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CPRC Update: December 2009

Environmental Research


December 18, 2009
By CPRC

Topics

“The environment” is one of Canada’s poultry research priority areas.
It is a broad topic area that considers both the impact of poultry
production on the outdoor environment and the effect of the indoor barn
environment on poultry and people. The following is an overview of
recent environmental research supported by the Canadian Poultry
Research Council (CPRC).

“The environment” is one of Canada’s poultry research priority areas. It is a broad topic area that considers both the impact of poultry production on the outdoor environment and the effect of the indoor barn environment on poultry and people. The following is an overview of recent environmental research supported by the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC).

Spreading and  incorporating manure
Dr. Claude Laguë at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and collaborators Joy Agnew (U of S) and Hubert Landry (Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute) developed a precision land applicator that can apply and incorporate a variety of solid and semi-solid manures (including poultry manure) and other organic fertilizers in a single pass. The applicator distributes manure much more uniformly than commercial manure spreaders. Spreading and incorporating in one pass saves time and fuel compared to performing the two operations separately. It also significantly reduces odour emissions; however, there is a trade-off in that greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions increase with injection compared to surface application. Further prototype refinements may one day provide poultry producers with another option to handle manure on their farms.

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Veterinary pharmaceuticals
When animals are given medications such as antimicrobials and coccidiostats (collectively referred to as veterinary pharmaceuticals, or VPs), residues can sometimes be found in their manure and wind up in the environment when the manure is spread on agricultural land. Drs. Shiv Prasher and Xin Zhao at McGill University, and Dr. Ciro Ruiz-Feria of Texas A&M University, measured the movement of three coccidiostats through soil and water. Their work demonstrated that some VPs can persist in soil for relatively long periods of time. Others can move quickly through the soil and show up in drainage water. The data collected in this study are being tested against a mathematical model designed to predict movements of VPs in soil and water. It is hoped that information gathered during ongoing work will lead to Best Management Practices designed to minimize any negative effects of VPs on the environment. Work is also underway to determine the biological significance of VP residues in soil and water.
 

Calcium and  phosphorus
Drs. James France and Steve Leeson at the University of Guelph and Dr. Ermias Kebreab at the University of Manitoba developed a mathematical model to describe and predict calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) flows in layer chickens. A working model will help industry (producers, nutritionists, etc.) make dietary and management decisions that will help optimize Ca intake and reduce P excretion in manure. This work has the potential to decrease dietary input costs and maximize layer productivity, all while reducing the environmental impact of commercial layer production.

Workplace exposures
There is relatively little information available on the exposure of poultry workers to environmental contaminants. Drs. A.(Sentil) Senthilselvan, Irene Wenger, Nicola Cherry, John Feddes, and Jerry Beach at the University of Alberta examined worker exposure to environmental contaminants during various tasks performed in layer and broiler operations. Results suggest that long-term exposures to ammonia and carbon dioxide for workers in these barns are below accepted safe industry standards. Dust levels are relatively high in poultry barns, however, and workers are reminded to use N95 or comparable respirators to reduce their exposure to and minimize risks from dust.

Future work
New work supported by CPRC under the Environment program includes development of novel products from low-value waste that might otherwise require disposal. CPRC is working with potential funding partners to initiate a study that will measure emissions of particulate matter, ammonia and gaseous contaminants produced through the entire production cycle – from barns, manure storage facilities and land application of manure. In April 2010, CPRC will be calling for new research proposals that will help minimize the poultry industry’s environmental footprint.

For more details on any CPRC activities, please contact Gord Speksnijder at The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 483 Arkell Road, R.R. #2, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 6H8, phone: 289-251-2990, fax: 519-837-3584, e-mail: info@cp-rc.ca, or visit us at www.cp-rc.ca .


The membership of the CPRC consists of the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, the Turkey Farmers of Canada, the Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.


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