A novel solution to prevent boar taint using the right nutrition has yielded positive results in 5 trials. Especially skatole levels appear to drop substantially using this strategy.
The innovative type of feeding, called ‘Taintstop’, was launched by Belgian animal nutrition company Dumoulin, earlier this year at the trade show Agriflanders. After 5 trials, Werner Reuter, the company’s director of R&D, has become even more convinced about the product’s efficacy.
Lowering skatole levels
Each trial again has proven to lower the pigs’ skatole levels by feeding this special nutrition feed to entires about 2 to 3 weeks prior to slaughter. Values for androstenone have also been observed to be lower, but these differences are often not observed to be significant.
A Danish Duroc boar. This animal was not used in the trials described in the article. Photo: Ronald Hissink
In short, the feed stimulates digestion in the large intestine. Seeing that skatole is a byproduct of animo acids, less skatole is left behind. Androstenone, on the other hand, also a major component of boar taint, is being formed in the testes.
Trials with Danish Duroc
Currently, in total 5 trials have been run including the nutritional solution. One of these trials was carried out using a Danish Duroc terminal sire, traditionally passing on stronger ‘taint hormones’ than a Belgian Piétrain. At the Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), offspring of these Duroc boars were examined.
In the group receiving regular feed, the frequency of tainted carcasses was 11%. In the group receiving Taintstop, this was 1%. The trial, by the way, was done with 4 different humans who sniffed at the meat – a trial that was repeated the next day as well. Mr Reuter emphasised that at the institute, a sniff test can be done in much more detail than in a slaughterhouse. After all, in a laboratory, time pressure nor distractions exist.
Feeding 2 weeks prior to slaughter
Another trial at ILVO, of which the results have not been published yet, revealed that feeding Taintstop for only 2 weeks prior to slaughter is sufficient to avoid the occurrence tainted carcasses. This is substantial as the boar feed is about €100/tonne more expensive. Piétrians consume on average 2.5 kg per day in the latest phase of finishing, which comes down to €3.50 extra per boar. This amount shall be even higher with Durocs.
Dumoulin has also started offering the product as a basic feed formulation, after which customers can top this up with locally purchased raw material. The company targets customers in Belgium, France and Denmark.