Feeding irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma in the nursery may help get pigs off to a better start, compared to feeding them non-irradiated plasma in the Phase 1 diet, according to Kansas State University (KSU) researchers.

In recent trials, KSU scientists achieved equal performance results between pigs fed irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma and pigs fed pelleted nursery diets. The researchers evaluated the effects of feeding both meal and pelleted diets with regular or irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma.

Irradiation greatly reduces the bacterial levels in plasma. Pelleting also reduces the overall bacterial levels in the diet.

The researchers found irradiating the plasma greatly elevated performance of pigs fed the meal diets, but had little impact on pigs fed the pelleted diets.

For the overall research period, pigs fed the meal diet containing irradiated plasma had similar growth performance as pigs fed the pelleted diets with either the irradiated or non-irradiated plasma.

In the 25-day trial, 192 pigs went on test weighing around 13.2 lb. and averaging 21 days of age. Pigs were randomly allotted to pens of six pigs/pen and six pens/treatment. Four dietary treatments were evaluated. The main dietary treatments were a meal or pelleted form of a single diet, with irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma; or non-irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma fed for 11 days during Phase 1. A common diet was fed from Day 11 to 25 during Phase 2.

Pigs fed pelleted diets from the first day of the experiment to Day 3 had both a greater average daily gain and average daily feed intake, in addition to an improved feed-to-gain ratio when compared to pigs fed meal diets.

Irradiation of spray-dried animal plasma had no effect on performance from the first day of the experiment to the third day.

From Day 3 to 11, pigs fed irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma in meal form had similar growth performance to those pigs fed pelleted treatments.

There is some speculation that the heat and conditioning of ingredients before pelleting may be contributing to the improved performance seen when starting nursery pigs on pellets, as compared to starting pigs on meal diets.

It has also been demonstrated that irradiation of spray-dried animal plasma significantly reduces bacterial levels and results in improved nursery pig performance.

KSU researchers found the meal diet with the irradiated plasma source was only slightly reduced in the total bacterial plate count, compared to the non-irradiated meal diet.

Irradiation costs approximately 10¢/lb. of product irradiated. However, other lower-cost technologies, such as formaldehyde-based Termin-8, have shown similar benefits by reducing bacteria in feed ingredients and improving pig performance.

Researchers: Crystal Groesbeck; Mike Tokach; Joel DeRouchey; Robert Goodband; Steve Dritz, DVM; and Jim Nelssen, Jon Bergstrom, Casey R. Neill, Kelly R. Brown and Nolan Z. Frantz, Kansas State University. Contact Tokach at (785) 532-2032.

Table 1. Composition of Diets, As-Fed Basis
Item Day 0 to 11a Day 11 to 25b
Corn 44.02 53.71
Soybean meal, 46.5% calcium phosphorus 19.40 31.54
Spray-dried whey 20.00 10.00
Spray-dried animal plasma 5.00
Menhaden fish meal 5.00
Soy oil 3.00
Monocalcium phosphate, 21% phosphorus 0.75 1.50
Limestone 0.65 0.95
Salt 0.25 0.35
Vitamin premix 0.25 0.25
Trace-mineral premix 0.15 0.15
Antibioticc 0.70 0.70
Zinc oxide 0.38
L-Threonine 0.08 0.13
L-Lysine HCl 0.23 0.33
DL-Methionine 0.15 0.15
Total 100.00 100.00
Calculated analysis
Total lysine, % 1.50 1.30
Metabolizable energy, kcal/lb 1,552 1,474
Protein, % 22.6 20.9
Calcium, % 0.88 0.84
Phosphorus, % 0.80 0.76
Available phosphorus, % 0.57 0.46
Lysine:calorie ratio, g./Mcal 4.38 4.00
aThe Phase 1 (Day 0 to 11) diet was feed in either meal or pelleted form with irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma or non-irradiated, spray-dried animal plasma.
bThe Phase 2 (Day 11 to 25) diet was a common diet fed to all pigs in meal form.
cNeoterramycin 10/10
Table 2. Aerobic Bacterial Concentration
Item Total Plate Count, CFU/g. Total Coliform Count, CFU/g.
Spray-dried animal plasma
Plasma, non-irradiated 110,000 < 10
Plasma, irradiateda < 10 < 10
Diet with non-irradiated plasmaa
Meal 26,000 390
Pellet 2,000 < 10
Diet with irradiated plasma
Meal 21,000 < 10
Pellet 4,800 < 10
aSpray-dried animal plasma was irradiated at 11.92 kGy.
Table 3. Effects of Meal and Pelleted Diets with or without Irradiated Spray-Dried Animal Plasmaa
Non-irradiated Plasma Irradiated Plasma
Datab Meal Pellet Meal Pellet
Day 0 to 3
ADG 0.50 0.65 0.48 0.68
ADFI 0.29 0.37 0.26 0.32
F/G 0.58 0.57 0.64 0.55
Day 3 to 11
ADG 0.67 0.85 0.87 0.88
ADFI 0.94 0.99 1.03 0.99
F/G 1.40 1.19 1.18 1.12
Day 0 to 11
ADG 0.62 0.79 0.77 0.83
ADFI 0.76 0.82 0.83 0.82
F/G 1.22 1.04 1.09 0.99
Day 11 to 25
ADG 0.88 0.96 0.96 0.95
ADFI 1.13 1.28 1.25 1.27
F/G 1.30 1.33 1.31 1.34
Day 0 to 25
ADG 0.78 0.89 0.88 0.90
ADFI 0.99 1.09 1.09 1.09
F/G 1.27 1.23 1.23 1.21
aA total of 192 pigs (six pigs per pen and 8 pens per treatment) with an average initial weight of 13.9 ± 1.8 lb were used in the study.
bData is provided for average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed/gain (F/G).