Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 March 2009
The development and proportions of muscle, fat and bone were studied in 341 entire male and female Iron Age (European Wild Pig × Tamworth), Pietrain and Large White pigs ranging in live weight from 12 to 370 kg. The number of pigs was: Large White, 138 entire males and 112 females; Pietrain, 41 entire males and 31 females; Iron Age, eight entire males and 11 females. The breeds and sexes were compared in terms of the allometric growth coefficients of tissues (b) and of tissue weights at constant side weight and constant weight of total side bone.
At the geometric mean for side weight (26·5 kg), Pietrain carcasses had the most muscle (16 kg), followed by Large White (15kg) and Iron Age (11 kg), but the least fat (6 kg). Large White and Iron Age carcasses had 7 and 12 kg of fat, respectively. Relative to side weight, the earliest maturing tissue, bone, was particularly slow growing in Iron Age pigs (b = 0·627) and relatively fast growing in Large Whites (b = 0·801). The opposite was true for fat, the latest maturing tissue, and consequently Iron Age (b = 1·345) and Large White (b = 1·164) pigs were identified as early and late maturing, respectively. Pietrains had a higher growth coefficient for fat relative to side weight (b = 1·249) and lower growth coefficient for bone (b = 0·713) than Large Whites. The difference in percentage fat between Pietrains and Large Whites decreased slightly between 65 and 120 kg live weight. In terms of tissue growth patterns, Pietrains therefore demonstrated early maturing characteristics compared with Large Whites, and it is possible that a low voluntary feed intake under ad libitum feeding conditions prevents them from expressing these characteristics in terms of percentage of fat in the side. Pietrains had a particularly high muscle:bone ratio (6·2 at the mean side weight) compared with Large White (5·2) and Iron Age pigs (5·3).
The difference in carcass composition between entire males and females was breeddependent. Entire male carcasses were slightly leaner overall and had a lower muscle: bone ratio than those of females, but tissue allometric growth patterns were similar in the two sexes.
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