Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2835



Summary and Implications

Previous research on meat quality of pork has demonstrated that purebred Berkshires have advantages over most commodity based pork. Therefore a Certified Berkshire Pork program has developed and is a vital niche market in Iowa and the United States that provides economic opportunity for a growing number of producers. This research has also documented that Berkshires have a significantly poorer feed conversion than other breeds, thus raising their cost of production. Understanding how feed programs and growth rates affect lean and fat deposition rates is a critical aspect to these niche programs in order to maximize profitability and quality of the Berkshire pork products marketed. From these two trials there are differences between the two trials for both barrows and gilts that may not be accounted for by seasonal affects. Overall, barrows averaged an inch of backfat between 200 and 240 lb body weight whereas gilts approached this backfat depth between 260 and 300 lb. Lean deposition rates were different between barrows and gilts and between trials. This difference makes it critical when selecting animals for marketing and achieving consistency in meat quality within a marketing system. The differences between barrows and gilts indicate it may be more critical that each are fed differently than in commercial production systems.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University