Western Research and Demonstration Farm
Several factors have stimulated interest in an old, rather minor swine breed, Berkshire pigs. Berkshires produce pork that is darker, with more intramuscular fat than most swine breeds and lines currently. As the majority of modern pigs were genetically selected to be leaner, the Berkshire breed has continued to produce more flavorful pork. Asian consumers, especially Japanese, prefer and will pay a premium for Berkshire pork. American chefs and discriminating consumers request Berkshire pork, a strong market demand that has caused a flourish in the pork niche market largely centered around pork from Berkshirebred pigs. Some Iowa pork producers are raising Berkshire or Berkshire-cross pigs exclusively for export and niche markets. Several Berkshire niche markets and marketers are currently active in Iowa. Many of these markets require that the pigs must be reared in bedded or outdoor settings. A popular housing system used in Iowa is the bedded hoop barn.
Iowa State University
Lammers, Peter J.; Mabry, John W.; Honeyman, Mark S.; Swantek, P. Matthew; and Roush, Wayne B., "Developing Berkshire Market Pig Growth Curves" (2012). Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports. 135.