Utilizing vaccines to reduce antimicrobial use

Utilizing vaccines to reduce antimicrobial use

By controlling certain viral diseases with vaccination, producers can reduce on-farm antimicrobial usage.

Nesting in enriched cages

Nesting in enriched cages

While multiple studies have uncovered some of what affects nesting and pre-nesting behaviour, much remains to be learned.

Maximizing broiler performance

Maximizing broiler performance

Reaching genetic potential through best management practices.

Two biosecurity advisories remain in effect.
Disease found in small backyard flock.
An ILT Disease Biosecurity Advisory Area has been established for a 10 km area east of Simcoe in Norfolk County.
Biosecurity Advisory put in place.
Two disease updates from Quebec.
Lawmakers are calling on the federal government to better support farmers who they say are especially vulnerable to mental-health issues like stress, depression and suicidal thoughts.
I’ve written before about a growing frustration within the industry. Increasingly, global food companies are coming out with their own welfare programs for poultry and egg sectors. Many of them include their own unique commitments suppliers must adhere to. Adding to this frustration, some of these pledges appear to be driven not by evidence but by pressure activists put on brands.
Early mortality in a flock can have several causes or contributing factors. One of the most common reasons is a bacterial infection of the navel (omphalitis) or yolk sac. In this article, I discuss omphalitis and other factors that can impact early mortality rates and overall chick quality.
It’s one of the most significant immunosuppressive diseases in the Canadian chicken industry. Infectious bursal disease (IBD), also known as Gumboro disease, is caused by a very highly contagious and immunosuppressive virus (family Birnaviridae) in chickens.
The first time American egg farmer John Brunnquell walked into a cage-free barn everything he thought he knew about hen welfare was called into question. It was the early 1990s, and Brunnquell could recite the benefits of caged production by heart: Birds don’t walk around in their own manure, cages protect them from predators and they can be quickly fed if they get sick, he said.
Coccidiosis refers to a parasitic infection of the gut that causes clinical signs of disease. The parasites referred to are coccidial species (Eimeria). Some key clinical signs  include reduced feed consumption, increased water consumption, ruffled feathers, watery feces, dehydration, reduced weight gain, increased feed conversion, bloody dropping and mortality.
Global poultry production has entered an era of increased oversight of antibiotic use during live production. Being able to treat sick animals with antibiotics is important. As an industry, we must continue to do our part to maintain antibiotic effectiveness so they can be used as tools for sick animals. As with any change, there will be a learning curve moving forward.
Note: Pest management expert Alice Sinia is our guest columnist for tihs question, stepping in to answer a question submited to our Ask the Vet team.Q. We could really use some advice on eradicating mites from our flock, or at the very least, controlling them over the long term. We have used been using sulphur powder (dusted and ingested), Eprinex/Ivermectin as a spot-on, as well as regularly spraying the housing with pyrethrins. We have switched from litter to sand as well. However, though the mites do seem to disappear for a month or so, they always come back. We have had more than 10 per cent losses in the flock due to anemia caused by this problem over the last year, as well as increased diarrhea and respiratory illness this winter, which we think is due to a decrease in the birds' immune function because of the stress and anemia caused by the mites. We have seen evidence of northern fowl mites, red mites, and possibly feather lice. What is the recommended treatment in free-range barns for this terrible problem?A. Controlling bird mites and other poultry parasites can be very challenging, and you need an integrated approach. Focus treating the facility and on treating the birds with the following steps:Treatment: If mites are detected, it is important that treatment be performed right away, as mite populations can establish and grow quickly. Start by emptying the holding or rearing room and working with a pest management provider to treat the area with a residual insecticide. Be sure to focus on cracks and crevices, cages, baseboards and resting poles, as these are sites were mites commonly hide. Next, treat the affected birds directly with dust or approved insecticide product. Consult your pest management provider before treatment and follow product labels exactly. Mites can be hidden or concealed in the bird’s feathers. So, be thorough when applying the treatment to ensure it penetrates these areas for maximum effectiveness. Overall, it is best to use a combination of liquid application, dust and ingested medication. These should all be coordinated in a timely and consistent manner for maximum efficiency. Contact a veterinarian to coordinate ingested medication as well. Ongoing Control: Often times, mites can hide in the bird’s feathers, so start by thoroughly inspecting all birds that come into your facility. Practice good, consistent sanitation. Remember, if there is no mite activity during the growing season, there will be no population growth later on. So, it’s best practice to have a preventive strategy in plan for treating potential harbourage sites. In most cases, wild birds are the source of mite infestations and re-infestation. So, establish an ongoing bird control program to control nuisance populations.
Sustainability is a subject that is on everybody’s lips today. The poultry industry is making many efforts to tackle this issue and comes up with various solutions concerning energy saving, CO2 footprint, food safety, traceability and water use. For responsible water use, Marel Poultry offers solid practical solutions. One clear example of this is the Mazzraty poultry processing plant in Qatar, equipped with a well thought-out water management system.Chicken production has a naturally low carbon footprint and requires a limited amount of resources, such as fertilizer, land and water. Using 2,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of chicken meat, poultry production needs a fairly modest amount of water. Just to compare, 1 kilo of chocolate uses 17,000 liters of water.Water isn't lostHowever, water use doesn’t mean that this water is lost. Recycling options are available to treat the water and make it fit for renewed use. The poultry industry has elaborated solutions for this. Mazzraty in Qatar called in the help of Marel Water Treatment to set up today’s most modern water treatment installation. This poultry facility is located in the desert, where nothing grows, so Mazzraty is highly aware of the importance of clean water in these circumstances.TreatmentWater Treatment starts already in the poultry processing plant. All water used for transport, for cleaning and for the various stages of processing, is collected and drained to the waste water treatment facilities. In the first phase, the physical pretreatment takes out fat material and larger coarse parts. After that, the biological process in a big basin decomposes the pollution and converts it to biological sludge and purified water.IrrigationIn the direct surroundings of Mazzraty’s poultry processing plant, four large green circles in the middle of the yellow sand plain catch the eye. This is irrigated land, made fertile with the help of Mazzraty’s treated water. Besides being used for truck washing, the purified water is excellently fit for artificial irrigation of areas that are otherwise dry land. Mazzraty manages to drive four center pivot systems with this recycled water to irrigate four quarter sections (each 800 x 800m). The company grows mainly grass, which they can use in their feed mills.Lowest impactMazzraty’s facility has been designed to not waste or leave behind residual material and all activities aim at causing the lowest possible impact on the environment. The reuse of cleaned waste water from the factory as irrigation water is part of Mazzraty’s bigger environmental plan, which also involves a reduced CO2 emission and production of their own chicken feed. In this way, Mazzraty demonstrates one of the most sustainable ways of working in the poultry industry.
It’s been many years since heat exchangers arrived on the poultry industry scene. As with countless technologies, designs of new models are greatly improved over those of the past. Heat exchangers have become much easier to both clean and install, and in terms of efficiency, some manufacturers claim that current systems cut barn heating bills in half. The higher indoor temperatures of broiler operations make them more worthwhile than egg producers.
The phrase ‘energy efficiency’ in a poultry industry context likely brings to mind shining rows of LED lights. It’s true that an increasingly large number of Canadian poultry farms have LEDs now.
After a long winter across Canada, summer and higher temperatures are approaching. That means it’s important to be prepared for the heat and the impact this could have on your birds.
What is the recommended dose of fenbendazole for an individual animal, based on its weight? How much fenbendazole will it take to treat a specific number of animals? Which Safe-Guard or Panacur formulation is the most appropriate and cost effective option in a particular instance?The answers to these and other questions are just a few clicks away with Merck Animal Health’s new Safe-Guard mobile application.This one-of-a-kind tool makes it easy for veterinarians and producers to quickly calculate the volume and amount of fenbendazole required based on the number of animals to be treated, the animal’s weight, and the selected formulation of Safe-Guard, Panacur or Panacur Aquasol.The Safe-Guard mobile application also includes an optional cost comparison feature to help users select the most cost-effective formulation and presentation of fenbendazole to meet their specific needs.Other features include in-app access to product labels for all formulations of Safe-Guard, Panacur and Panacur Aquasol, as well as selected studies and a resource section containing helpful information and articles.“Merck Animal Health has always been committed to providing veterinarians and producers with value-added products and services that promote the well-being of animals and help increase productivity and efficiency,” said Douglas Wong, product manager, farm animal business unit, in a press release.“Our goal in developing the Safe-Guard mobile application was to create an easy-to-use, practical calculator and resource tool that helps save time and money by taking the guesswork out of fenbendazole administration.”The Safe-Guard mobile application can be used to calculate fenbendazole dosages, quantities and costs for four different species: cattle, swine, horses and poultry.The Safe-Guard mobile application for both iOS and Android is now available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play.
Depending on where you are in the world, consumer preferences will dictate desired egg colour and egg size; however, good quality eggs should always be free from internal blemishes such as blood spots, pigment spots, and meat spots. Researchers examine dozens of traits that are linked to egg quality.
Al Dam, poultry specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, says that in 2018, he had more inquiries about darkling beetle infestations than he’s had in a long time.
Cockroaches, ants, birds, ground beetles and rodents are exactly the kinds of visitors you do not want to stop by unannounced. Poultry facilities often have an abundant supply of food, water and shelter – the three resources pests need to survive. And any tiny cracks, gaps around utilities or tears in window screens could let pests in to your workplace.
It’s an approach that’s time-honoured and still holds significant value in pest control: a multi-pronged strategy is a very effective way to manage serious pests like mites, flies and more in the barn. Are there new products and strategies, however, to add to the tool kit, and what threats are of most concern right now in Canada? We contacted several experts to get their views.
When Andre van Kammen of Cedar Acres Farm in Chilliwack, B.C., decided to build a new barn for his newly-acquired chicken quota (from his in-laws), he thought outside the box – or, in his case, outside the tunnel.
While precision farming technology has taken the crop production world by storm, it’s been slow to enter the livestock sector, especially poultry production. But in recent years, innovative companies and researchers around the world are finding new ways to measure, calculate and analyze data using sensor technology.
Cobb-Vantress recently announced Shane Sutton as the new managing director of South American operations — a move that poises the company for continued growth. Sutton previously served as Cobb’s chief financial officer (CFO) for global operations. In this role, he led finance, mergers and acquisitions for all of the company’s business units, including the recent launch of agrandparent stock operation and new subsidiary in Colombia.Brazil is the second-largest producer of poultry in the world and the largest exporter of poultry meat. Cobb began operations in Brazil in 1995 with a handful of team members. Twenty-four years later, the company now employs over 700 team members across the continent with locations in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. In recent years, Cobb has invested heavily in the region to increase production and hatchery capacity, renovate farms, and increase environmental controls and automation.“Shane will lead our South American operations into its next phase of growth as we focus on meeting the rising demand for poultry in the region,” said Stan Reid, vice president of North and South American operations for Cobb-Vantress. “With his previous experience in Latin America and the leadership he showed as our CFO, Shane is uniquely qualified to take on this role.”Sutton came to Cobb from Tyson Foods where he worked as a senior group controller for Latin America and held several senior audit leadership roles for more than a decade. He began his career as an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he worked primarily overseas. Sutton grew up around the poultry industry, living on a pullet farm where his father served as a technical service advisor.Additionally, Cobb announced the promotion of Joe Emmanual to CFO — the position previously held by Sutton. For the last four years, Emmanual served as Cobb’s senior director of accounting. He joined the Cobb family in 2015 after working as a senior business analyst and external financial reporting specialist at Tyson Foods. Emmanual will begin his new role immediately.“These leadership changes best position Cobb to continue to grow and innovate in the industry,” said Joel Sappenfield, president of Cobb-Vantress. “We are excited to see what Shane and Joe will accomplish in their new roles as we collectively work to achieve our mission of bringing healthy, sustainable and accessible protein to the world.”
