Effects of Sex and Market Weight on Performance, Carcass haracteristics and Pork Quality of Market Hogs

  • Piao, J.R. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University) ;
  • Tian, J.Z. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, B.G. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University) ;
  • Choi, Y.I. (Dept. of Anim. Sci. Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Kim, Y.Y. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University) ;
  • Han, In K. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2004.02.11
  • Accepted : 2004.06.20
  • Published : 2004.10.01


An experiment was conducted to examine the effects of sex and market weight on performance, carcass characteristics and pork quality. A total of 224 crossbred pigs (initially 26.64 kg BW) were allotted in a $2{\times}4$ factorial arrangement in a randomized complete block (RCB) design. The variables were sex (gilts and barrows) and different market weights (100, 110, 120 and 130 kg). Average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) were significantly higher (p<0.01) in barrows than gilts, ADFI and feed conversion ratio (FCR) increased as body weight increased (p<0.05). Gender differences were observed in carcass characteristics. Backfat thickness and drip loss were greater in barrows (p<0.01), while loin eye area (p<0.01), flavor score (p<0.05) and lean content (p<0.001) were higher in gilts. Carcass grade and water holding capacity were the highest in 110 kg market weight pigs. The 100 kg arket weight pigs showed lower juiciness, tenderness, shear forces and total palatability than the other market weights (p<0.01). Hunter values (L*, a* and b*) were increased as market weight increased (p<0.05). Hunter a* value was greater in gilts (p<0.01) but L* value and b* value were not affected by sex of pigs. Net profit [(carcass weight${\times}$price by carcass grade)-(total feed cost+cost of purchased pig)] was higher in gilts than barrows (p<0.01), and was higher (p<0.05) in the pigs marketed at 110 and 120 kg market weight compared with 100 kg market weight. These results demonstrated that gilts showed higher carcass characteristics, pork quality, feed cost per kg body weight gain and net profit compared with barrows. Moreover, 110 or 120 kg body weight would be the recommended market weight based on pork quality and net profit for swine producers.


