Pork quality discussed at Adisseo Swine Conference


The sixth Adisseo Swine Conference was recently held in Paris. The event gathered almost 60 people from Europe and South America, representing eleven countries. Several issues were discussed, ranging from the quality of grains to the reduction of antibiotics in swine production, interest in enzyme use and the role of methionine supply to improve the quality of pork products.

Alexandre Boy, a grain analyst from Agritel, focused on grains in feed. In Europe, wheat and barley represent a large part in feed, approximately 70%. However, in other parts of the world, corn is the main component and less than 20% is wheat and barley.


He emphasised that the 2016 European wheat crop has been disastrous in both quality and quantity. In France, there was a drop in production by 40% and particularly low specific weights (average of 73kg/hl compared to 77kg/hl during the five last years).

On the other hand, the protein content of this harvest is significantly higher than in past years (12,6% vs. 11,0%). As a consequence, the feed industry had to adapt its strategy, especially regarding feed formulation.

NSP enzymes in pig feed

Pierre Cozannet, Adisseo’s enzymes research manager and swine specialist, reviewed the factors affecting the digestibility of raw materials – technological parameters such as pelleting, physiological aspects such as animal age and weight, and additives in the feed, particularly enzymes.


He explained that fibre (ADF) is responsible for a large portion of the feed indigestible fraction and enzymes are key to extract more value from raw materials. He focused on arabinoxylan, the major non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) in cereal, and explained that a single xylanase cannot degrade efficiently such complex substrates.

He presented several trials, demonstrating that a multi-NSP degrading enzyme complex, Rovabio®, significantly improves the digestibility of dry matter, organic matter and apparent metabolisable energy for piglets, fattening pigs and sows, with various kinds of diets.

Trials confirm that, with the optimal dose of 50g/t in reformulated feed, the enzyme solution increases the body weight gain of growing pigs from 4,2% to 5,0% and decreases the feed conversion rate by more than 3%. Other trials also confirm the positive impact of Rovabio® on sows, with interesting effects on the reduction of body weight losses during lactation. Effect averaged 3kg with highest effect observed on parities 1,7kg. In addition, litter weight gain for all parities was increased by +3,1kg/litter.

Fewer antibiotics

Anne Hemonic, a doctor of veterinary medicine at the French Pig Institute (IFIP), gave insight on the reduction of antibiotic use in swine production in Europe and particularly in France. She first pointed out that a slight decrease in the total sale of antibiotics in the European Union on all species was observed between 2011 and 2014, but with disparities between countries.

In France, the reduction of antibiotics in food-producing animals has been significant during the past ten years. This is particularly true in pig production – between 2004 and 2014, the medication costs have decreased by 40 to 42% for antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injections and orally administrated drugs. In the meantime, vaccine costs increased from 11%, as the goal of disease prevention increases.

Methionine supply

In the final presentation concerning pork quality, Florence Gondret, a senior scientist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), presented the results of a recent trial which demonstrates the interest of a ‘flash excess in dietary methionine supply’ to improve pork quality traits.


This trial demonstrates that feeding three to five times the growth requirements of total sulphur amino acids (in the DL-HMTBA form) during the two weeks before slaughtering increases the meat quality index (IQV). This index is a criteria combining water holding capacity, post-mortem pH decline (pHu24h) and drip loss during storage.

In addition, muscle antioxidant capacity was also improved. No negative effects were observed on pig performance and carcass yields. “These results confirm methionine as an innovative way to improve technological pork quality, especially the ability of muscle to be processed in ham.”

Focus on Spain

Prior to the different presentations of the day dedicated to pork quality, Estelle Antoine from IFIP’s Economy Department gave an outlook on Spanish swine production. She first reminded the audience that Spain has become number one in pig production in the European Union, ahead of Germany, with 2,5 millions sows, and number three in export, with an increase of 75% in exported pig meat between 2000 and 2015.

The production is mainly realised under contracts with specialised sites (farrowing/fattening units), continuous improved technical performances and compensating higher feed prices compared to other European Union countries, like France. She focused on downstream industry competitiveness, with huge investments in slaughter and cutting plants, creating values with high-quality dry salted products and strengthening links in the pig chain.

She stated that Spanish production growth is still possible in lower animal density areas than Catalonia (in units of more than 3 000 sows) with a continuous concentration in the downstream industries. Spain exports more and more in the European Union and third-world countries, and explores new markets in Asia and South America. – Press release

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