Dr. Henry (Hank) Classen recently retired after a long and distinguished career as one of Canada’s foremost poultry scientists. We asked him five questions.What is your most significant career achievement and why?It’s hard to say what that is. I’ve worked in many areas, and one of my strengths is to recognize where research is needed and put together teams to try and solve the industry problem. I was involved in some of the early work with feed enzymes, and was part of the licencing of the first feed enzyme in Canada with Leigh Campbell and Yan Grotwassink. I’ve also, through most of my career, looked at lighting programs in turkeys and broilers – how they can be best be used by primary breeders to slow down early growth and so on.What are your main milestones?I obtained my B.Sc.Agr. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1971 and then my masters in 1973 from the University of Massachusetts. After that I was an assistant professor for a while at Pennsylvania State University and then obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1977. That same year I became an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan, where I’d stay for the rest of my career. I later became a full professor, and then head of the department followed by a distinguished professor. In 2013, I was named Industrial Research Chair in Poultry Nutrition with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Finally, this year I became Professor Emeritus.How should the industry evolve?Primary breeders now have tremendous ability to select more accurately, and with molecular genetics, that will increase. We need to counteract some of the traits that have been issues in industry. I’d also like to see a more balanced viewpoint of some practices related to animal welfare and in the use of antibiotics. I feel strongly about animal welfare. However, sometimes changes are made in agriculture around the world due to perception of a practice and the science is ignored.Tell us a little bit about your personal life.We have a close family. My wife Lynn and I have three married daughters, Michelle, Tara and Stephanie, and five grandchildren. We all go a family vacation every year and we really love canoeing. I like to be outdoors. I like to garden. I don’t run fast but I like running and like to stay in shape. Lynn and I also take ballroom dancing.What are your future plans?I’m will continue as Professor Emeritus for the next 18 months, and after that, I may work on some review articles that I haven’t gotten around to. Lynn and I like to travel, so we plan to do lots of that in the future and we’ll also try different physical activities.
To take part in a month of learning and team-building, 35 poultry producers from 19 countries journeyed to Huntsville, Ala., US, for the 2019 Aviagen Production Management School. Aviagen welcomed to class veterinarians, production managers, hatchery specialists and other poultry professionals representing a variety of cultures, languages and production operations.From June 2-27, students engaged in more than 75 sessions that combined theory with plenty of on-the-farm learning – all designed to prepare them for a future of success in the global poultry industry.Multiple sessions were held in Aviagen’s brand new Research and Training Center, featuring modern, spacious classrooms and wet lab facilities. Read more on this state-of-the-art facility here.Digital toolsStudents stayed connected with instructors and with each other throughout the month using an event app. Through the app they collaborated and posed questions to instructors. Additionally, they were given electronic tablets containing all course content, which they were able to take home and use as a reference guide for their daily work.Full program of management essentialsThemes as varied as biosecurity, data analysis and broiler economics all had one element in common – demonstrating to students how continuous improvement in flock management techniques can maximize the performance, health and welfare of brands of Aviagen breeding stock, and increase economic returns for breeder and broiler growers.Weekly tests helped reinforce concepts learned during the month. As extra incentive, the highest scorers were recognized. This year’s top achievers were: 1st place – Byoungyoon Kim, Cherrybro, South Korea 2nd place – Ross Abraham, Gama Foods Corporation, Philippines 2nd place – Vinicius Duarte, BRF SA, Brazil 3rd place – Dr. Ahmed Gamal Elnaby, Eastern Coast Group, Saudi Arabia “We thoroughly enjoyed our time with this year’s participants in the 56th Production Management School. Students came with a broad variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and it was great to see how quickly and thoroughly they picked up on the classroom knowledge, and were able to apply it during our multiple hands-on farm, hatchery and laboratory sessions,” explained School Director Rudy Gil. “Perhaps even more rewarding was the camaraderie and idea exchanges that went on among the students – to me that is the most effective learning possible. We congratulate all students for their progress this month. It is our wish that the learning continues, as they use what they’ve learned here to promote continuous improvement and success at their home operations.”Learning with a global reachAviagen is committed to the success of customers around the world, and the company’s philosophy is that learning and the sharing of knowledge is key to this success. The company’s Production Management School in Huntsville is the first and longest-running of its kind in the poultry industry. In fact, since the school was founded in 1964 as the Arbor Acres Production Management School, more than 1,600 poultry professionals from 62 countries have successfully completed the program.Aviagen also hosts week-long, Schools focused on single subjects in various countries throughout the year. Additionally, numerous seminars, meetings and workshops are organized regularly by Aviagen teams globally as opportunities to share knowledge with customers and help them get the most from their flocks.
Alltech has appointed a new chief scientific officer to advance innovative research to improve the health and nutrition of animals, plants and people. Ronan Power has assumed the role following the retirement of Karl Dawson on June 28.Power joined the Alltech team in 1991 as the European director of research and has been closely involved in the development of Alltech’s product portfolio, including its organic selenium, Sel-Plex. He most recently served as the vice president of Alltech Life Sciences, a division dedicated to researching gut and brain health in humans.As chief scientific officer, Power will oversee more than 100 researchers worldwide, more than 20 research alliances spread over 12 countries, and four bioscience centers, located in the United States, China, the Netherlands and Ireland, where Richard Murphy leads the center’s activities.“Recent acquisitions have broadened our ability to apply solutions to any point along the food supply chain and provide transformative innovation to customers,” said Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, in a press release.“With Power at the helm of our research team, Alltech will advance into the next frontier, supporting producers as they overcome today’s challenges and work toward a Planet of Plenty.”Alltech’s key areas of scientific exploration include five divisions: Biological sciences research, led by Karina Horgan Chemistry and toxicology research, led by Alexandros Yiannikouris Life sciences research, which Ronan Power will continue to lead Monogastric research, led by Daniel Graugnard Ruminant research, led by Vaughn Holder Power will focus on innovation, furthering the development of nutrition technology that supports the agriculture industry in sustainably feeding a rising global population. “Never before has the efficient use of our planet’s resources been more critical,” said Power. “Just as Alltech was founded on the ACE principle, which commits us to the benefit of animals, consumers and the environment, those elements will continue to guide our research. We will build upon the legacy of groundbreaking scientific discovery in the lab and in the field as we work toward a more sustainable future.”Power says the speed at which technological advancements are occurring makes it difficult to determine the “next big thing,” but his team will prioritize the exploration of the biome and products that enhance energy metabolism in production animals.“At this point in time, my feeling is that exploring the functions of the gut microbiome — and other biomes, including the reproductive tract — and developing products to modulate biome activity will be an active research mine for many years to come,” said Power.Retiring after 20 years with Alltech, Dawson was introduced to the company in its early days as he developed a friendship with the late Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, in 1981.The two scientific visionaries remained in close contact during Dawson’s 20-year tenure as a professor of nutritional microbiology and director of the nutritional microbiology laboratory in the department of animal sciences at the University of Kentucky. He joined Alltech full time in 1999.“Dawson has played a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining Alltech’s position at the forefront of scientific discovery, first collaborating with my father and later joining Alltech full-time,” said Mark Lyons.In recent years, Dawson has provided leadership for nutrigenomics research initiatives, which have led to strategic programs that use epigenetic switches to more effectively control nutrient utilization and improve animal health.During Dawson’s time with the company, Alltech has fostered and supported the development of more than 200 graduate students at universities around the world. Dawson’s team has been responsible for revolutionizing many aspects of nutritional science, publishing more than 400 scientific papers and making over 600 presentations at international scientific meetings.“It has been incredible to see the progression of nutrition technology over the last 40 years,” said Dawson. “I’m extremely proud of the changes we’ve made in how the industry thinks about the impact of nutrition. The next few years will catapult us into a new dawn in agriculture and technology, and I look forward to seeing Alltech continue to lead the way.”Dawson’s partnership with Alltech will continue into his retirement, as he will chair the company’s scientific advisory board and help guide its core research areas.
With market outlook indicators pointing toward partnerships to ensure growth, Exceldor and Granny's cooperatives are combining their operations and members in a historic alliance.The main objective is to create a large cooperative that will be a leader in the poultry sector in Canada with operations in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba, while keeping its ownership in the hands of producers committed to serving their customers well from coast to coast.The move cements Exceldor's leadership in the Canadian poultry industry with annual sales now reaching $1 billion.The cooperative feels strongly that recent partnerships will allow it to improve its position within an industry that is experiencing marked changes and thus, to become an even stronger and more agile organization in a highly competitive market."By forging new alliances with business partners with whom we share a common vision and values, Exceldor is becoming a key player across Canada, enabling us to better serve our customers nationally and to generate value for our members, employees, and partners," said René Proulx, Exceldor president and CEO, in a press release.Exceldor now has more than 3,450 employees in Canada and is owned by some 400 members in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
Two egg producers from B.C. recently became the first in the province to have a Farmer Automatic Loggia aviary system. Canadian Poultry was there for the grand opening.
If you’ve been paying attention to energy efficiency developments in Canada’s poultry industry, you’ll know the name Bill Revington. Indeed, he’s had a long career as an energy efficiency innovator. As he was preparing for his April retirement from his role as general manager of farm operations at New Life Mills in Hanover, Ont., he sat down with Canadian Poultry  to reflect on his achievements, share his best tips and predictions for the future.
KFC Canada recently announced its partnership with Chicken Farmers of Canada by featuring the Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal on its products, which demonstrates the commitment of restaurants and grocery retailers who source chicken raised to the highest standards of quality and care by Canadian farmers, of which 100 per cent of KFC Canada's system supports.The Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal not only represents where the chicken comes from, but also stands for a three-fold set of exacting standards: Animal Care, ensuring chicken health and welfare on farms; On-Farm Food Safety, emphasizing cleanliness, safety and biosecurity on farms; and Sustainability, committing to sustainability efforts and farm land preservation."KFC Canada stands behind its chicken quality and taste credentials and we're proud to serve chicken that Canadians trust and love, from our classic Original Recipe buckets to our boneless Tenders," said Nivera Wallani, President and General Manager, KFC Canada, in a press release. "Featuring the Chicken Farmers of Canada Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal on our products demonstrates and reinforces not only our support for Canadian chicken farmers, but our commitment to serving chicken raised with industry-leading animal welfare, food safety and sustainability practices."Canadians will begin to see the Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal on in-store packaging and signage at KFC locations across the country, as well as on KFC Canada's social media pages and website."The Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand is synonymous with origin and quality and is a symbol for the innovation, pride, and hard work that Canadian chicken farmers put in every day," said Benoît Fontaine, Chair, Chicken Farmers of Canada. "For years, KFC Canada has demonstrated to the world that chicken partners throughout the Canadian value chain are committed to delivering on consumer expectations for food safety, animal care, and sustainability excellence.
