Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, October 15, 1994, Image 155

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    Livestock Notes
Pork Exports Continue To
William R. Henning
Assoc. Prof. Animal Sciences
Penn State
Russia and the United States
successfully resolved outstanding
issues regarding U.S. pork exports
to Russia during a recent visit by
an contingent of Russian veterina
rians. The Russians agreed to a
USDA request to recognize the
freezing of pork as inactivating
any trichina larva in the meat
They currently require random
pooled sampling to be done to
demonstrate a safe product.
The Japanese market also con
tinues to increase and has brought
about unprecedented changes in
the pricing structure of pork. Most
of the pork exported to Japan is
loin meat at about $1.25 more
than twice the price of hams on a
wholesale basis. Some think the
Japanese, who are very particular
about quality, have skimmed the
highest quality pork loins from the
market, leaving a poorer quality
and more variable product to be
sold domestically at retail. While
there is no data to support this, a
walk-through of retail stores con
firms the presence of a tremend
ous amount of variability in pork
Although exports are good for
producers, we must remember that
we need to assure the availability
of high quality-pork for our own
Zero Tolerance Yields Zero
William R. Henning
Assoc. Prof. Animal Sciences
Penn State
Data collected by the American
Meat Institute indicates that the
USDA initiative, Zoo Tolerance,
designed to improve the safety of
meat is not working. Implemented
in response to the deaths caused
by E. coli 0157:H7, this Food
Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
has apparently failed at providing
safer product for consumers.
Under the Zero Tolerance prog
ram, the FSIS inspectors frantical
ly look for any speck of visible
contamination ancC if anything is
found, slow or stop the production
line until carcasses are trimmed to
their satisfaction.
Based on results of a survey of
IS major beef packing plants.
American Meat Institute (AMI)
President Patrick Boyle maintains
that microbiological contamina
tion has not been reduced under
the Zero Tolerance program. In
some cases, the program actually
increased bacterial counts due to
more handling and the increased
time it took meats to reach the
cooler. Additionally, attempts at
carrying out Zero Tolerance has
cost the beef industry an estimated
$250 million in the past year
alone. Some plants estimate that
labor costs have increased by 25
One of the problems with zero
tolerance is inconsistenty in its
enforcement and, in some cases,
blatant inspector retaliation
against plants. AMI has asked
U.S. senators to encourage USDA
to develop a scientific approach to
enforcing zero tolerance and to
allow the industry to use carcass
washes as an alternative to hand
trimming. We can only hope that,
with the help of the senate and
pressure from the scientific com
munity, FSIS will look at the
inspection program on a scientific
basis rather than on a cosmetic
basis that merely makes them
selves lode good.
Beef Processors Still
Trimming Fat
William R. Henning
Assoc. Prof. Animal Sciences
Penn State
In a recent survey, the Ameri
can Meat Institute found that the
production of close-trim boxed
beef by major packers ran at near
ly one-third of their total boxed
beef production during the first
quarter of this year. While these
packers report an increased
demand for close-trimmed pro
duct, its higher initial price still
remains a problem for some cus
tomers. However, a smaller mark
et in the last few weeks has made
it easier to sell this type of pro
duct, and once retailers conduct
cutting tests they will leam for
themselves the merits of buying
close-trimmed beef.
Several major supermarket
chains have converted completely
to the close-trimmed product,
while others are still evaluating it
As more packers choose a close
trimmed product there will be
more pressure from die buying
side for leaner catde.
Treadmill Exercise For
Keith A. Bryan
Instructor Dairy & Animal
Science Penn Slate
More and more people today
are breaking their sedentary habits
and becoming more physically
active. Why? Because exercise is
good for youl Physical activity
bums calories, increases cardio
vascular endurance, increases lean
body mass, and decreases body
fat The same holds true for the
meat animals we produce. As
sheep producers, we should have
one common goal to raise and
market lambs that have a high per
centage of lean body mass and a
low percentage of fat.
Does exercising wethers, parti
cularly lambs destined for market
lamb shows, help us to attain this
goal? Most of us would answer.
Yes! Is exercise a currently
accepted practice for
commercially-produced slaughter
lambs? No. The benefits are out
weighed considerably for the
drawbacks, namely cost. But what
are the effects of exercise on pro
duction traits, specifically, carcass
In general, lambs that have been
subjected to forced exercise are
slightly leaner and slightly heavier
muscled than those not forced to
exercise. But what about factors
that influence carcass quality and,
ultimately, palatability?
