Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2545



Summary and Implications

Pig mortalities from the farm to the harvest facility have been estimated to cost the U.S. swine industry over 55 million dollars annually. Improved understanding of the major factors impacting the behavioral and physiological responses of the finisher pig during transportation and its effects on final meat quality is needed. Fresh pork loin quality attribute evaluations were performed on a total of 200 (n = 100 per treatment) pigs from the first pull (FP defined as first pigs marketed from a finishing facility). Two loading system designs were compared in the study. The first loading system design (T) was the production system’s traditional metal covered chute. The second design (P) used was a prototype loading gantry constructed of an aluminum covered chute. After loading was complete, pigs were transported ~88.5 km to a commercial packing plant. Initial pH, 24-h pH, Japanese Color Score (JCS) cut, JCS rib, color pass rate and Loin L* were scored on each loin. Loins from pigs loaded with the P loading gantry had higher (P < 0.05) initial and 24 h pH and tended (P = 0.08) to have higher JCS cut values. These observations were consistent with lower L* values observed in loins from pigs loaded with P loading gantry (P < 0.05). Results indicate that pigs loaded on the P loading gantry have improved meat quality attributes when compared to pigs loaded with the T chute during the first pull.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University