Next Article in Journal
Is There a Need for a More Expansive Use of Ethics and Values in Reflecting on the Use of Animals in Scientific Research?
Next Article in Special Issue
Effects of Transport at Weaning on the Behavior, Physiology and Performance of Pigs
Previous Article in Journal
Leptospira spp. in Domestic Cats from Different Environments: Prevalence of Antibodies and Risk Factors Associated with the Seropositivity
Previous Article in Special Issue
Temperature and Relative Humidity Inside Trailers During Finishing Pig Loading and Transport in Cold and Mild Weather
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Animals 2014, 4(4), 627-642;

Effect of Season, Transport Length, Deck Location, and Lairage Length on Pork Quality and Blood Cortisol Concentrations of Market Hogs

Department of Animal Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108, USA
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainseville, FL 32611, USA
Farmland Foods, Wichita, KS 67213, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 23 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Transport)
Full-Text   |   PDF [5143 KB, uploaded 29 September 2014]   |  

Simple Summary

Transport of hogs is a routine practice in the swine industry. Loading pigs onto the trailer, transporting them to the plant, and having them wait in an unfamiliar pen at the plant prior to slaughter are all stressful to the pigs. Seasonal changes in temperatures can also affect the amount of stress a hog is subjected to during transport to market. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of transportation and lairage conditions on stress, evaluated by measuring serum cortisol concentrations, and the effect on pork quality.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of seasonal environment, transport conditions, and time in lairage on pork quality and serum cortisol concentrations. Market hogs were slaughtered during winter (n = 535), spring (n = 645), summer (n = 644), and fall (n = 488). Within season, hogs were randomly assigned to treatments in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, with 2 deck locations (top vs. bottom) and 2 transport and lairage durations (3 h vs. 6 h). Blood samples were collected at exsanguination for analysis of cortisol concentration. Loins were collected at 24 h postmortem for pork quality assessment. Season and deck did not have a main effect on cortisol concentrations or pork quality. Hogs transported 6 h had increased cortisol concentrations (103.0 vs. 95.5 ng/mL; P < 0.001) and decreased L* (52.49 vs. 52.69; P = 0.09), b* (6.28 vs. 6.36; P = 0.03), and hue angle (20.70 vs. 20.95; P = 0.03) compared to hogs transported 3 h. Hogs subjected to 6 h of lairage had increased 24-h pH (5.69 vs. 5.66; P = 0.005), a* (16.64 vs. 16.48; P < 0.0001), b* (6.42 vs. 6.22; P < 0.0001), saturation (17.85 vs. 17.64; P < 0.0001), and hue angle (21.01 vs. 20.65; P = 0.002) and decreased L* (52.49 vs. 52.69; P = 0.07) when compared to hogs subjected to 3 h of lairage. View Full-Text
Keywords: lairage; pork quality; season; swine; transport; welfare lairage; pork quality; season; swine; transport; welfare

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Newman, D.; Young, J.; Carr, C.; Ryan, M.; Berg, E. Effect of Season, Transport Length, Deck Location, and Lairage Length on Pork Quality and Blood Cortisol Concentrations of Market Hogs. Animals 2014, 4, 627-642.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top