Cobb-Vantress recently added two experts to its poultry team – Benoît Lanthier and Marlon Garcia Andrade. Both Lanthier and Andrade join the North American Technical Service Team as technical advisors with Lanthier serving Canada and Andrade serving Central America.In his new role, Lanthier will provide technical service to customers in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Prior to joining Cobb, Lanthier worked as a poultry veterinary consultant gaining experience in hatcheries, feed mills and product development, including knowledge in reducing antibiotic use in broilers.“I’m thrilled to have Dr. Lanthier join our team,” says Ken Semon, senior director of North American technical service at Cobb-Vantress. “At Cobb, we aim to provide customers with a broad array of technical support. Benoît’s veterinary background combined with his extensive knowledge of antibiotic-free programs will add value to our customers throughout Canada.”Customers in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize will have the opportunity to work with Andrade, who will be responsible for providing technical support to Cobb customers across the region. Andrade is a poultry veteran, bringing an extensive background in feed formulation, feed manufacturing and broiler management to the Cobb team.“Marlon’s background in nutrition and broiler management adds value to the level of support we have in Central America,” said Semon.“I’m delighted to have Marlon join our team, and I know his expertise will further our commitment to serving our customers.”Lanthier and Andrade join a team of experienced technical advisors who provide support to customers across North America. The team blends expertise in a broad range of poultry segments to give Cobb customers unmatched customer service.
James and Cammy Lockwood of Lockwood Farms on Vancouver Island share a deep concern about the future of the planet. This inspired the couple to become the first commercial layer farm in Canada to include black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in their poultry diet. That innovation has led to the millennials being named B.C.’s Outstanding Young Farmers in March.
The Barred Plymouth Rock is Teryn Girard’s favourite kind of chicken.
Auburn University’s National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC), a leader in poultry housing and associated technologies for more than a decade, and Tyson Foods Inc. recently announced the opening of the largest stand-alone solar powered poultry house to be operated completely off the grid. The 54-foot by 500-foot poultry house is located in Cullman County, Ala., and capable of housing 36,000 broilers.The poultry house will be one of two identical houses on Tim and Selena Butts’ farm where 5.50-pound broilers will be grown. One house will be the control house while the other will be operated exclusively by solar power, also known as Stand-Alone Solar for Poultry (SASP).“Auburn University’s NPTC will work closely with Tyson Foods and Southern Solar Systems to provide leadership in the application of solar power technology to broiler production houses,” said Paul Patterson, dean of Auburn’s College of Agriculture. “The research will provide important, new information on how solar power technology can improve environmental sustainability and profits for farmers.”The house’s power will derive from three components: the photovoltaic (PV) panel or solar cell, a battery set and a generator. On-site researchers will compare its energy use regularly with the normal operation of the twin house located next door over a 12-month cycle.The data and insights gleaned from this project will be an important next step in identifying sustainable practices and new forms of energy for the poultry industry at large.“Ultimately, this project will allow us to identify how solar houses might improve farmer profitability and bring increased efficiency to the poultry industry,” said Chip Miller, vice president of poultry live operations for Tyson Foods. “Through our partnership with Auburn University’s NPTC, we are creating a model for the future of the industry—one that is more sustainable and brings critical value and insights, previously unavailable, to poultry farmers.”“The combination of solar and batteries along with the other technologies are converting power to usable alternating current (AC) that’s identical to grid power,” said Dennis Brothers, extension specialist with NPTC. “Electricity drives all functions in poultry houses and is the largest variable cost for poultry farmers. We believe this new system may reduce costs for farmers while increasing efficiency.”The rising cost of electricity coupled with the unpredictability of long-term grid power has created an opportunity for Tyson Foods to explore solutions to help alleviate the effect of climbing prices.“Looking ahead, we are eager to evaluate the efficacy of the solar house and its impact on farmer profitability,” concluded Miller. “We expect this pilot to be the first of many, as we continue to leverage the power of collaboration to drive progress in the poultry industry.”
A new tool has emerged for broiler chicken operations seeking new ways to optimize results while keeping aligned with a full range of the latest organic, raised without antibiotics (RWA) and conventional market opportunities.New study results showcased at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting, July 15-18 in Montreal, add to a growing body of science showing the unique potential offered by ‘Yeast Bioactives’ – a new form of feed technology pioneered and introduced by Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS Inc.).“We are very pleased with the results we are seeing with this new feed technology,” says producer Mike Edwards of Edwards Family Organics near Millbank, Ont., a family-run farm that includes the broiler chicken operation where the trial was conducted. “It’s a new tool that has become a valuable part of our overall production approach – in particular, helping us to lower our bacterial challenges and promote better gut health. We’re seeing less issues. We’re achieving significant improvements in growth performance. It’s exciting to have a tool like this come into the marketplace that is eligible for use in organic.”Expanding the toolbox for chicken farmersYeast Bioactives technology, launched in late 2018, is a yeast-based innovation designed for use as a feed supplement in diets for poultry, swine and ruminants. The technology features enzymatically hydrolyzed yeast carbohydrates that offer advantages over conventional yeast cell wall supplements (the enzymatic hydrolyzation process makes the yeast carbohydrates more soluble and thus more effective).Yeast Bioactives offers benefits as an enhanced yeast technology supporting an optimal environment for animal wellness, performance and related productivity, says Paul Garvey, Poultry Sales Manager with CBS Inc. It also offers benefits as a grain management technology, helping to mitigate a number of potential threats that can undermine feed quality, animal performance, animal health and food safety. As a bio-based feed ingredient, it is the type of solution favored not only on-farm but also by major retailers and by consumers.