PIPESTONE and WASHINGTON (July 2, 2019) –The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research awarded a Rapid Outcomes from Agricultural Research (ROAR) grant to Pipestone Applied Research to halt the spread of deadly and costly swine viruses in animal feed by adding mitigants, additives that deactivate the viruses, directly to animal feed.
Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus and Seneca Valley A (SVA) are deadly swine diseases that can spread through contaminated animal feed. Swine producers have had difficulty protecting their herds from these viruses. This research can reduce the spread of these viruses and may be relevant to preventing the introduction other viruses, such as African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), to a herd.
PRRS, the most economically devastating disease affecting U.S. swine production today, has infected up to 50 percent of the national sow herd in recent years. It currently costs U.S. farmers over $560 million annually. PED arrived in the U.S. in 2013, infecting and killing a full 10 percent of the pig crop. With no treatment or cure for PED, the mortality rate can reach 100 percent in piglets. Lastly, pork producers nationwide have been battling an outbreak of SVA, a relative of Food and Mouth Disease, since 2015.
The research team is testing 10 commercially available disease mitigants, or feed additives, to assess whether these mitigants can deactivate PRRS, PED and SVA. The mitigants are added to feed containing the viruses and then fed to pigs in a commercial setting, to replicate on-farm conditions, although none of these animals enter the food supply.
“Pipestone Applied Research’s initiative to provide production-driven research to producers is already generating promising research for farmers and the pork industry,” stated Dr. Scott Dee, Research Director at Pipestone Applied Research. “FFAR’s ROAR grant enables us to test additional mitigants in feed, which we are finding have a significant impact on reducing the spread of viruses. This breakthrough has the potential to improve animal welfare and ultimately lessen the financial sting of these devastating diseases.”