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Feeding for carcass value: grading system implications

López-Campos, Ó., Prieto, N., Aalhus, J. L., & Dugan, M. E. 2016. Feeding for carcass value: grading system implications. In Proceedings of the London Swine Conference: A platform for success, April 5th and 6th, 2016, London, Ontario, Canada (pp. 157-166). London Swine Conference.


Over the last several decades, carcass value and returns to producers have mainly been determined by weight and estimated lean yield. A national carcass grading system was in place, but this was removed in favour of individual systems implemented at the packer level. Valued attributes such as meat colour, marbling, fat hardness and fatty acid composition were not part of the grading system. However, considerable efforts have gone into gaining value by producing pork to satisfy market desires for specific colours, marbling levels, firmer fat and healthy fatty acid profiles, while maintaining an overall pleasurable eating experience. With renewed interest in developing a national grading system, it is important to understand what attributes could be included in the grading system and how these can influence carcass value. To assist in these efforts, it’s important to understand how feeding can influence carcass merit and meat quality attributes, and how new and older technologies could be useful for capturing value in an updated national grading system.

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