Effects of feeding ractopamine hydrochloride (Paylean) to physical and immunological castrates (Improvest) in a commercial setting on carcass cutting yields and loin quality

B. K. Lowe, G. D. Gerlemann, S. N. Carr, P. J. Rincker, A. L. Schroeder, D. B. Petry, F. K. McKeith, G. L. Allee, A. C. Dilger

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Effects of feeding ractopamine (RAC; 5 mg/kg) to physically castrated (PC) and immunologically castrated (IC) pigs on carcass characteristics, cutting yields, and loin quality were evaluated using 285 carcasses. Male pigs were randomly assigned to sex treatments (PC and IC) at birth and fed the same nursery diets before allotment into 32 pens with 22 pigs per pen in a grow-finish barn. Pigs in the PC group were physically castrated at approximately 5 d of age, and pigs in the IC group were administered Improvest at 11 and 18 wk of age. Diet treatments (control or RAC) were initiated on study d 87. Pigs were marketed at 12 d (4.5 wk post-second Improvest dose), 19 d (5.5 wk post-second Improvest dose), and 33 d (7.5 wk post-second Improvest dose) following the start of final diet treatments. Three carcasses per pen were selected for evaluation of cutting yields and loin quality. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED in SAS with fixed effects of sex, diet, market group, and their interaction; carcass (N = 285) was the experimental unit. Carcasses from RAC-fed pigs were heavier (P < 0.01) and had deeper (P = 0.02) loins than control-fed carcasses. Carcasses from IC pigs were similar (P = 0.22) in weight but had less (P < 0.01) fat and shallower (P = 0.02) loins when compared to PC carcasses. There were differences (P < 0.05) among market groups for carcass weights, fat depths, loin depths, and estimated carcass leanness. For cutting yields, RAC-fed carcasses had greater (P ≤ 0.03) bone-in lean and total carcass cutting yields than control-fed carcasses while there were no differences (P > 0.05) between RAC-fed and control-fed carcasses when evaluating LM color, marbling, firmness, pH, drip loss, and tenderness. Carcasses from IC pigs had greater (P < 0.05) boneless lean yields, bone-in lean yields, and total carcass cutting yields than PC carcasses. There were minimal differences (P < 0.05) in LM marbling, firmness, composition, and tenderness between PC and IC pigs. There was an interaction (P = 0.03) between sex and diet for LM composition. Control-fed PC loins had more (P < 0.01) lipid than all other treatment combinations. Market group had effects (P < 0.05) on carcass cutting yields, LM color, marbling and firmness scores, pH, purge loss, composition, and tenderness. The results from this study indicated RAC and immunological castration were additive in terms of improving carcass cutting yields while having minimal effects on pork quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3715-3726
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Cutting yields
  • Improvest
  • Paylean
  • Pork quality
  • Ractopamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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