Next Article in Journal
Influence of Days in Milk and Parity on Milk and Blood Fatty Acid Concentrations, Blood Metabolites and Hormones in Early Lactation Holstein Cows
Next Article in Special Issue
Comparative Assessment of Thermotolerance in Dorper and Second-Cross (Poll Dorset/Merino × Border Leicester) Lambs
Previous Article in Journal
Comparison of the Effects of Nonprotein and Protein Nitrogen on Apoptosis and Autophagy of Rumen Epithelial Cells in Goats
Previous Article in Special Issue
Use of Different Cooling Methods in Pig Facilities to Alleviate the Effects of Heat Stress—A Review
Article

The Greater Proportion of Born-Light Progeny from Sows Mated in Summer Contributes to Increased Carcass Fatness Observed in Spring

1
Rivalea Australia Pty Ltd., Corowa, NSW 2646, Australia
2
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
3
Faculty of Biological Sciences, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
4
Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Australian Pork Limited, Barton, ACT 2600, Australia.
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112080
Received: 29 October 2020 / Revised: 5 November 2020 / Accepted: 7 November 2020 / Published: 10 November 2020
Pig producers are required to supply consistent lean carcasses to the market. However, the pig production cycle contains seasonal variation in carcass fatness, such that pigs finished in spring have a greater carcass backfat thickness than those finished in summer. Our experiment showed that when sows were mated in summer they had an increased incidence of born-light progeny (≤1.1 kg), which when finished in spring, had increased fatness. This finding provides a novel explanation for the seasonal variation of carcass fatness and sets a research direction for future mitigation strategies.
The backfat of pig carcasses is greater in spring than summer in Australia. The unexplained seasonal variation in carcass backfat creates complications for pig producers in supplying consistent lean carcasses. As a novel explanation, we hypothesised that the increased carcass fatness in spring was due to a greater percentage of born-light progeny from sows that were mated in summer and experienced hot conditions during early gestation. The first part of our experiment compared the birth weight of piglets born to the sows mated in summer (February, the Southern Hemisphere) with those born to sows mated in autumn (May; the Southern Hemisphere), and the second part of the experiment compared the growth performance and carcass fatness of the progeny that were stratified as born-light (0.7–1.1 kg) and born-normal (1.3–1.7 kg) from the sows mated in these two seasons. The results showed that the sows mated in summer experienced hotter conditions during early gestation as evidenced by an increased respiration rate and rectal temperature, compared with those mated in autumn. The sows mated in summer had a greater proportion of piglets that were born ≤1.1 kg (24.2% vs. 15.8%, p < 0.001), lower average piglet birth weight (1.39 kg vs. 1.52 kg, p < 0.001), lower total litter weights (18.9 kg vs. 19.5 kg, p = 0.044) and lower average placental weight (0.26 vs. 0.31 kg, p = 0.011) than those mated in autumn, although litter sizes were similar. Feed intake and growth rate of progeny from 14 weeks of age to slaughter (101 kg live weight) were greater for the born-normal than born-light pigs within the progeny from sows mated in autumn, but there was no difference between the born-light and normal progeny from sows mated in summer, as evidenced by the interaction between piglet birth weight and sow mating season (Both p < 0.05). Only the born-light piglets from the sows mated in summer had a greater backfat thickness and loin fat% than the progeny from the sows mated in autumn, as evidenced by a trend of interaction between piglet birth weight and sow mating season (Both p < 0.10). In conclusion, the increased proportion of born-light piglets (0.7–1.1 kg range) from the sows mated in summer contributed to the increased carcass fatness observed in spring. View Full-Text
Keywords: gestation; summer; sow; birth weight; fatness; in utero; fetal development; pig gestation; summer; sow; birth weight; fatness; in utero; fetal development; pig
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, F.; Ford, E.M.; Morrison, R.S.; Brewster, C.J.; Henman, D.J.; Smits, R.J.; Zhao, W.; Cottrell, J.J.; Leury, B.J.; Dunshea, F.R.; Bell, A.W. The Greater Proportion of Born-Light Progeny from Sows Mated in Summer Contributes to Increased Carcass Fatness Observed in Spring. Animals 2020, 10, 2080. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112080

AMA Style

Liu F, Ford EM, Morrison RS, Brewster CJ, Henman DJ, Smits RJ, Zhao W, Cottrell JJ, Leury BJ, Dunshea FR, Bell AW. The Greater Proportion of Born-Light Progeny from Sows Mated in Summer Contributes to Increased Carcass Fatness Observed in Spring. Animals. 2020; 10(11):2080. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112080

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liu, Fan, Erin M. Ford, Rebecca S. Morrison, Chris J. Brewster, David J. Henman, Robert J. Smits, Weicheng Zhao, Jeremy J. Cottrell, Brian J. Leury, Frank R. Dunshea, and Alan W. Bell. 2020. "The Greater Proportion of Born-Light Progeny from Sows Mated in Summer Contributes to Increased Carcass Fatness Observed in Spring" Animals 10, no. 11: 2080. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112080

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop