A new vaccine to reduce boar taint in UK and Ireland herds has been released by Pfizer Animal Health.

Improvac can improve production performance, animal welfare and meat quality, says Nigel Lodge, technical manager for Pfizer’s pig division.

The vaccine stimulates the pig’s own immune system to block production of the boar taint compounds and inhibit the development of the testes.

“Improvac allows producers to rear pigs to a heavier weight, taking advantage of the faster growth in the later finishing period – without risk of boar taint in the meat,” he says.

Trials have also shown a significant increase in daily live weight gain from the second vaccination to slaughter.

“Another advantage is vaccinated boars do not show testosterone-associated mounting and aggression. They become easier to manage with less risk of lameness, mortality and skin lesions.”

Producers also stand to gain from the superior meat quality, he says. “A Bristol University taste test showed significantly higher positive pork odour and meat flavour intensity in vaccinated pigs, with less abnormal fat odour and abnormal meat flavour.”