Meg Meeker of Logan County exhibited the Champion Junior Pork Premiere at the 2011 Illinois State Fair Pork Premiere Carcass Show. Meeker’s pig was also named Champion Junior Land of Lincoln and Reserve Open Land of Lincoln.

“Meg’s barrow had a hot carcass weight of 223.5 pounds with 0.90 inches of backfat and a 10.0 square-inch loineye,” said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H livestock specialist. “With 129 days on test, this barrow had 0.822 pounds of lean gain per day, which is the ultimate figure used in ranking the premiere hogs. Her 283-pound Duroc barrow also scored well on qualitative measures such as color, marbling, firmness and pH.”

The second place hog in the Junior Premiere Show was exhibited by Kade Buysse of Henry County. His 258-pound crossbred pig had a hot carcass weight of 212 pounds, 0.70 inches backfat, and a 10.5 square-inch loineye.

“Kade’s barrow came in with 120 days on test, which gives him 0.813 pounds of lean gain per day,” Jennings explained.

Lauren Honegger of Livingston County captured the Reserve Junior Land of Lincoln title with a 259-pound Yorkshire barrow that charted 0.756 pounds of lean per days on test.

Champion honors in the Open Premiere Show went to Dean Zehr of Tazewell County with a 259-pound crossbred barrow that sported an 8.2 square-inch loineye area with 0.7 inches of backfat and 0.837 pounds of lean gain per day. Reserve champion honors in the Open Premiere Show and the Champion Open Land of Lincoln title also went to Zehr with a 273-pound Duroc barrow that yielded 0.834 pounds of lean gain per day on test.   

"The Junior and Open Premiere Carcass shows for swine, beef and sheep rank as one of the more complete and educational livestock programs that youth can enter," Jennings said. "They incorporate live evaluation with production performance and carcass merit, which should be the bottom line in evaluating market animals."  

Jennings collected and tabulated the carcass data to ascertain the 2011 alignment for these shows. Pigs were nominated and tattooed in the spring. The live and carcass data collected included breed, initial weight, live weight, average daily gain, hot carcass weight, length, 10th rib backfat, and loineye area. These figures were used to calculate the pounds of lean gain per day for rankings. In addition, qualitative measurements were taken for loin color, marbling, firmness, and pH.

Behrmann’s Packing Company assisted and helped coordinate the harvesting of the pigs.