Iberian pig, the king of the “dehesa”

cerdo ibérico en la dehesa

The “Dehesa” is t
he habitat of the Iberian pig and is a derivative agrosistema Mediterranean forest where trees of the genus Quercus” (oaks, oaks, oaks, etc.) mainly inhabit. This ecosystem, which is present mainly in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, and extends over about two hundred million hectares (of which more than half are in Extremadura), is an entire paradigm of organic farming and model in which the hand of man has been totally respectful of the natural environment. This spatial limitation on the habitat of the Iberian pig makes its production is not more than 500,000 head per year, about 3% of the national production of pork (about 17 million heads). Normal production of a good year is about 350,000 head per year and years with low acorn production of 150,000 head.


The Iberian breed is only capable of producing quality cured parts. This breed has Mediterranean origin and is one of the very few examples of domestic pigs adapted to the ranching scheme, specially equipped to take directly to the tooth, the resources of the pasture (grasses, shrubs, acorns, etc ). The qualities of this primitive race highlights its ability to accumulate fat under the skin or infiltrate it in your muscles, giving juiciness and tenderness to all your meats and cured exclusive ago from the Iberian pig. According to Royal Decree 4/2014, of 10 January, on the quality standard for meat, ham, shoulder and loin cane Iberian Iberian pork used is approved it may be 100% pure Iberian (pure mother pure Iberian and Iberian) father and must appear on the label “100% Iberian75% Iberico (Iberian pure mother and father 50% and 50% Iberian Duroc Jersey) and 50% Iberico (Iberian pure mother and father pure Duroc Jersey ). In pig products from 75% to 50% Iberian must appear on the label the name “Iberian”.


According feeding Iberian pigs in the meadow will be renamed:

A – “From Acorn for products from animals sacrificed immediately after the exclusive use of acorns, grass and other natural resources of the pasture, without the addition of supplementary feed in driving conditions listed in Article 6.

B For products derived from animals whose feeding and management to reach slaughter weight, are not among those listed in the previous section the following designations are used: 1. “De bait camp”: the case of animals even if they been able to leverage resources from the pasture or field, have been fed with feed consisting mainly of cereals and legumes, and whose management is conducted in extensive or intensive farming outdoors may be part of the deck surface. 2. “De bait If fed animal feed, mainly consisting of cereals and pulses, whose management is performed in intensive systems.
Handling the Iberian race

Two features characterize the handling of the Iberian race that clearly differ from industrial production systems white pigs:

1) extensive regime. 2) Age and slaughter weight. The Iberians are exploited in extensive, ie free in the field opposite the usual schedule of intensive breeding and pig bait system, in which the animals are kept confined and forced feeding.

The minimum age for slaughter bound Iberian cured production is fourteen months, unlike the industrial pig slaughter age which is about six months. The operating system of Iberian pig is divided into three phases:

1) The breeding, covering the period from birth until the pig reaches about 23 kg. Weaning is usually performed at 56 days (lactation) and weighing between 13 and 15 Kg. From this time until the reaches 23 kg. It feeds exclusively on natural feed grains and oilseeds. 2) The rearing period is the period of growth and transition to the open range. The animal comes into contact with the pasture and graze on grass and natural feed. In this period the pig goes through two stages: pig (up to 5 months or 50 Kg.) And primal (up to 100 Kg.). This phase is very important because it‘s skeleton animal develops and contributions need sufficient calcium and phosphorus for proper bone formation that allow it to withstand the weight eventually reach for the bait. 3) The bait or mast, lying between the months of November to February; pork replenishes 700 grams to a kilo daily feeding on acorns, grasses, fruits, bulbs, etc. In this phase, for each kilo of pork meat replacement has consumed between 8 and 10 kilos of acorns with what his sacrifice has consumed at least 550 Kg. Of acorns .To get this feed each pig has 2-3 acres of pasture , as the acorn crop. At the end of this phase the animal reaches about 160 Kg. Of weight. When the supply of natural resources is not enough pasture (poor crop of acorns) to reach slaughter weight pig feed with natural fodder grain and oilseed supplemented. This is what is known as a model of topdressing. When this final stage the Iberian pig feed exclusively from natural grains and oilseeds are fat we are talking about the model of feed or bait.