Growth and Carcass Characteristics of Pigs Fed Bt and Non-Bt Corn and Harvested at US and European Market Weights

Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 2004. The Bt corn expresses a gene derived from Bacillus thuringiensis that encodes for proteins that kill the European corn borer. It is of interest to investigate whether the Bt gene influences the feed intake and carcass quality of livestock fed Bt corn. In this study, 64 pigs were divided into treatment groups and fed diets containing Bt corn or an isogenic control corn to compare growth performance and carcass characteristics. Carcass characteristic comparisons were made between U.S. (240 lb) and European (185 lb) average market weights by dividing the pigs into different harvest dates. Findings demonstrate that feeding Bt corn to growing-finishing pigs has no detrimental effects on their growth performance or carcass composition. Market weight comparisons suggest that traits desired by consumers are not different between pigs harvested at U.S. and European market weights. Findings suggest that feeding Bt corn to pigs poses no negative effects in their growth performance or carcass characteristics.