What can be done to enhance the quality of pork, now and in the future? That question was key at a recently held Pig Progress webinar, devoted to the theme of “Pork Quality.” The webinar, recorded November 16, 2021, is now available for viewing on demand.
The theme of pork quality is gaining importance. The awareness grows that whatever occurs to the animals during life, has a long-lasting effect after they are slaughtered. That means that any major pig management decision should also take into consideration longer-lasting consequences, i.e. what is the effect on the eventual carcass?
Obviously, nutrition animals are getting has an impact on meat quality. And in case producers want to stop castrating, how to approach that without it leading to boar taint being detected at the slaughterline? Both themes received attention during this webinar.
Introducing speaker at the webinar was Dr Ir Gé Backus, director of advisory organisation Connecting Agri & Food in the Netherlands. He zoomed in on realising market acceptance for entire male pigs. For many years, he has been on the forefront in the pig industry in Europe to coordinate efforts to constructively move towards the end of castration.
He said that ending castration is a long-term and complex process, and added that only supply-chain wide solutions will really work. He added that there are still a few open ends in the search towards a castration-free future, like for instance that there potential of available knowledge is not fully utilised. In addition, he said, the role of feeding as a solution has not been in the picture enough.
Dr Diana Siebert, technical marketing manager at CJ Bio, followed with a presentation focusing on amino acids in pig nutrition. She explained that amino acids have the potential to manipulate body composition or meat quality. She said, “Sulphur-containing amino acids are important precursors of volatile aromatic compounds which influence meat flavour. L-methionine enhances oxidative stability, e.g. through increased glutathione levels in the meat.”
She added: “L-histidine is a precursor of the antioxidant carnosine, which has a beneficial effect on meat quality parameters like pH, drip loss and colour.”
Next, Katrien Deschepper, global technical director at Impextraco, spoke about oxidative stress, which she described as “an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract their harmful effects through neutralisation by antioxidants. In that context she introduced the natural antioxidant Elife. She addressed on one hand the benefits for producers, as the additive helps pigs to achieve a higher body weight gain, a lower Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) and increased reproductivity rates.
Yet, in the context of the webinar, she emphasised the benefits for the cutting plant or integrator, by pointing to better carcass performance, an improved dressing as well as cut yield, and an enhanced meat quality.