In the past swine genetics was focused primarily on feed efficiency, but at World Pork Expo one Indiana based breeding stock company has changed their focus. Clyde Shaffer with Shaffer Genetics in Albany, Indiana says changes in consumer preferences has brought about changes in swine genetics.
“With the way the country wants to buy meat they are more worried about meat quality, marbling, the ph levels, the inter muscular fat, so in the last four years, on our Duroc lines we’ve been scanning for IMF, inner muscular fat, so we can select pigs that still have good growth, good feed efficiency, but increased meat quality,” he explained.
Shaffer says in addition to meeting the needs of consumers, they must also meet the needs of their clients, which are smaller, independent farmers, but Shaffer Genetics is also doing business internationally and Clyde says genetic requirements in foreign countries don’t always match those in the U.S.
“Depends on the country, Japan, yes, very similar, South Korea meat quality is a top priority, but when you get to Thailand, Vietnam, the other Asian countries, China, which we are focused in, they are still a little behind us in what they want, they are still looking for volume of product, not that they don’t like good pork chops like American’s do, but at this point their goal is production focused, they need to raise enough pigs to feed their people.”