CANADA - The manager of producer services with Sask Pork says satisfying the stringent demands of high end buyers of Canada pork, such as Japan, is all about what happens on the farm, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Thunder Creek Pork held an open house recently to allow producers the opportunity to see how the hogs they deliver to its Moose Jaw pork plant are processed.
Harvey Wagner, the manager of producer services with the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, said buyers of Canadian pork in the premium markets, such as Japan, are particularly demanding when it comes to marbling, meat colour, fat colour and tenderness, factors that are in the hands of the producer.
Harvey Wagner-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
You have to pay really close attention to your nutrition package, so things like not feeding any DDGS.
DDGS are a fine source of nutrition but they tend to change the quality of the meat a little bit and it gets a little softer and the fat is a little softer, not as nice bright color as what we might like to see.
Typically in a prairie diet, given that we feed wheat and barley and peas, we have a really nice fat colour.
That fat is pure white and that's the preferred color for the high end markets.
The other thing is, we don't feed any Ractopamine.
Ractopamine is not universally accepted in some areas and, though there is nothing wrong with Ractopamine, they prefer not to have it in there, so no Ractopamine.
And a lot of these markets prefer not to have any animal byproducts in the feed as well.
A lot of these factors are in the producer's hands.
Depending upon what they feed or how the hogs are handled makes the difference in the final product.
It starts off with nutrition, then it goes into how the pigs are handled on the farm and how they're handled through transport, makes a big difference on the eventual cut of meat on the floor.
Mr Wagner noted Canada exports more product, as a per cent of total production, than other countries so it more important for us to have as many animals in that acceptable export range as possible.
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