Summary and Implications
Niche marketing continues to grow in Iowa and the United States as the demand for high quality pork increases for both in home and out of home consumption. The majority of pigs in demand for these markets are Berkshires, with many raised in bedded hoop barns. Berkshires have been shown to have significant advantages in meat eating quality, with significantly poorer feed conversion and higher feed costs. However very little information exists as to how these pigs grow and the nutritional needs to optimize both growth and feed efficiency. Producers have little production data to evaluate and adjust feeding programs. These trials were initiated to help characterize these parameters and allow Berkshire producers a means to be more effective within their production and marketing system. This trial demonstrated that Berkshire pigs grow as fast but consume more feed than expected from traditional commodity genetic lines, resulting in a challenging feed conversion ratio. Barrows grow faster, consumed more feed than gilts, but gilts were more efficient converting feed to gain. Although seasonal feed intakes differ for both sexes, growth rates were similar within gilts and barrows. This information can perhaps be used in designing rations and feed budgeting systems that can lower the feed costs for production of Berkshire pork.
Iowa State University
Swantek, P. Matthew; Roush, Wayne B.; Stender, David R.; Lammers, Peter J.; Mabry, John W.; and Honeyman, Mark S.
"Feed Intake and Growth Rate in Purebred Berkshire Pigs Housed in Hoop Buildings in Iowa,"
Animal Industry Report:
AS 659, ASL R2834.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/ans_air/vol659/iss1/85