Majorcan Black Pig: a sustainable production system for high quality meat products
Majorcan Black Pig (MBP) is a native breed from Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, characterized by its high rusticity and adaptation to Mediterranean climatic conditions, with ability to exploit the scarce natural resources. This pig population had a great importance in the economy and cultural heritage until mid-20th century. The introduction of leaner pig breeds, the impact of different diseases and rural migration led to a progressive decline of this breed. Recognized as an endangered
... an endangered autochthonous pig breed in Spain, MBP has a conservation and improvement program supported by Balearic Government technical services. The current census is close to 80 farms with more than 1,300 breeding pigs. MBP farms are managed in extensive conditions and the feeding regime is based on pasture, cereals, legumes, figs, almonds, acorns and Mediterranean shrubs, with eventual supplementation based on barley and green peas. Performances are largely dependent on available natural resources; mean productivity is 16 piglets/sow-year and a post-weaning growth around 500 g/day until the slaughtering target weight (140-160 kg). Compared with commercial breeds, MBP has a largely higher subcutaneous fat depot, with carcasses showing back fat depths reaching 7 cm and flare fat weights usually up to 6 kg. Important differences are also observed in meat quality, with the loin of MBP presenting higher intramuscular fat content (~8%), darker colour, slightly lower shear force, higher levels of MUFA (~50%) and lower levels of PUFA (<10%). The main products are the 'Sobrassada de Porc Negre Mallorquí', a specialty fat-rich cured sausage granted with a PGI certification, and the roasted 'porcella' (3 month purebred piglets). The proportion of animals devoted either to produce 'porcella' or to be fattened until a heavy slaughter weight depends upon the available natural resources. This practice represents a really sustainable production system. Funded by European Union's H2020 RIA program (grant agreement no. 634476).