Positive results for feed that can prevent boar taint
A novel solution to prevent boar taint using the right nutrition has yielded positive results in 5 trials. Skatole levels especially appear to drop substantially.
The innovative feed, called ‘Taintstop’, was launched by Belgian animal nutrition company Dumoulin, earlier this year at the trade show Agriflanders. After 5 trials, Werner Reuter, the company’s director of R&D, is even more convinced about the product’s efficacy.
A Danish Duroc boar. This animal was not used in the trials described in the article. Photo: Ronald Hissink
Lowering skatole levels
Each trial has proven to lower the pigs’ skatole levels by feeding this special nutrition feed until 2 to 3 weeks prior to slaughter. Values for androstenone have also been observed to be lower, but these differences are often not significant. In short, the feed stimulates digestion in the large intestine. Seeing that skatole is a by-product of animo acids, less skatole is left behind. Androstenone, on the other hand, also a major component of boar taint, is formed in the testes.
Danish duroc passes on stronger taint hormones
Currently, in total 5 trials have been run including the nutritional solution. One of these trials was carried out using a Danish Duroc terminal sire, traditionally passing on stronger ‘taint hormones’ than a Belgian Piétrain. At the Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), offspring of these Duroc boars were examined. In the group receiving regular feed, the frequency of tainted carcasses was 11%. In the group receiving Taintstop, this was 1%. The trial was carried out with 4 different people who sniffed the meat – a trial that was repeated the following day. Mr Reuter emphasised that at the institute, a sniff test can be done in much more detail than in a slaughterhouse where there is no time pressure or distractions.
Table 1 – Skatole values lowered by novel nutritional approach. Effect of Taintstop on skatole values, in ppb (parts per billion).
Avoiding tainted carcasses
Another trial at ILVO, from which the results have not yet been published, revealed that feeding Taintstop for only 2 weeks prior to slaughter is sufficient enough to avoid the occurrence of tainted carcasses. This is substantial as boar feed is about € 100/tonne more expensive. Piétrians consume on average 2.5kg per day in the last phase of finishing, which comes down to € 3.50 extra per boar. This amount would be even higher with Durocs. Dumoulin has also started offering the product as a basic feed formulation, after which customers can top this up with locally purchased raw material. The company targets customers in Belgium, France and Denmark.
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