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Open AccessArticle

Resource-Efficient Classification and Early Predictions of Carcass Composition in Fattening Pigs by Means of Ultrasound Examinations

1
Institute for Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, D-30173 Hanover, Germany
2
Hoelscher + Leuschner GmbH & Co. KG; D-48488 Emsbueren, Germany
3
Clinic for Swine and Small Ruminants, University Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, D-30173 Hanover, Germany
4
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060222
Received: 13 May 2020 / Revised: 6 June 2020 / Accepted: 7 June 2020 / Published: 10 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
The development of the backfat thickness of fattening pigs in relation to their weight allows first conclusions to be drawn concerning the efficiency of individual growth and classification of the carcass. The hypothesis was that, firstly, via measurement of backfat thickness and muscle diameter, their ratio and the quality of the carcass can be predicted and that, secondly, using resource-efficient and sustainable feeding has no negative effects on the carcass. Over a 70-day period, ultrasound examinations of backfat and musculus longissimus dorsi were performed in a pen with sorting gates and automatic body mass recordings every two weeks on 121 animals of the same age, starting at approximately 50 kg. Data were subdivided into four groups for each measurement time. There was weak (Examination 1: r = −0.28164; p = 0.0018) but steadily increasing correlation (Examination 5: r = −0.60657; p ≤ 0.0001) between the backfat/muscle ratio and the carcass quality. In all four groups, significant differences in the diameter of the M. longissimus dorsi (“light fat (LF) = 3.29 cm; “light lean (LL)” = 3.62 cm; “heavy fat (HF)” = 3.69 cm; “heavy lean (HL)” = 3.93 cm) and in backfat thickness (LF = 0.44 cm; LL = 0.38 cm; HF= 0.47 cm; HL= 0.39 cm) could be shown during the first examination. View Full-Text
Keywords: fattening pigs; livestock; carcass quality; backfat thickness; resource efficiency fattening pigs; livestock; carcass quality; backfat thickness; resource efficiency
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Reckels, B.; Hölscher, R.; Schwennen, C.; Lengling, A.; Stegemann, U.; Waldmann, K.-H.; Visscher, C. Resource-Efficient Classification and Early Predictions of Carcass Composition in Fattening Pigs by Means of Ultrasound Examinations. Agriculture 2020, 10, 222.

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