“The poultry industry has the potential to continue as one of the most progressive and successful sectors in agriculture, but as it continues to diversify and evolve there is a strong need for new options in the toolbox at the producer level, particularly for operations targeting reduction or replacement of antimicrobial use,” says Garvey. “The results we’re seeing with Yeast Bioactives on commercial poultry farms point to this as a very effective option to support highly productive and sustainable operations across all types of production.”Helping meet today's new expectationsEdwards Family Organics is an early adopter of the Yeast Bioactives technology via Maxi-Nutrio®, which received approval for use in certified organic production in 2018 and has seen steady adoption in all forms of poultry operations. Mike and Krista Edwards, who have a young family with three children, were one of four applicant families approved as a new entrant to the industry in 2017, under the Chicken Farmers of Ontario’s New Entrant Program. Their relatively new broiler chicken operation is certified organic and places on average 17,500 birds. Mike is also Manager of Nutritional Services at Jones Feed Mills Ltd. and has over a decade of experience working in the feed and nutrition business, including with a specific focus on poultry production including supporting organic producers with the Yorkshire Valley Farms group.“Yeast Bioactives technology fits well with the unique challenges of operating under certified organic requirements,” says Edwards. “Our operation along with others using it in our organic producer association are now getting results comparable to conventional producers. A number of our producers are actually producing well ahead of the provincial averages for conventional production.”Organic results meet or exceed conventionalThe trial results unveiled at the Poultry Science Association meeting confirm advantages that the Edwards’ farm and other early adopters have seen over the past several months, while providing valuable information on dosage response, he says. “The trial data will help us drill down to the optimal rates we want to use.”The trial involved a total of 16,320 newly hatched Ross 708 broiler chicks. The study was designed to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with a commercially available Yeast Bioactives product (Maxi-Nutrio) on performance and health of broiler chickens raised under a commercial organic production system. A subsample of 360 birds were randomly selected and placed in 18 identical floor pens with 20 birds / pen for a 28 day feeding study.The experimental pens, which provided 966 cm2 per bird of floor space, were located within the barn and were fitted with individual feeders and waterers. Birds were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments with or without Maxi-Nutrio supplementation (one without, one step-down dose and one full dose). Results showed clear growth performance advantages with Maxi-Nutrio supplementation, with the most pronounced beneficial effects observed in the full dose treatment (1 kg/tonne).Feed technology built for the future“Even with the inherent stressors of an organic system, the results shown during the trial were very strong,” says Rob Patterson, CBS Inc. Technical Director. “With the rising popularity of organic and RWA approaches, and the overall shift in production approaches toward a preference for bio-based solutions, we see the adoption of this type of enhanced yeast feed technology continuing to expand. It’s an important part of our portfolio of CBS Inc. Feed Science Platforms.”
In light of climate change, it’s increasingly important for the poultry industry to consider both short and long-term strategies to reduce and manage heat stress.
As Canadian egg farmers transition their flocks from conventional cages to more spacious “furnished” cages, University of Guelph researchers have conducted a first-ever study on factors contributing to feather pecking in this new housing system and ways to prevent it.The study revealed that 22 per cent of the birds in the new cages exhibited moderate or severe feather damage that was likely due to feather pecking.Published in the journal Animals, the study found that several factors contributed to feather pecking, including genetics, lack of access to a scratching or foraging area and midnight feedings.“This study is the first in Canada – and possibly North America – to look at this issue in furnished cages, and we hope it will inform farmers about the factors involved so that they can understand the problem and develop action plans to prevent it,” said Prof. Alexandra Harlander with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, who co-authored the study with post-doctoral researcher Nienke van Staaveren.Feather pecking is destructive nipping at another hen’s feathers and occurs in all forms of housing, from conventional cages, to free-run facilities, to free-range farms. It is one of the significant challenges facing egg farmers, said Harlander.“No farmer wants to see this. It’s heartbreaking for them to see their flocks with damage to their feather cover.”It’s not clear what causes feather pecking; the best theory is that it is a form of redirected foraging behaviour, said van Staaveren.“But even in housing systems where there is a lot of substrate to peck at, it can still occur. So it’s tricky to control and something we are still trying to understand,” she said.Pecking leads to a loss of feather cover, which makes it difficult for birds to maintain their temperature and navigate their environment. What’s more, once a bird has been singled out for pecking, it becomes a target for further pecking.One of the goals of the study was to provide feather-pecking management guidance to farmers who are transitioning to alternative housing systems to meet the Egg Farmers of Canada’s call for alternative hen housing systems by 2036.For this study, the research team sent questionnaires to egg farmers across Canada who housed their chickens in furnished cages. They asked the farmers to score the feather cover of 50 of their birds on a three-point scale, to estimate the prevalence of feather damage.Of the 26 flocks, approximately 1 in 5 birds in the furnished cages exhibited moderate or severe feather damage. The factors that had the most influence on feather damage were older flock age, brown-feathered birds, midnight feedings and lack of a scratch substrate.Van Staaveren said brown birds are likely more susceptible to pecking because the stronger contrast in colour when they are pecked and drop feathers attracts further pecking.Another key factor was midnight feedings. Farmers may turn on lights at night to wake the hens and encourage feeding so they take in more calcium to increase eggshell quality and laying productivity. The study found midnight feeding was linked to more pecking, likely because awake chickens find easy pecking targets in inactive birds.prof holding a laying henProf. Alexandra HarlanderVan Staaveren said it appears the practice ends up being costly since feather pecking not only raises the mortality risk of the hens but also causes the birds to eat more to stay warm.“Although there weren’t many farmers who did midnight feedings in our study, I don’t think it’s worth the risk of disturbing your birds if it’s going to lead to these issues,” she said.What struck van Staaveren most about her team’s findings was the wide range of feather damage: some flocks had absolutely no hens with feather damage; others had lots. Most egg farmers were perplexed as to why. This emphasizes the need for farmers to regularly monitor their hens’ feather cover, said van Staaveren.“What I would really like farmers to take from this research is the need to track feather damage regularly, so they can understand what is happening with their flocks and try different methods to try to reduce damage.”
The definition of sustainability seems to vary from industry to industry. One thing each sector shares, however, is that their interpretations have evolved from a focus on environmental impacts to a broader concept that requires a multi-layered strategy. Poultry is no different.
