Developmental comparisons of boars and barrows: I. Growth rate, carcass and muscle characteristics.

B. K. Knudson, M. G. Hogberg, R. A. Merkel, R. E. Allen, W. T. Magee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Scopus citations


    The rate of gain, carcass measurements and three muscles were evaluated in 65 crossbred boars representing 13 litters that were allotted at 4 wk of age to slaughter weight and treatment groups as follows: 1) 105 kg, castrated; 2) 105 kg, intact; 3) 118 kg, intact; 4) 132 kg, intact and 5) 145 kg, intact. One barrow and four boars within a litter constituted a replicate and each replicate was penned separately. The growth rate of all boars to 105 kg constituted one group and was compared with the growth rate of barrows to 105 kg live body weight. Average daily gain from 4 wk until 105 kg did not differ significantly between boars and barrows. Growth rate of the boars continued at an increasing rate until they reached 87.3 kg live weight, while maximum daily gain of barrows occurred at 76.3 kg live weight or 11 kg less than that of boars. At 105 kg, boars had 31.3% less 10th rib backfat thickness and 2.9% greater carcass length than barrows, but longissimus muscle area did not differ. Barrows had greater backfat thickness at 105 kg than 145-kg boars. As live weight increased from 105 to 145 kg, carcass length, 10th rib backfat thickness and longissimus area of boars increased (P less than .01) linearly. Fat-free muscle weights of the brachialis (BR), semitendinosus (ST) and longissimus (L) did not differ between boars and barrows at 105 kg. Boars at 105 kg had 1.3 and 1.7% more moisture in the BR and ST, respectively, than barrows. Percentage protein, total intramuscular fat and fiber diameter in the BR, ST and L muscles did not differ between boars and barrows at 105 kg or with increasing live weight in boars. Total RNA increased linearly (P less than .05) in the BR and ST as boars increased in live weight from 105 to 145 kg.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)789-796
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of animal science
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 1985

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Genetics


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