Evaluation of the Effects of Dietary Fat, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and Ractopamine on Growth Performance and Carcass Quality inGenetically Lean Gilts

Purdue University 2002 Swine Research Report. The pork industry is constantly seeking economical methods which will increase production efficiency and carcass quality. Three nutritional management tools at pork producers disposal that have been demonstrated to improve growth performance and carcass characteristics are: 1) adding rendered animal fats to diets; 2) adding the recently approved feed additive ractopamine to finishing diets; and 3) adding conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to diets. Adding animal fats to diets has long been known to enhance the feed efficiency of finishing swine (Seerly et al., 1978; Stahly et al., 1979). Supplementing swine diets with CLA has been shown to improve feed efficiency and enhance carcass quality by increasing lean percentage and belly firmness (Dugan et al., 1997; Schinckel et al., 2000). Ractopamine, when added to finishing swine diets, increases growth performance, carcass lean, and carcass yield (Herr et al., 2000). However, limited research has been conducted as to the interactions and combined effects of dietary fat, CLA, and ractopamine. Furthermore, the goal of this experiment was to determine the individual and combined effects of dietary fat, CLA, and ractopamine on the growth performance and carcass quality of a genetically lean population of gilts.