY AND COMPOSITION OF RED MEAT ANIMALS

Location: Meat Safety & Quality Research

Title: Characterization of variability in pork carcass composition and primal quality

Author
item Arkfeld, E.k. - 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: 12/22/2016
Publication Date: 3/3/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5678126
Citation: Arkfeld, E.K., Mohrhauser, D.A, King, D.A., Wheeler, T.L., Dilger, A.C., Shackelford, S.D., Boler, D.D. 2017. Characterization of variability in pork carcass composition and primal quality. Journal of Animal Science. 95:697-708. doi:10.2527/jas2016.1097.

Interpretive Summary: There is significant variation in important pork quality traits which leads to loss of value to the pork industry. To make progress in reducing this variation, the pork industry needs better information about the total amount of variation and the sources of this variation. The objective of this study was to identify total variation in pork quality traits and the contribution of marketing group, production system, season, and sex class to that variation. Random variation including inherent biological differences and other factors not controlled in this study contributed the greatest proportion to total variation in carcass composition and quality traits. Production factors studied in this experiment generally contributed less than 15% of the total variation in composition and quality traits. An understanding of the sources of variation in the U.S. pork supply provides a foundation for further research to address reducing variation.

Technical Abstract: The objective was to characterize the factors and production practices that contribute to variation in pork composition and quality. It is possible the variation in pork quality traits, such as color, marbling, and tenderness, contributes to reduced customer confidence in the predictability of finished product quality, and therefore pork products becoming less competitive for consumer dollars. Pigs raised in 8 different barns representing 2 seasons (hot and cold) and 2 production focuses (lean and quality) were used in this study. Pigs were marketed in 3 groups from each barn and followed commercial marketing procedures. Data were collected on a total of 7,684 pigs. The mivque0 option of VARCOMP procedure in SAS was used to evaluate the proportion of variation each independent variable (season, production focus, marketing group, sex, and random variation) contributed to total variance. Random variation including inherent biological differences, as well as factors not controlled in this study, contributed the greatest proportion to total variation for each carcass composition and quality trait. Pig and other factors contributed to 93.5% of the variation in HCW, and marketing group, sex, season, and production focus accounted for 4.1%, 1.4%, 0.8%, and 0.3%, respectively. Variation in percent carcass lean was attributed to production focus (36.4%), sex (15.8%), and season (10.2%). Pig and other factors contributed the greatest percentage of total variation (39.4%). Loin weight variation was attributed to production focus (21.4%), sex (5.4%),season (2.7%), marketing group (1.8%), and pig (68.7%). Belly weight variation was attributed to pig (88.9%), sex (4.1%), marketing group (3.8%), production focus (3.0%), and season (0.1%). Variation in ham weight was attributed to pig and other factors (93.9%), marketing group (2.8%), production focus (2.2%), and season (1.1%). Ultimate pH variation was attributed to pig (88.5%), season (6.2%), production focus (2.4%), marketing group (2.2%), and sex (0.7%). Aside from pig (71.9%), production focus (14.0%) was the next largest contributor to variation in iodine value, followed by sex (13.2%), and marketing group (0.9%).Variation in carcass quality and composition could be accounted for, but the greatest percentage of variation was due to factors not accounted for in normal marketing practices.