Regina's O&T Farms Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Guelph, initiated a series of research projects focused on developmental programming in both broiler and pullet breeding stock. The purpose of the research, which started in 2017, was to determine the effects of feeding omega-3 fatty acids to breeder birds on reproductive efficiency, embryonic survival, as well as the epigenetic influence on progeny performance, development and overall health.One stage of this research aimed to evaluate the impacts of maternal and post-hatch feeding of omega-3 fatty acids on skeletal development in pullets. To test this, the University of Guelph (U of G) designed a trial in which a dry-extruded flaxseed-based omega-3 feed ingredient produced by O&T Farm was included in either the maternal diet, the post-hatch diet, or both. Reza Akbari, a PhD candidate working on the project, recently presented preliminary data at the Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada (ANCC) in Niagara Falls, Ont..His findings suggest the maternal feeding of the ingredient can significantly improve skeletal strength in young pullets by nearly 22 per cent compared to the control.“The results demonstrated effectiveness of maternal and post-hatch feeding of omega-3 fatty acid in support of skeletal strength in young pullets which can greatly reduce poor egg shell quality and skeletal maladies seen in laying hens across all housing types,” said U of G's Elijah Kiarie, assistant professor in poultry nutrition, who led the research. “The potential of omega-3 fatty acids in stimulating bone, brain, and immune cells development at embryonic through to early phases of the chick’s life could significantly improve productivity and welfare.”
What will keep the Canadian egg industry healthy and sustainable into the future? Egg Farmers of Canada’s four research chairs – an ecological economist, an animal welfare scientist, a behavioural economist and a public policy researcher – recently combined efforts to start to answer exactly that question.
Food production is an important contributor to climate change, accounting for about a quarter of carbon emissions globally.
In newly released research, scientists from The Roslin Institute have prevented the avian influenza virus from replicating in lab-grown chicken cells, suggesting that it may one day be possible to produce chickens that are resistant to the disease. The study was funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council with additional funding from Cobb-Vantress.The Roslin Institute — a world-leading center for animal science research — conducted the study last year and the results were published in eLife this week.To inhibit the avian influenza virus from replicating, the research team used gene-editing techniques to delete a section of chicken DNA inside lab-grown cells. Researchers targeted a specific molecule inside chicken cells called ANP32A, which the influenza virus takes over to help replicate itself. After removing the section of DNA responsible for producing ANP32A, the virus was no longer able to grow inside cells with the genetic change.Researchers at The Roslin Institute, in collaboration with experts from Cambridge University, previously produced chickens that did not transmit avian influenza to other chickens following infection using genetic modification techniques. This new approach is unique because it does not involve introducing new genetic material into the bird’s DNA.“This is an important advance that suggests we may be able to use gene-editing techniques to produce chickens that are resistant to avian influenza,” said Helen Sang, professor at The Roslin Institute. “We haven’t produced any birds yet and we need to check if the DNA change has any other effects on the bird cells before we can take this next step.”Avian influenza is a global threat to poultry production, accounting for the loss of millions of chickens when an outbreak occurs. Severe strains have the potential to kill entire flocks and, in rare instances, certain strains of the virus can infect people, causing serious illness. Efforts to control the spread of the disease are urgently needed.“Avian influenza resistance in broiler production is of global significance,” said Rachel Hawken, senior director of genomics and quantitative genetics at Cobb-Vantress. “This research is an important step toward that goal. It’s exciting for Cobb to be a part of exploring new technologies that could be used to advance poultry breeding in the future.”Genomic research is nothing new for Cobb, which has invested in the field for many years to select superior breeding stock using individual DNA information (not DNA alterations) and individual performance measures to calculate a measure of genetic merit. The company also participates in the investigation of many new technologies as they become available to improve their ability to produce healthy, high-performing breeding stock.“Genomics has allowed us to incorporate new programs into our research, opening new unexplored opportunities to improve our broilers for the future markets,” said Hawken. “We’re committed to serving our customers using innovative research and technology to make protein healthy and affordable to everyone.”To read the full study in eLife, visit elifesciences.org/articles/45066.
Disinfection of contaminated poultry houses following an outbreak of avian influenza is difficult and expensive. Recently, heat has been used to decontaminate facilities instead of chemical disinfectants. Researchers at the University of Delaware, led by Dr. Eric Benson, have completed a research project in which they studied the effectiveness of heat treatment under field conditions. They found that heat can be a very effective method for decontamination but has practical limitations during cold weather. As little as four inches of litter can allow viruses and bacteria to survive heat treatment when treatment is done in a commercial facility during winter.Click here to read the research summary.
Poultry Health Management School hosted its 18th year of classes on May 13-17, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. Designed as in intensive training course for on-farm poultry owners and their employees, the school teaches necropsy skills, current industry practice lectures, and applicable case studies in the areas of nutrition, housing/management, disease/diagnostics, and vaccines/medications. The 2019 theme was nutrition and the school hosted more than 200 attendees.PHMS is organized into two schools: Turkey/Broiler Health Management School and the Layer Health Management School. Since Iowa is the number one egg producing state, the PHMS steering committee decided to accommodate for increased attendance by holding two layer classes this year.“Iowa State University was pleased to host the 2019 PHMS,” said Dr. Yuko Sato, Iowa State University faculty and the 2019 PHMS host, in a press release. “This school is a tremendous opportunity for attendees to improve necropsy skills in labs taught by veterinarians, share on-farm challenges with like-minded attendees, and learn from allied industry and academic experts in poultry nutrition.”Allied industry and academic professionals donate their time and poultry expertise to further PHMS’s educational goals. In 18 years, PHMS has educated more than 2,000 attendees and reaches attendees across the country and internationally.The Poultry Health Management School executive team is comprised of six poultry academic and industry professionals: Yuko Sato, Iowa State University (2019 host); Rob Porter, University of Minnesota; R. “Mick” Fulton, Michigan State University; Darrin Karcher, Purdue University; Teresa Morishita, Western University of Health Sciences; and Ralph Stonerock, Lapama’a Farms. The school is managed by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.The 2020 schools will be hosted at the University of Minnesota, May 18-21.
