Pig production is one of the most lucrative livestock production businesses in the world. There are at least two billion pigs alive globally. Pigs are primarily kept for their meat and there are many pig breeds in existence. It becomes essential to know what the best pig breeds for meat are. We shall be dealing with that in this article. China is really a global titan in so many domains, same goes for pork production. China is the biggest producer of pork worldwide – they produce over 30 million metric tonnes annually. Overall, the most acclaimed pig breed is the Berkshire. When it comes to the best pig breeds for meat, it is regarded the best in the world. Before we look at the best pig breeds for meat know this, all the pig breeds we shall discuss can effectively reach maturity with just foraging and or grazing. This makes it easy for farmers because it means costs can be low.
Like we said it is regarded as the best pig breed for meat globally. Most pig farmers actually settle for this pig breed. They have a black body with white on some parts of its body. Berkshire pigs have several desirable traits that make them a good fit for pig meat production. Their meat has a deep and rich taste and colour – one of the reasons why it is the best pig breed for meat. They are known to be adaptable to any environment plus they are easy to handle. They can exceed 200 kilograms in weight when they reach maturity so that is definitely some meat mass there. The fact that it is possible for them to reach that weight without commercial feeds is remarkable. Berkshire pigs are also preferred for their fast-paced growth.
The Landrace pig breed is white in colour with a long body. They have excellent mothering instincts they are known to give birth to the highest number of piglets per litter. They also grow big enough to have mature weights ranging from 250 to 400 kilograms depending on whether it is a sow or a boar. They produce good meat in the form of ham, bacon, sausages, and pork chops. They can live for anything between 6 and 10 years. What also makes Landrace pigs one of the best pig breeds for meat is that they are good also for purposes of cross breeding.
Duroc is a cross breed with a cross between red and brown in their body colour. This pig breed is characterised by exceptional feed conversion rates. It is no wonder why you can find them weighing between 350 and 400 kilograms at maturity. These aspects culminate in lots of meat being produced and that is why Duroc pigs fall under the best pig breeds for meat. Their meat has a dark colour, a rich taste and is tender which makes it easy to bite and chew. They are also commonly used in cross breeding with white breeds.
As the name suggests, this is a pig breed whose body is all white. When we consider the best pig breeds for meat this is the most popular globally. It is not surprising to find them having some black spots here and there. Mature weights can range from 250 to 450 kilograms. One of the great things about the Large Whites is that they have excellent feed conversion. It is the core reason why they grow to be so big, part of why they are one of the best pig breeds for meat. The meat quality is great and so is their mothering ability.
If you are starting out in pig meat production then this is the best pig breed for meat. Hampshire pigs are resilient and can thrive from foraging. Their bodies are typically black (the unique feature being a white belt or strip at their shoulders). Their meat is also quite good and chunky. The meat produced from Hampshire pigs is considered the leanest because of their low body fat. Mature weight can be from 220 to 300 kilograms.
Just like the Hampshire this pig breed produces lean meat. They have a very high reproductive rate and their meat is considered quite preferable for making bacon. Their body colour is predominantly white – black spots can be found here and there though. Their ears are upright. In terms of maternal instincts they are considered the best pig breed for meat. Yorkshire pigs can live for up to 10 years though the lifespan can be reduced due to some factors. One of the most notable factors is their colossal mature weight. It is possible for a Yorkshire to reach almost 300 kilograms at maturity.
Their bodies are black and the breed can withstand tough living conditions. Their meat has great quality and has a rich taste; they are most suited for bacon production. Mature weight ranges from 230 to 360 kilograms. They are exceptional foragers and grazers. This is part of what makes them one of the most cost-effective pig breeds for meat. This is because without the use of commercials feeds they can reach mature weight on just foraging and grazing.
These are 7 of some of the best pig breeds for meat. Here is a fun fact: in case you had not noticed, pigs either have ears that are upright or ears that are floppy. Did you know that distinction can help you ascertain a pig breed? For example, pig breeds whose name has ‘shire’ as a suffix have upright ears. In your quest to choose the best pig breeds for meat you can tell whether or not say, a Berkshire is really a Berkshire. In choosing from the best pig breeds for meat you must factor in breed characteristics, location, weather, availability, and probably existence of other farmers keeping the same. Another thing to consider is cross breeds. Breeds we have discussed can be crossed to produce even superior breeds. Thus in considering the best pig breeds for meat you can look at cross breeds too.