Swine Cluster 1

A study on the efficiency of water sprinkling in the truck after loading and prior to unloading at two different environmental temperatures 

on core body temperature and carcass and meat quality in pigs

Project leader

Luigi Faucitano, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, Sherbrooke, Québec

Project objective

The main objective of this project is to provide the pork industry with a clear procedure to employ on the truck in warm conditions, with the aim of limiting animal losses during transportation and improving pork quality. 

Summary of the project

This study proposes to evaluate the efficiency of water misting in a stationary vehicle on core body temperature and carcass and meat quality in pigs and, by assessing the temperature and humidity variation inside the truck, to identify the most appropriate average temperature (between 15 and 25°C) to obtain the maximum efficiency. In addition, the following aspects are also to be examined: ammonia level variation, core body temperature variation in pigs, stress indicators in blood at exsanguination, the behavioral response of pigs in the truck (at unloading and in lairage) and carcass and meat quality.

Significant achievements

The data collection at the farm, on the truck and at the slaughter plant in this study was completed in mid-September 2011. During the transport trials, ambient temperature ranged from 11.6 to 28.5°C. According to the preliminary results, the increase in ambient temperature and the application of water sprinkling after loading and before unloading reduced lactate levels in blood at exsanguination, resulting in higher pH at 1 post-mortem (pH1) in the loin muscle. However, the better post-mortem muscle acidification rate only resulted in higher water exudation in this muscle at higher ambient temperature, regardless of water sprinkling in the truck. The effects of water sprinkling were different according to the compartment location inside the trailer, with better pork quality in the loin and ham being especially recorded in sprinkled pigs located in the middle front compartment starting from 18°C ambient temperature. Water sprinkling also reduced exsanguination lactate levels in pigs transported in the middle front and rear compartments, starting from 15 and 22°C ambient temperature, respectively.