It is estimated that dark-cutting
meat costs the beef industry
approximately $132 million annu
ally. The primary cause of dark
cutting meat is pre-slaughter
depletion of muscle glycogen,
such as that which occurs when
sheep are chased to exhaustion.
Glycogen is a polymerized form
of glucose, some of which is
stored in muscle cells (the rest is
stored primarily in liver cells). It is
a significant source of energy for
working muscles in sheep. During
prolonged exercise, sufficient gly
cogen is mobilized from the work
ing muscles-to deplete the muscle
glycogen supply, forcing energy
to be derived from other sources.
In an attempt to replicate the
“dark-cutting” condition in lambs,
researchers at Kansas State Uni
versity subjected Suffolk wethers
to forced exercise on a treadmill at
one of three speeds. After a train
ing period, lambs were exercised
on a treadmill at 3.5, 4.5, or 5.5
miles per hour on a nine-degree
incline for 10 minutes, then at 2.5
miles per hour for 10 minutes on
no incline. After the 10-minute
walk, lambs were immediately
transported about .75 mile and
slaughtered. Previous research
showed that lambs exercised on a
treadmill at 4.5 miles per hour on
a nine-degree incline reached
exhaustion, on average, at eight
Physiological changes resulting
from treadmill exercise included
increased heart rate and increased
concentrations of cortisol, ACTH,
glucose, and lactate. Following
slaughter, however, there was no
difference due to treadmill exer
cise on muscle pH, muscle glyco
gen content, or muscle color com
pared with controls. Therefore,
treadmill speeds and duration of
exercise used in this study were
not sufficient to result in dark
cutting carcasses. Previous
research with sheep indicated that
there may need to be couple emo
tional stress (e.g., fright from
being chased by a dog) with pro
longed exercise in order to yield
dark-cutting carcasses. Thus,
steeper incline, greater speed, or
longer duration, and (or) an emo
tional stressor may be needed to
yield dark-cutting lamb carcasses.
In any event, too much exercise
for lambs can have long-lasting
detrimental effects on carcass
Effect Of Feed Withdrawal
On Carcass And Gut Weight
Kenneth B. Kephart
Assoc. Prof. Animal Science
Penn State
Nearly all of the pigs currently
purchased by Hatfield Quality
Meats are bought on a carcass
weight basis. Only part of the feed
consumed by the pig during the
last 24 hours before slaughter is
reflected in the carcass weight,
with some undigested feed
remaining in the gut Economical
ly, it may be advantageous for the
producer to allow the hogs to emp
ty the feeders for a period of time
before marketing. Potentially,
feed cost during the last 24 hours
would be reduced, with no change
in carcass value. Further, the gut
weight should be less, making the
slaughter process easier and less
risky in terms of nicking a gut and
contaminating the carcass with
A series of studies was recently
initiated with the following
■ Determine if gut fill can be
consistently reduced by withhold
ing feed for a period of time prior
to slaughter.
■ Determine the optimum
withholding period that would
. result in a maximal carcass weight
and a minimal gut weight.
In our first study, 80 pigs were
weighed, tagged and tattooed, and
divided into four pens three weeks
before marketing. The pigs were
weighed again the day before
marketing, and two pens were ran
domly selected as full-fed pens;
the other two served as fasted
pens. Pigs in the full-fed pens had
access to feed until they were
loaded on the truck. Pigs 4 in the
fasted pens had access to feed
until 14 hours before they were
loaded on the truck. Both groups
were transported for five hours
and given a one-hour rest at the
packing plant before slaughter.
Total fasting time was six hours
for the full-fed group and 20 hours
for the fasted group. Feed intake
was recorded for the last 24 hours
before marketing.
Please see table below.
Under the conditions of this
study, the fasted pigs suffered no
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, October 15, 1994-07
carcass weight loss. The savings
in feed cost under current market
prices represented over 300 per
pig. The change in gut weight,
while statistically significant, was
small in real terms.
Future studies will be needed
with both shorter and longer fast
ing times. In addition, this experi
ment included all pigs in a pen.
