Effects of marketing group on the quality of fresh and cured hams sourced from a commercial processing facility

E. K. Arkfeld, K. B. Wilson, M. F. Overholt, B. N. Harsh, J. E. Lowell, E. K. Hogan, Brandon Joseph Klehm, B. M. Bohrer, K. A. Kroscher, B. C. Peterson, C. R. Stites, D. A. Mohrhauser, D. A. King, T. L. Wheeler, Anna Carol Dilger, S. D. Shackelford, Dustin Dee Boler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective was: 1) to characterize the effect of marketing group on fresh and cured ham quality, and 2) to determine which fresh ham traits correlated to cured ham quality traits. Pigs raised in 8 barns representing 2 seasons (hot and cold) and 2 production focuses (lean and quality) were used. Three groups were marketed from each barn. A total of 7,684 carcasses were used for data collection at the abattoir. Every tenth carcass was noted as a select carcass for in-depth ham quality analyses. Leg primal weight and instrumental color were measured on 100% of the population. On the select 10% of the population, hams were fabricated into sub-primal pieces, and 3-piece hams were manufactured to evaluate cured ham quality and processing yield. Data were analyzed as a split-plot design in the MIXED procedure of SAS with production focus as the whole-plot factor, and marketing group as the splitplot factor. Pearson correlation coefficients between fresh and cured ham traits were computed. There were no differences (P ≥ 0.15) in instrumental color or ultimate pH (P ≥ 0.14) among fresh ham muscles from any marketing group. The only exception was the semimembranosus of marketing group 2 was lighter than marketing group 1 (P = 0.03) and the dark portion of the semitendinosus muscle from group 1 was lighter than from group 3 (P = 0.01). There were no differences (P ≥ 0.33) in ultimate pH of fresh ham muscles between production focuses, but several muscles from quality focus pigs were lighter in color than ham muscles from lean focus pigs. The lack of differences in fresh ham quality lead to few differences in cured ham quality. Cured hams from the quality focus pigs had greater lipid content (P < 0.01) than hams from lean focus pigs. Cured lightness values of hams from marketing group 1 and 2 were 1.52 units lighter than hams from marketing group 3 (P ≤ 0.01). Overall, marketing group did not impact ham quality. Fresh ham quality was not strongly related to cured ham quality. Some correlations were present between fresh and cured ham traits, but those relationships were likely not strong enough to be used as a sorting tool for fresh hams to generate high quality cured hams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5144-5154
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Ham
  • Marketing group
  • Pork quality
  • Split-plot
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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