Did you know that over the past year, nearly 10 percent of the entire swine population in the US has been wiped out by a highly lethal virus? The virus, called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), has been—at least in part—traced back to pig’s blood used in piglet feed.
On June 5, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that a federal order has been issued, requiring swine farmers to notify the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they suspect PEDv on their farm. The USDA is also allocating $4 million for research, and the development of a vaccine against the disease.
Dried blood plasma is a relatively new pig feed ingredient, described as a “unique protein source for early-weaned pigs” in a paper1 on swine nutrition by Professor Gary Cromwell.
In recent years, it’s been employed as an immune booster, and to enhance the growth rate and feed intake during the postweaning phase. In his paper, Professor Cromwell explains the process as follows:
“Most of the dried plasma is produced by American Protein Corporation, whose headquarters are in Ames, Iowa. This company collects and processes blood from a number of large hog slaughter plants throughout the country.
At these plants, blood is collected in chilled vats and transported by insulated trucks to processing plants where the plasma is separated from the red blood cells. The plasma is then carefully spray dried.
It is then shipped to ingredient suppliers and feed manufacturers throughout the feed industry for use in pig starter feeds. The red blood cells are also dried and shipped to ingredient suppliers and feed manufacturers.”
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