Objectives were to evaluate the administration of an anti-gonadotropin releasing factor (GnRF) analog on suppression of estrus, consistency of feed intake, and growth performance in market gilts and to investigate the impact the physiological changes would have on carcass characteristics and fresh meat quality. Gonadotropin releasing factor stimulates the anterior pituitary to release luteinizing hormone that acts on the ovary to induce follicle development and indirectly initiates ovulation. Improvest (Zoetis, Kalamazoo, MI) contains an incomplete version of naturally occurring GnRF and causes the production of anti-GnRF antibodies that bind to the GnRF receptor and thus render GnRF inactive. This in turn suppresses estrus in female pigs. Gilts were initially separated into 10 blocks based on age and then within each block allotted to a pen (n = 114; 5 pigs/ pen) based on BW. Gilts received the first dose at 12 wk of age and the second dose at 16 wk of age, were exposed to a boar daily from 20 to 26 wk of age, and were slaughtered at 26 wk of age (10 wk after second dose). Meat quality was analyzed on the 2 gilts closest to pen average ending live weight in 5 of the 10 blocks. Pen served as the experimental unit for all data analysis. During the 15-wk finishing period, ADG was 0.03 kg greater (P < 0.01) and G:F was 0.009 greater (P = 0.02) in gilts administered GnRF suppression (treated) compared with untreated gilts (control). The majority of improvements in growth performance were observed from 16 to 20 wk of age (4 wk after second dose), as ADG was 0.07 kg greater (P < 0.001) and G:F was 0.021 greater (P < 0.01) in treated gilts compared with control gilts. Ovarian weights were reduced (P < 0.0001) by 64.15% and gilts exhibiting puberty were reduced by 87.80% (P < 0.001) in treated gilts compared with control gilts. Back fat depth was 3.78 mm greater (P < 0.0001) and estimated lean was 1.31 percentage units less (P < 0.0001) in treated gilts compared with control gilts. With the exception of subjective color, there were no differences (P ≥ 0.12) in meat quality parameters between treated and control gilts. Subjective color was darker (P = 0.03) in treated gilts compared with control gilts. These data suggest market gilts treated with an anti-GnRF analog had suppressed estrus and episodical changes in ADFI, while they had improved feed efficiency, increased ADG, and increased back fat depth when compared with gilts without an anti-GnRF analog treatment.
- Estrus suppression
- Gonadotropin releasing factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology