Selection was carried out in a line of pigs for increased growth rate of lean tissue. The selection criterion was weight of lean in the ham predicted from live backfat and weight measurements after a 12-week performance test commencing at 25 kg live weight. All pigs were given the same total amount of food over the test period. The scale was set to about proportionately 0·85 of predicted ad libitum intake. Boars selected with an intensity of 1/12 were used for 6 months and sows selected with an intensity of 1/4 were kept for two farrowings. An unselected control line was maintained concurrently.
After five generations, performances of selected and control line pigs were compared on ad libitum and scale feeding as they grew to 85 kg. Responses in the selected line on scale feeding were +51 g/day for growth rate (GR), −0·16 for food conversion ratio (FCR), −2·2 mm for backfat (F) and +0·47 kg for ham lean (HL). On ad libitum feeding, responses were much higher in the selected line, giving rise to line × food interactions. Responses were +128 g/day for GR, −0·27 for FCR, −2·3 mm for F, +1·01 kg for HL and +0·15 kg/day for food intake (FI). Estimates of the heritability of HL from variance components were 0·43 (s.e. 0·15) on scale feeding and 0·28 (s.e. 0·19) on ad libitum feeding. The realized heritability of HL on scale feeding was 0·29 (s.e. 0·04) and its co-heritabilities with the other traits on both feeding levels were of similar magnitude to its heritability. Scale feeding exposed genetic variation in the partitioning of food between lean and fat deposition and appeared to be a suitable selection regimen for performance on ad libitum feeding.