Under commercial conditions,
pigs do not reach market weight
on the same day. so pigs leave the
pen over a period of days or
weeks. Pigs that are not marketed
would be subjected to intermittent
fasting during the last days before
marketing. Whether these pigs
would experience any change in
performance is unknown.
Effect of fasting on carcass weight
and gut fill in market hogs Trial 1
Number of Hogs
Pre-slaughter fast time,
Transit home, hr
Transit distance, mi
Feed intake, Ib/pig 1
Live wt, lb*
Hot carcass wt, lb
Gut wt, lb*
Fat, in 4
Loin muscle depth, mm 4
Lean cuts, % 4 58.6
Twenty-four hour period prior to shipment
Twenty-four hours prior to shipment.
’Excluding heart, liver, lungs, diaphragm.
'Measured or predicted by the Fat-O-Meafer.
Electronic ID For
Sow Feeding And
Heat Detection
Keith A. Bryan
Instructor Dairy and
Animal Science Penn State
Electronic animal identification
has been widely publicized in the
past few years, including the use
of sow-feeding stations for group
housed females. Most of these stu
dies have been conducted in mod
em confinement swine facilities
and, to a much lesser extent, in
non-confinement facilities. A
recent investigation at Kansas
State University evaluated the
feasibility of using a Porcode®
electronic sow-feeding station for
feeding and estrus detection of
sows and gilts housed in outside
Thirty days after mating, gilts
were assigned to one of two out
side lots where they were fed
either once a day manually with a
feed scoop or were fitted with a
neck collar for use with an elec
tronic feeding station. Gilts
received 4.2 S pounds of feed
In the second study, sows and
gilts were used to determine the
efficacy of using a modified elec
tronic feeding station to determine
the onset of standing heat. The
feeding station was located next to
a pen that housed a mature boar.
When a sow or gilt with a trans
ponder collar visited the area near
the boar, no feed was delivered,
but the time spent in the general
vicinity was recorded.
Collar loss was the only limita
tion noted in the study. This was
more prevalent for gilts than for
sows, and most apparent during
the first two weeks of the experi
ment. One consideration was
weight loss of gilts during the
adaptation period. However, both
electronically and manually fed
gilts had the same weight and
backfat thickness after the training
period and immediately prior to
farrowing. There was no differ
ence due to type of feed-delivery
system on number of gilts farrow
ing, number of pigs farrowed, lit
ter weight at birth, or number of
pigs born alive. Therefore, elec-
Ironic feeding stations can be used
effectively for feeding gestating
gilts in outside lots after day 30 of
In the second study, there was
considerable variation in duration
of boar visitation among sows.
However, there was a strong rela
tionship between boar visitation
and standing heat Sows and gilts
were predicted to be in standing
heat when boar visitation
exceeded 4.4 and 9.3 minutes per
day respectively. Based on these
limits, 28 out of 29 sows (96.6
percent) visited the boar for more
than 4.4 minutes on the first day of
estrus, and 11 out of 14 gilts (78.6
percent) visited the boar for more
Full-fed Fasted Significance
40 40
than 9.3 minutes on the first day of
estrus. There was more variability
among gilts compared with sows
for duration of visitation.
Therefore, electronic animal
identification of sows and gilts for
feeding estrus detection is feasible
in outside lots. This technology
may permit increased use of artifi
cial insemination of replacement
gilts. Furthermore, use of this
technology may permit selection
of replacement gilts based on age
at puberty. Additional refinement
of this technology may yield man
agement strategies that are cur
rently unavailable in modern
swine production systems, parti
cularly in non-confinement
Ride Set
CREAMERY (Montgomery
Co.) The Montgomery County
4-H Teen Council is sponsoring a
haunted hay ride on Friday and
Saturday, Oct. 28-29, from 7:30
p.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 30,
from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at the 4-H Cen
ter in Creamery. The rides are ap
proximately 20 minutes in dura
tion. Cost is $4 per person with
group rates available.
For youth of all ages, there will
be face painting, apple bobbing,
and hot chocolate for sale. You
can have your picture taken with
your favorite barnyard baby. You
can also try to win the Great
Pumpkin by guessing its weight
The 4-H Center is located on
Route 113, one mile south of
Route 73, near Skippack. For
more information, contact the 4-H
Office at (610) 489-4315.