With high feed costs, increased government regulations and consumer demands intensifying, the future of the poultry industry is difficult to predict. This was the focus of Alltech’s 10th Poultry Solutions Seminar, held in Hannover, Germany on the 12th of November, where a number of distinguished poultry industry experts gave presentations on their cutting edge research and on the issues that they believe will be of most importance.
Antibiotic resistance is getting more and more publicity and governments are starting to take notice. Dr. Marcel Boereboom, of the Royal Dutch Society for Veterinary Medicine, discussed the impact this is having on the Dutch industry, following a study by the Dutch Health Council. He described how the government of the Netherlands have, to date, banned certain antibiotics and implemented a targeted reduction of 50% (of 2009 levels) of the total amount of antibiotics used in food producing animals by 2013. This has had a huge impact on how poultry is produced.
Focussing on how to deal with this issue was Professor Stephen Collett from the University of Georgia. He recommended a shift in emphasis in gut health management, from working against pathogens, to working with the intestinal microbial community. This involves improving performance by accelerating the evolution and maintaining the stability of favourable intestinal microbiota. The three most important areas of an effective intestinal health management programme include: “seeding” the gut with favourable organisms, “feeding” the favourable organisms and “weeding” out the unfavourable organisms.
Professor Roselina Angel, of the University of Maryland, described to attendees at the Poultry Solutions Seminar research on how neonatal conditioning, resulting in epigenetic changes shows great promise in terms of improving phosphorus (P) utilisation. “By applying a moderate P deficiency in young chicks, the bird is conditioned to utilise P more efficiently throughout its life. The timing of the conditioning is critical and requires a clear understanding of skeletal growth, the main driver of calcium (Ca) and P requirements,” she explained.
Controlling campylobacter, a bacteria that poses no danger to poultry, but is the leading cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis, was the topic of Professor Frank Pasmans’ presentation, researched at Ghent University. When a single bird is infected, the infection spreads quickly through the flock, resulting in the majority of birds being colonised within only a few days after Campylobacter entry. He explained how, overall, the outlook is bleak if the flock has been infected but results of recent studies, using oral administration of bovine or chicken immunoglobulins of hyper-immunised animals and the use of bacteriocins to limit caecal colonisation, look promising. “We are still quite a way from commercialised products but the future does seem to be positive,” he explained.
To deal with unpredictable feed costs and an inconsistent supply, Professor David Roland of Auburn University, recommends his “econometric approach to the feeding of layers. “Feeding correctly is challenging because nutrient requirements and dietary levels needed for optimal returns are continually changing” said Prof. Roland as he opened his talk.
He presented his calculation tool called Econometrics to attendees, demonstrating how optimal econometric feeding can improve performance, returns and help regulate feed and egg prices at the same time.
For a more detailed account of the talks at the Solutions Seminars visit www.alltech.com/blog