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Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.
Pig Welfare

Soaring blood prices may plummet overnight

March 4, 2014

Right now, the U.S. is experiencing a reduction in market pigs due to the PED virus that hit the Midwest during April and May last year, which continues to spread with cases now appearing in Canada. As pigs take about six months from birth to slaughter, and stocks of blood products destined for feed manufacturing (whole blood meal, animal blood plasma, and blood hemoglobin) take a few months to clear (or replenish), I find it reasonable for prices to be steadily increasing from now on. Indeed, very recently, blood meal prices have jumped from $1,000 to almost $2,000 per U.S. ton. With no preventive vaccine currently available for the PED virus, prices will only continue to get higher as more previously naive populations are affected.

But, and this is a big "but," nutritionists have been warned that blood products may be involved in spreading the PED virus disease (although current thinking is that even though blood products may test positive, they cannot transmit the disease). Nevertheless, to avoid any business risk, nutritionists, not only in the U.S. and Canada, but also in Europe, are looking at removing all kinds of porcine products, including the expensive plasma, from their piglet feeds. This will get even more serious if the warning is verified by some official body. It will affect all blood products -- plasma, hemoglobin, and whole meal -- and prices will fall in a very dramatic way as demand will be virtually wiped out overnight.

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