Economic Values for Meat Quality Traits
A method was developed to calculate economic values for pork quality traits for use in genetic selection. The method considers the normal variability of pork quality traits within a herd or population. The parameters required for this method are the mean, standard deviation, and range of the quality trait within the herd or population, and the relationship of the level of the quality trait with price received for pork at the consumer level. The method was applied to results from a consumer preference study of quality traits of pork loin that was conducted by the National Pork Producers Council. Resulting economic values of percentage of lipid (lipid%), Instron score, and ultimate pH were $.9112, $-.4040, and $-.3469, respectively, per kilogram of loin per unit increase in the trait. Results indicate that efforts to increase lipid% and to decrease Instron score can result in extra revenues for swine production. The sign of the economic value for ultimate pH was opposite to expectations, which is a reflection of the results of this specific consumer preference study. A second preference study is currently under way and its result will be used to reevaluate economic values. Alternative methods to select for quality traits, such as optimum linear indexes and indexes based on a quadratic aggregate genotype, were discussed.