IMPROVEST® (gonadotropin releasing factor analog-diphtheria toxoid conjugate) allows producers to take advantage of raising intact male pigs without the down side of boar taint at time of processing. Introduced in the United States in 2011, IMPROVEST has proven to deliver economic and sustainability benefits to producers and has been studied extensively at the farm level. This alternative castration method also offers value to meat packers and processors. Recently, I worked with a team of experts as the lead data analyst to quantify this value and provide greater understanding and a more comprehensive overview of the effects of IMPROVEST immunologically castrated (IC) barrows on carcass cutability and carcass value compared with physically castrated (PC) barrows.
Highlights of the analysis include1:
- Carcass cutting yield was 1.23% greater in IC barrows compared with PC barrows.
- Bone-in lean cutting yield of IC barrows increased 1.39% compared with PC barrows.
- As hot carcass weight (HCW) of IC barrows increased, carcass cutting yield decreased for IC barrows.
- However, when averaged across all HCW groups, IC barrows still exhibited greater carcass and bone-in lean yield than PC barrows.
- Average + 1.5% unit improvement in bacon slicing yield of heavy vs. light IC barrows.
- Based on an economic assessment of values derived from this analysis and five-year average primal prices, the increased primal yields of IC barrows translate into an additional $2.44 per carcass in primal value compared with equal carcass weight PC barrows.
The team also considered the lean yield advantages of IC barrows. Results of a single test showed when comparing PC barrows fed ractopamine with IC barrows not fed ractopamine that IC barrows offer similar cutability to PC barrows fed ractopamine. Although preliminary, these findings suggest IMPROVEST may be uniquely positioned to serve as a potential alternative to ractopamine hydrochloride.
What does this mean for pork producers? IMPROVEST adds more pounds of pork to the supply chain, and there is value to be gained by all industry stakeholders. Farming, processing and sustainability are key areas in which IMPROVEST offers savings and benefits, with proven trials and research to demonstrate savings. This carcass yield and meat quality meta-analysis represents one chapter of a much broader story that shows how IMPROVEST adds extra value in cuts, lean meat yields and more pounds of pork marketed with the same time on feed compared with PC barrows. The challenge is taking advantage of production strategies to meet your business goals.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Pregnant women should not administer IMPROVEST. Women of childbearing age should exercise extreme caution when administering this product. Exercise special care to prevent accidental self-injection because of negative effects on reproductive physiology in both men and women. However, there is no risk associated with consuming pork from animals administered this product. IMPROVEST should not be used in female pigs, barrows, or male pigs intended for breeding. See full Prescribing Information.
1 Data on file, Study Report No. TI-02447, Zoetis Inc.
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