The relationship between the body shape of living pigs and their carcass morphology and composition



Doeschl-Wilson AB, Green D, Whittemore CT, Schofield CP, Fisher AV & Knap PW (2004) The relationship between the body shape of living pigs and their carcass morphology and composition. Animal Science, 79, pp. 73-83.

The conformation, tissue composition, and chemical composition of three types of pigs, given food ad libitum and slaughtered over a nominal live weight range of 35 to 115 kg, was assessed in relation to data provided on the live animals by a visual image analysis (VIA) system. The pig types were named as ‘ 3 ⁄ 4 Landrace', ‘ 1 ⁄ 2 Pietrain', and ‘ 1 ⁄ 4 Meishan' types, representing ‘attenuated', ‘blocky', and ‘flabby' types. Three analyses of the shape, conformation and composition data were performed. First, the relationship between conformation and age/size was assessed using linear regression of logarithmically transformed VIA and carcass data. In relation to age, ‘ 1 ⁄ 2 Pietrain' pigs were found by both VIA and carcass measurements to have the widest shoulders. Both analyses also found this type to have the widest ham, trunk, and shoulders in relation to body length across most of the body length range studied, although the greatest rate of increase in ham width in relation to body length was found in the ‘ 1 ⁄ 4 Meishan' type pigs. Second, the relationship between composition and VIA shape was examined using linear regression of transformed and standardized data. Significant relationships were found between fat, lipid, muscle, and protein weight and VIA shape, although relationships were weaker for protein and muscle weight. For fat and lipid, the VIA shape measures from the trunk region proved the most informative, whereas the VIA ham measures proved the most informative for muscle and protein. Third, detrended measures of composition/conformation and shape were used to remove the effect of animal size from the data. Removal of the variation due to growth generally led to substantial decreases in the adjusted R 2 statistics and in the R 2 -like statistics for prediction. Although in the models without detrending, relative fat and lipid weight had been found most strongly correlated with VIA shape, relative muscle was found most strongly correlated with shape in the detrended data. This was considered to result from the low between-animal variation in the data set combined with greater across-weight variation in fat and lipid weights than muscle and protein weights in the data without trend removal. Future trials with greater between-animal variation imposed would allow more precise determination of the relationship between conformation and shape.

carcass composition; conformation; growth; pigs; visual image analysis

Animal Science: Volume 79

Publication date31/08/2004
PublisherBritish Society of Animal Science/ Cambridge University Press

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Dr Darren Green

Dr Darren Green

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Aquaculture