Peinado, J. and Perez Serrano, Martina and Medel de la Torre, Pedro and Fuentetaja, A. and Gonzalez Mateos, Gonzalo
Productive performance, carcass and meat quality of intact and castrated gilts slaughtered at 106 or 122 kg BW.
"Animal", v. 5
A total of 200 (Landrace3Large White dam3Pietrain3Large White sire) gilts of 5063 days of age (23.361.47 kg BW) were used to investigate the effects of castration (intact gilt, IG v. castrated gilt, CG) and slaughter weight (SW; 106 v. 122 kg BW) on productive performance, carcass and meat quality. Four treatments were arranged factorially and five replicates of 10 pigs each per treatment. Half of the gilts were ovariectomized at 58 days of age (8 days after the beginning of the trial at 29.861.64 kg BW), whereas the other half remained intact. The pigs were slaughtered at 106 or 122 kg BW. Meat samples were taken at Musculus longissimus thoracis at the level of the last rib and subcutaneous fat samples were taken at the tail insertion. For the entire experimental period, CG had higher ( P,0.05) BW gain and higher ( P,0.001) backfat and Musculus gluteus medius fat thickness than IG. However, IG had higher ( P,0.05) loin and trimmed primal cut yields than CG. Meat quality was similar for IG and CG but the proportion of linoleic acid in subcutaneous fat was higher ( P,0.001) for IG. Pigs slaughtered at 122 kg BW had higher ( P,0.001) feed intake and poorer feed efficiency than pigs slaughtered at 106 kg BW. An increase in SW improved ( P,0.001) carcass yield but decreased ( P,0.05) trimmed primal cut yield. Meat from pigs slaughtered at the heavier BW was redder (a*; P,0.001) and had more ( P,0.01) intramuscular fat and less thawing ( P,0.05) and cooking ( P,0.10) loss than meat from pigs slaughtered at the lighter BW. In addition, pigs slaughtered at 122 kg BW had less ( P,0.01) linoleic acid content in subcutaneous fat than pigs slaughtered at 106 kg BW. Castration of gilts and slaughtering at heavier BW are useful practices for the production of heavy pigs destined to the dry-cured industry in which a certain amount of fat in the carcass is required. In contrast, when the carcasses are destined to fresh meat production, IG slaughtered at 106 kg BW is a more efficient alternative.