Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science


The weight at which hogs should be marketed is a controversial issue confronting the swine industry. The producer is prompted by the nutritionist to market hogs at which feed efficiency is most desirable. The producer normally markets at heavier weights as fewer animals are needed to attain the desired net sales. However, not only do lighter hogs produce more gain on less feed, but generally they produce a carcass with less fat and a greater portion of lean. This lighter carcass produces the weight wholesale cuts which sell at a premium price and leaner retail cuts which are more desirable to the consumer. Even with these advantages the processor is still reluctant to purchase light weight hogs. His action is supported by the fact that the slaughtering cost is prorated on a per head basis while sales are on a pound basis. Additionally, lack of quality is one of the primary criticisms of the carcasses from light weight hogs. Quality refers to the amount of marbling (intramuscular fat) as well as the firmness and color of lean meat. The opinion that most pale, soft, watery cuts come from light weight carcasses may be somewhat unjust. Many medium and heavy weight carcasses encountered in the coolers and carcass contests exhibit this same undesirable characteristic. Regardless of the weight of hog possessing these characteristics, lack of quality is a definite problem. It is a problem to the processor who experiences excess weight losses in the processing of a cured product from the soft, watery cuts. The retailer also encounters a problem in attempting to attractively merchandise pale, soft cuts with watery exudation. The consumer prefers firm, light-pink colored cuts, as they possess eye appeal. In considering amount of marbling, the consumer may purchase chops with little marbling simply for leanness, although after consumption a preference for marbling is generally acknowledged. It is evident that quality is an integral part of the swine industry, particularly when the consumer plays such an important role. The proper proportion of quantity and quality of lean and how to achieve it in the live animal is a difficult problem. This experiment was designed to evaluate the influence of animal weight on body composition and carcass quality and the relationships between various quantity and quality estimates and carcass composition. This study is a portion of larger study involving the many economic aspects of marketing different weight hogs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pork industry and trade


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University