Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals twice a year (fall and spring). These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Kathy Zurbrigg at email@example.com
Assessing carcass variability in Ontario pork and the potential to increase returns to producers and improve pork quality
Project 18-003 - Dr. Benjamin Bohrer, University of Guelph
The value of Canadian pork is currently assessed by measuring carcass weight and predicting leanness. This information is then incorporated into a grid for producer payment which provides payment incentives for producing desirable pork carcasses and discounts for undesirable carcasses (excessively light/heavy; excessively trim/fat). Canadian pork packing plants currently use an electronic grading probe to measure backfat and muscle depth using one site to predict leanness/muscling. Advanced ultrasonic image analysis has been used globally for over 20 years to measure leanness/fatness throughout the carcass but there are currently none of these systems in use at Canadian pork abattoirs. Dr. Benjamin Bohrer will be the first researcher examining use of an advanced ultrasonic image analyzer (AutoFom III; Denmark) in a commercial Canadian pork facility (Conestoga Meat Processors) for determination of lean yield. The study will investigate the accuracy of the AutoFom system to assess carcass lean yield as compared to whole side cutting yields (completed at the University of Guelph Meat Science Laboratory), comparisons of carcass data using the standard probe techniques and the AutoFom system and the ability of the AutoFom system to predict intramuscular fat scores in loins. Since intramuscular fat content can influence consumer eating experience, the ability to identify more highly marbled pork primals on the line may lead to value added pork cuts from individual pigs to increase carcass returns. As the meat science lab will have the pork cuts from the first part of this study, a second phase of the study will be to determine if there are differences in pork quality and sensory characteristics for 2-day versus 14-day aged pork. This study will benefit all Ontario producers, as information gained from the research will be publicly available to processors and producers outside of Conestoga Meats.