Evaluation of alternative fabrication specifications to increase gross value of pork carcasses

Erin E. Bryan, Martin F. Overholt, Gap Don Kim, Anna C. Dilger, Dustin D. Boler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modifying fabrication specifications of domestic pork carcasses to reflect product specifications in key export markets may increase gross value for U.S. pork. Changes in specifications may also yield value-added cuts that increase demand for U.S. pork in both export and domestic markets. The objective was to evaluate differences in value of carcasses fabricated using either typical U.S. cutting specifications, or alternative specifications. Paired left and right sides (30 sides total; n = 15) were weighed and cut into primal and subprimal pieces according North American Meat Institute (NAMP, DOM) or alternative-style specifications (ALT). Alternative-style carcasses were separated into shoulder (4th/5th rib separation), loin, belly, and ham (sirloin-on) primals. Alternative-style shoulders were fabricated into a cellar-trimmed (CT) butt, triceps brachii (cushion), boneless picnic, and a brisket. Carcass values for all three pricing scenarios were calculated using the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Carlot Report values from the weeks of April 5, 2013, to April 7, 2017. Value for the pork brisket was estimated based on relative value of the beef brisket compared to the beef shoulder clod (NAMP #114) resulting in a value of $2.485/kg for the pork brisket. Comparisons between fabrication styles and value of each side were made using a paired T-test. Whole bone-in loin yields of ALT carcasses were 6.23 units less (P < 0.0001) than DOM carcasses. Similarly, yields from trimmed and squared bellies of ALT carcasses were 0.83 units less than (P ≤ 0.01) DOM carcasses. In contrast, trimmed shoulders of ALT carcasses were 3.81 units greater (P < 0.0001) and hams were 3.39 units greater (P < 0.0001) than DOM carcasses. Despite reductions in yield of loins and bellies, ALT carcasses were numerically $1.29 (P = 0.17) and $0.66 (P = 0.56) more valuable than DOM carcasses in the 4 yr average and best pricing scenarios, respectively. Alternativestyle carcasses were $1.99 (P = 0.03) more valuable than DOM carcass when using the most depressed pricing scenario. Fabricating pork carcasses using alternative-style specifications reduced the yield, and therefore the value, of the loin and belly compared with DOM carcasses. However, added value from the pork brisket and CT butt recuperated this value. Therefore, alternative-style fabrication methods may increase gross carcass value in some pricing scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Carcass
  • Cutability
  • Export
  • Fabrication
  • Gross value
  • Pork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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