Overview of feed ingredients reducing boar taint
The IPEMA Work group on Nutrition has published a list of feed interventions with boar taint reducing capacity. Many research projects have been carried out to evaluate how boar taint prevalence can be reduced by feeding measures. It can be concluded that feeding strategies may reduce boar taint compounds, especially Skatole. The summary table gives an overview of the main findings.
Click here to read the full report or read more about feeding practices on our topic page.
New research on best practices at different levels of the supply chain
The Animal Health and Welfare unit, from the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, published a report on entire male pig best practices. The study considers practices used in production and across the supply chain in relation to the rearing and slaughter of entire males or pigs vaccinated against boar taint. Below we provide a summary of the best practices that were identified per actor.
The report focuses solely on practices that proved to be successful in commercial conditions, rather than looking at presumed best practices, current trials or future initiatives.
Farm level best practices:
- reducing boar taint in entire males through management measures on the farm;
- management measures to reduce aggressive behavior.
Slaughterhouse best practices:
- monitoring to detect boar taint;
- quantifying and managing positive carcasses;
- obtaining assurance that vaccinated pigs do not contain detectable boar taint;
- dealing with boar tainted meat.
Retail and food service best practices:
- increasing market value of meat from uncastrated pigs;
- promoting meat from entire male pigs and/or vaccinated pigs.
Source: Animal Health and Welfare unit report, Establishing best practices on the production, the processing and the marketing of meat from uncastrated pigs or pigs vaccinated against boar taint (immunocastrated).
Click here for the full report
Feed reduces boar taint
Connecting Agri & Food has supported the development of a new type of feed that helps to reduce boar taint. Vitelia Voeders has developed the feed, in collaboration with VOF Michiels. In 2016, research has already shown the effect of the feed on boar taint and in 2017 the cost-effectiveness of the feed was also examined.
Test with four types of feed
The feed was tested on two farms, with a total of more than 2,200 animals. In the first practical test, four types of feed were examined. The most promising feed to reduce boar taint, which included beet pulp, was then tested in a second test. The results of the animals in the different test groups are compared with each other. In collaboration with VION Food Group, the effect of the feed on boar taint prevalence was evaluated.
A taste test with the meat was also carried out in collaboration with Sensus. From this no distinction in taste emerged as a result of the different feed types.
Decrease in boar taint of 58%
The research showed that the developed feed is better able to reduce boar taint, compared to conventional feed. It turned out to be reduced by 58% through the use of this type of feed. Even on farms with a relatively low boar taint prevalence it had an effect.
Technical and slaughter results were not affected by the change of feed. Nor was there any change in behavior in the pigs observed. The pig farmers indicated that the animals that received the new feed were more quiet than the animals that received the usual feed.
Practically ready food
The developed feed is technically practically ready for use and can be used on farms with possibilities to switch feed. From the perspective of the entire pork chain, the use of the adapted feed is cost-effective. For broad application by pig farmers, they will then have to be compensated for the higher feed price. The research was carried out in collaboration with VOF Michiels, Vitelia Voeders, Sensus and VION Food Group.
Quality of boars, barrows and gilts
Preventive measures like feeding, breeding and housing are effective in reducing boar taint Fleischwirtschaft Inernational 6/2016 By Dr.ir. Gé Backus, project coordinator for the Wageningen UR research on piglet castration and also chairman of the European Expert Group on piglet castration. Quality assurance and quality improvement are important to maintain market share or achieve higher prices. It is expected that the relative importance of quality will only continue to increase in the future. Pork quality may refer to slaughter quality, quality of meat and on hygienic quality. Slaughter quality is about meat percentage, carcass type and ratio of meat/fat and meat/bone. Meat quality is about sensory quality (color, water binding capacity) and eating quality (tenderness, juiciness, taste and smell).
Study: How to lower occurrence of boar taint