Tuesday, June 9, 2009

El Cerdo Mangalica

There's a presentation online about Mangalitsa pigs - "El Cerdo Mangalica", or the Mangalitsa pig (in Spanish).

As this slide shows, there are lots of problems with purebred Mangalitsa. Essentially, the pigs are too fat and too expensive, because the sows produce so few pigs a year:

The presentation explains that F1 Mangalitsa x Durocs (50/50) help because they've got desirable carcasses and decent daily gain figures. As the slide explains, they use Mangalitsa sows and Duroc boars. That is not efficient: Duroc sows would give them more pigs per litter. But requiring the use of purebred sows ensures that producers maintain the genetic diversity.
The presentation continues, explaining that the purebred and F1 producers are symbiotically helping each other. I myself am very skeptical of this. The guys who raise purebreds probably hate the "brand dilution" inherent in F1 producers calling their pigs "mangalica". It explains why the people who bought purebred Mangalitsa pigs from me are bothered about the Hungarian standards allowing F1s to be sold as purebred - even though the F1 product tastes exceptionally good.

To try to gauge the possibilities for purebred Mangalitsa in the USA, I'm trying to find out more about the Lampino market in Spain. The Lampino is the variety of iberico most like Mangalitsa: fat, unprofligate and producing the best meat. I suspect there is a small market in America for purebred Mangalitsa. Just as some will pay a lot for purebred Iberico products, some will pay a lot for purebred Mangalitsa products.

The presentation has some nice photos of Pick's products and includes a lot more information - including reprints from Playboy that described Mangalitsa in very positive terms.

Anyone interested in Mangalitsa production ought to look at this closely.

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