Two Canadian research teams, one from the University of Guelph (U of G) and the other from the Universtiy of Montreal (U of M) conducted studies to evaluate the value of recommended biosecurity measures and sanitation procedures in the poultry industry.
Most of us are probably guilty of eating some raw cookie dough or licking the spoon when making a cake without much thought about the food safety implications.
Canada's Agriculture Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, reinforced her commitment to supply management at the Dairy Farmers of Canada AGM in Saskatoon this week.During her announcement of over $11 million of Government funding for the Dairy Research Cluster Tuesday, July 16, Bibeau touched on the Government's plan to compensate supply managed producers.The Government included a $3.9 billion compensation package in the 2019 budget, with up to $2.4 billion to sustain the incomes of producers, as well as up to $1.5 billion to protect against any reduction in quota value.They say they've been working hard with industry working groups to finalize these delivery mechanisms.For the full story, click here.
The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it has asked Canada to suspend all meat exports, a surprise move that comes amid the diplomatic dispute over the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
When companies and organizations talk about sustainability, they generally focus on three different aspects: environmental, economic and social. Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) released their Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the Canadian chicken industry in 2018, providing a glimpse of the chicken industry over the past 40 years in all three categories.
Third-generation farmer Ron Lamb remembers his father pulling six-metre-wide crop-seeding equipment around his southern Alberta grain fields in the 1990s, overlapping on each pass to make sure he covered all the ground.
This week, Canadian egg, chicken, turkey and hatching egg farmers co-hosted their annual pop-up diner in downtown Ottawa. The event is a special celebration of Canadian farming families and the system of supply management that provides year-round access to fresh, local, high-quality ingredients from coast to coast.
Canada has fired the starting gun on the race to ratify the new North American free-trade pact – but the United States is setting the pace.
Global Affairs Canada has launched public consultations on how it allocates and administers tariff rate quotas for a number of supply-managed poultry and dairy products.
Turkey Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council and Turkey Primary Processing Sector Members have together launched the first national, bilingual campaign to boost turkey consumption since 2004.
Chicken, turkey and egg producers say a big hit is coming and the federal government needs to help them adapt.
Canadians care that the eggs they choose are humanely raised, top quality, safe and produced in Canada. Very soon, a single Egg Quality Assurance (EQA) symbol on the carton, menu or package will give consumers the information they need to enjoy Canadian eggs with added confidence.
The Trudeau government is promising billions of dollars to compensate dairy, egg and poultry farmers hurt by Canada's recent free-trade agreements – industries concentrated in vote-rich Quebec and Ontario.The $3.65 billion the government is setting aside includes $2.15 billion to help farmers who lose income because of trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, both of which make it easier for foreign egg, dairy and poultry producers to enter the Canadian market.That is in addition to a $250-million, five-year fund established in 2016 to compensate dairy farmers for the European Union deal.The budget earmarks $1.5 billion for farmers who lose money when they sell their production rights in the supply-management system, which limits egg, poultry and dairy production in Canada. To gain the right to sell supply-managed products, farmers have to buy ''quota,'' often from existing producers who want to leave the industry.The system also limits foreign products by slapping steep tariffs on imports beyond a certain level, which raises their price at the grocery store and makes them less attractive to consumers. Allowing more foreign-produced food into the Canadian market will increase competition for products from Canadian farmers.''To ensure that Canada's dairy, poultry and egg farmers can continue to provide Canadians with high-quality products in a world of freer trade, we will make available an income protection program for supply-managed farmers, along with a measure to protect the value of quota investments these farmers have already made,'' Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in his prepared budget speech.The budget does not provide details on how or when the money will be distributed to farmers and producers, who have long railed against any move that would expand foreign involvement in those sectors.But the government appears to be hoping the promise of compensation will provide a salve to supply-managed farmers, many of whom are clumped in key ridings in Quebec and Ontario and angry that the deals have weakened their grip on the market.That could prove important for the Liberals, who will likely need a strong showing in the two provinces in this year's federal election to have a hope of retaining power.The budget also indicates more money could be forthcoming as the government works with industry ''to address the impacts on processing, as well as potential future impacts of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement.''''The federal government recognizes the impact of trade agreements on our sector and is following through on its commitment to support our domestic dairy industry,'' said Pierre Lampron, president of the board of directors for the Dairy Farmers of Canada.''We also welcome the government's commitment to continue the dialogue on the future impact of CUSMA on our sector.''The North American deal, which will succeed NAFTA, has yet to be ratified and come into effect. That deal is the third free-trade agreement in which Canada agreed to open its supply-managed sectors, which emerged last year as a favourite target of U.S. President Donald Trump, particularly the dairy sector.Supply management has long been hotly debated in Canada.Proponents say the system keeps the market from getting saturated, which keeps prices stable and ensures steady incomes for farmers while protecting food safety, ensuring higher-quality products and eliminating the need for direct subsidies.Critics say it drives up the cost of dairy, eggs and chicken for consumers, which has a disproportionate impact on low-income families. The system has been a frequent target in – and barrier to – past free-trade negotiations.Successive federal governments for decades nonetheless resisted opening Canada to more tariff-free imports from other countries, in part because of the political implications.But when Stephen Harper was prime minister, the Conservatives opened the door to change when they agreed to ease restrictions on European cheese imports through the Canada-European Union trade deal, which was signed and came into force under the Trudeau Liberals.Ottawa then agreed, in the 11-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, to give participants more access to Canada's dairy, egg and poultry markets.
Meat consumption in North America is changing. Product developers and policy-makers need to understand the reasons for that change. 

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