  1. AOAC. 1995. Official Methods of Analysis (16th ed). Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Washington, DC.
  2. Beattie, V. E., R. N. Wehtherup, B. W. Moss and N. Walker. 1999. The effect of increasing carcass weight of finishing boars and gilts on joint composition and meat quality. Meat Sci. 52:205-211.
  3. Braude, R., M. J. Townsend and G. Harrington. 1963. A comparison of litternate pigs slaughtered at 200 and 260 lb. J. Agric. Sci. 61:209.
  4. Candek-Potokar, M., B. Zlender, L. Lefaucheur and M. Bonneau. 1998. Effects of age and/or weight at slaughter on longissimus dorsi muscle: Biochemical traits and sensory quality in pigs. Meat Sci. 48:287-300.
  5. Choi S. C., B. J. Chae and In K. Han. 2001. Impacts of dietary vitamins and trace minerals on growth and pork quality in finishing pigs. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 14:1444-1449.
  6. Choi, Y. I., Y. T. Kim, C. L. Lee and I. K. Han. 2000. Carcass and pork quality characteristics by sex and marketing day. J. Anim. Sci. Technol. (Kor.) 42:933-940.
  7. Christensen, K. 1975. In vitro studies on the synthesis of intramuscular fat in the longissimus dorsi muscle of pigs. Livest. Prod. Sci. 2:59-68.
  8. Christian, L. L., K. L. Strock and J. P. Carlson. 1980. Effects of protein, breed cross, sex and slaughter weight on swine performance and carcass traits. J. Anim. Sci. 51:51-58.
  9. Cisneros, F., M. Ellis, J. McCaw, F. K. McKeith and Y. Hyun. 1994. Influence of slaughter weight on carcass cutting yields and meat quality in pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 72 (Suppl. 1):378 (Abstr.).
  10. DeSmet, S. M., H. Pauwels, S. DeBie, D. I. Demeyer, J. Callewier and W. Eeckhout. 1996. Effect of halothane genotype, breed, feed withdrawal, and lairage on pork quality of Belgian slaughter pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 74:1854-1863.
  11. DeVol, D. L., F. K. McKeith, P. J. Bechtel, J. Novakofski, R. D. Shanks and T. R. Carr. 1988. Variation in composition and palatablilty traits and relationships between muscle characteristics and palatablility in a random sample of pork carcasses. J. Anim. Sci. 66:385-395.
  12. Ellis, M., A. J. Webb, P. Avery, R. Smithard and I. Brown. 1990. Sex and feeding level effects on the eating quality of fresh pork. Anim. Prod. 50:551-560.
  13. Ellis, M., A. J. Webb, P. J. Avery and I. Brown. 1996. The influence of terminal sire genotype, sex, slaughter weight, feeding regime and slaughter-house on growth performance and carcass and meat quality in pigs and on the organoleptic properties of fresh pork. Anim. Sci. 62:521-530.
  14. Garcia-Macias, J. A., M. Gispert, M. A. Oliver, A. Diestre, P. Alonso, A. Munoz-Luna, K. Siggens and D. Cuthbert-Heavens. 1996. The effects of cross, slaughter weight and halothane genotype on leanness and meat and fat quality in pig carcasses. Anim. Sci. 63:487-496.
  15. Gueblez, R., P. Sellier, X. Fernandez and J. P. Runavot. 1993. Comparaison des caracteristiques physico-chimiques et technologiques des tissus maigre et gras de trois races porcines francaises (Large White, Landrace Francais et Pietrain) 1. Caracteristiques du tissu maigre. J. Rech. Porcine Fr. 25:5 (recited from Larzul, C., L. Lefaucheur, P. Ecolan, J. Gogue, A. Talmant, P. Sellier, P. Le Roy and G. Monin. 1997. Phenotypic and genetic parameters for longissimus muscle fiber characteristics in relation to growth, carcass, and meat quality traits in Large White pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 75:3126-3137.).
  16. Jeremiah, L. E. and G. M. Weiss. 1984. The effects of slaughter weight and sex on the cooking losses from and palatability of pork loin chops. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 64:39-43.
  17. Jiang, X. P., G. Q. Liu, Y. Z. Xiong, J. T. Ding, K. Z. Xie, J. Q. Zhang and B. Zuo. 2003. Phenotypic and genetic parameters for inosine acid in relation to carcass and meat qulity traits in pigs. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 16:257-260.
  18. Kanis, E., G. J. Nieuwhof, K. H. de Greef, W. van der Hel, M. W. A. Verstegen, J. Huisman and P. van der Wal. 1990. Effect of recombinant procine somatotropin on growth and carcass quality in growing pigs: Interactions with genotype, gender and slaughter. J. Anim. Sci. 68:1193-1200.
  19. Larzul, C., L. Lefaucheur, P. Ecolan, J. Gogue, A. Talmant, P. Sellier, P. Le Roy and G. Monin. 1997. Phenotypic and genetic parameters for longissimus muscle fiber characteristics in relation to growth, carcass and meat quality traits in Large White pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 75:3126-3137.
  20. Martin, A. H., A. P. Sather, H. T. Fredeen and R. W. Jolly. 1980. Alternative market weights for swine. II. Carcass composition and meat quality. J. Anim. Sci. 50:699-705.
  21. Miller, W. M. and D. L. Harrison. 1965. Effect of marination in sodium hexametaphosphate solution on the palatability of loin steaks. Food Technol. 19:94-96.
  22. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. 2001. Detailed Standard for Animal Products Grading. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry MAF bulletin 2001-38. Seoul. Korea.
  23. Neely, J. D., R. K. Johnson and L. E. Walters. 1979. Efficiency of gains and carcass characteristics of swine of two degrees of fatness slaughtered at three weights. J. Anim. Sci. 48:1049-1056.
  24. NPPC. 1991. Procedures to evaluate market hogs (3rd Ed.). National Pork Procedures Council, Des Moines, IA.
  25. Rhim, T. J., K. Y. Chung and C. J. Kim. 1995. Composition and traits of carcass and tenderness of pork from barrows of different chronological ages. Korean J. Food Sci. Anim. Res. 15:117-121.
  26. SAS. 1985. SAS User's Guide: Statistics, SAS Inst, Inc., Cary, NC.
  27. Shuler, R. O., T. D. Pate, R. W. Mandigo and L. E. Lucas. 1970. Influence of confinement, floor structure and slaughter weight on pork carcass characteristics. J. Anim. Sci. 31:31-35.
  28. Skitsko, P. J. and J. P. Bowland. 1970. Performnce of gilts and barrows from three breeding groups marketed at three live weights when offered diets containing two levels of digestible energy for a limited period per day. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 50:161-166.
  29. Sutton, D. S., M. Ellis, Y. Lan, F. K. McKeith and E. R. Wilson. 1997. Influence of slaughter weight and stress gene genotype on the water-holding capacity and protein gel characteristics of three porcine muscles. Meat Sci. 46:173-180.
  30. Unruh, J. A., K. G. Friesen, S. R. Stuewe, B. L. Dunn, J. L. Nelssen, R. D. Goodband and M. D. Tokach. 1996. The influence of genotype, sex and dietary lysine on pork subprimal cut yields and carcass quality of pigs fed to either 104 or 127 kilograms. J. Anim. Sci. 74:1274-1283.
  31. Uttaro, B. E., R. O. Ball, P. Dick, W. Rae, G. Vessie and L. E. Jeremiah. 1993. Effects of ractopamine and sex on growth, carcass characteristics, processing yield, and meat quality characteristics of crossbred swine. J. Anim. Sci. 71:2439-2449.
  32. Warkup, C. C., A. W. Dilworth, A. J. Kempster and J. D. Wood. 1990. The effects of sire type, company source, feeding regimen and sex on eating quality of pig meat. Anim. Prod. 50:550-551.

Cited by

  1. Factors Affecting the Eating Quality of Pork vol.48, pp.7, 2008,
  2. Feasibility of Increasing the Slaughter Weight of Finishing Pigs vol.53, pp.3, 2011,
  3. Effects of growth rate on carcass and meat quality traits and their association with metabolism-related gene expression in finishing pigs vol.83, pp.2, 2011,
  4. The effects of sex and slaughter weight on growth performance and carcass traits of pigs intended for dry-cured ham from Teruel (Spain)1 vol.86, pp.8, 2008,
  5. Meta-analysis of effects of gender in combination with carcass weight and breed on pork quality1 vol.91, pp.3, 2013,
  6. muscle metabolic characteristics, and pork sensory quality in pigs of two sexes vol.98, pp.2, 2018,
  7. Live weights at slaughter significantly affect the meat quality and flavor components of pork meat pp.13443941, 2019,