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Results of the 2002 State Fair Youth Market Hog Show

Livestock Update, November 2002

Allen Harper, Extension Animal Scientist, Swine, Tidewater AREC

The 2002 State Fair Youth Market Hog Show was held October 5th and 6th, 2002 at the State Fairgrounds in Richmond. Forty youngsters from throughout Virginia exhibited 115 project market hogs. Judge Steve Ernst of Clear Spring, Maryland worked diligently throughout Sunday afternoon to sort out pigs in very competitive single and hog pair classes.

The Grand Champion single market hog was a 253 lb. entry exhibited by Amanda Hemp of Middlebrook, Virginia. Megan Kovacs of Virginia Beach took Reserve Grand Champion single with her 259 lb. entry.

In the pair competition, Katherine Houston of Spotsylvania, Virginia exhibited the Grand Champion Pair, a set of 233 and 237 lb. market hogs. The Reserve Grand Champion Pair went to the 239 and 234 lb. entries exhibited by Randi Walker of Vienna, Virginia.

First place swine showmanship honors went to Randi Walker from Vienna, Virginia in the novice showman class, to Mary Elmer from Waverly, Virginia in the junior showman class and to Justin Wisch from Purcellville, Virginia in the senior showman class.

After the show, a hand-held ultrasound instrument was used to assess external fat depth and loin muscle depth at the last rib of the 115 hogs exhibited at the junior show. Results of this estimate are subject to user error on individual pigs. But over the entire set of 115 junior show market pigs, the results of this assessment illustrate the exceptional leanness and muscling of the market pigs exhibited in the 2002 State Fair Junior Show.

Number of Hogs Ave. live weight Est. ave. carcass weight (74%) Ave. Backfat depth Loin depth
115 242 lbs. 179 lbs. 13 mm (.51 inches) 61 mm (2.4 inches)

There is no question that the adoption of carcass based buying programs at most major packing companies during the 1990's has driven a major shift in the type of hog being marketed. Today's commercial market hogs are leaner, deeper muscled and produce a higher percentage of lean cuts than ever before. But it is becoming apparent that show pigs seem to be in a "league by themselves" when it comes to leanness and muscling. One example of the developing difference in desirability between show pig carcass characteristics and commercial pigs can be seen by evaluating the highest premium payment category in the carcass matrix of a major east coast packer (Gwaltney of Smithfield). The highest value (107% of base price value) carcass in this companyıs current matrix is for 181 to 187 lb carcasses (245 to 253 lb. live hogs) with 16 to 17 mm of backfat depth. Many show pigs, including many at the 2002 State Fair Junior Market Hog Show, are considerably leaner than this.

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