The interaction of ractopamine hydrochloride, protein, and gender, on live animal performance, carcass cutability, quality, belly firmness, and fatty acid composition in finishing swine
Shook, Joshua N.
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Two hundred forty crossbred barrows and gilts were used to evaluate the effects of ractopamine, protein level, and gender on performance, carcass composition and meat quality traits. Pens of a given gender were assigned to a 3×2 factorial arrangement with three dietary protein levels and two dietary ractopamine levels. Increased protein, as well as ractopamine improved finishing performance by increasing average daily gain and overall feed efficiency. Adding protein, or ractopamine into the diet, improved overall carcass composition and quality. Ractopamine-fed pigs and as well as gilts had higher iodine values while saturation levels in the belly remained in acceptable ranges for pork processors. No significant interactions between any of the three treatments regarding, performance, carcass composition, quality, or belly traits were found. These data suggest that ractopamine supplementation is an effective means of improving carcass composition without negatively impacting carcass quality, regardless of gender or dietary protein level.