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Ground Broken for New Atlantic Canadian Centre for Poultry Research

For New Atlantic Canadian Centre


January 15, 2008
By Dan Woolley

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After a prolonged gestation period, the Atlantic Canadian Centre forPoultry Research (ACCPR) will soon be under construction at the NovaScotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in Truro N.S.  On December 7, 2005,the sod was officially turned at the site of the $10 million project.

After a prolonged gestation period, the Atlantic Canadian Centre for Poultry Research (ACCPR) will soon be under construction at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in Truro N.S.   On December 7, 2005, the sod was officially turned at the site of the $10 million project. 

Dr Bruce Rathgeber, an NSAC poultry science professor, says the Canadian Foundation for Innovation contributed 40 percent of the $5.3-million initially estimated to build the new poultry research facilities.

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That was five years ago, but since then the ACCPR project grew in size and cost, said Rathgeber.  Recently, the Nova Scotia government came forth with the required extra support, and additional funds arrived from all four Atlantic provincial governments, the national and regional feather industries and individual donors.

Dr. Derek Anderson, the NSAC’s Atlantic Poultry Research Institute chairman, observes there have been discussions over the past 16 years about replacing the existing poultry research facilities, built in the mid-1960s.

Rathgeber, collaborating with Dr. Fred Silversides, a former federal government poultry research scientist working at the NSAC, “carried the torch on this,” said Anderson, through initial design and into fundraising.

Anderson sees the new ACCPR as a training ground to supply Atlantic Canada’s poultry industry with highly-trained personnel, and to build the industry’s collaboration with research at the NSAC.

He observed: “As a friend of mine in the egg sector has been known to say: This is truly a Grade A day.” 

The replacement program for NSAC poultry research facilities shifted into high gear five years ago after the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) judged the college’s poultry infrastructure as “unacceptable.”

Rathgeber notes the CCAC, which regulates animal research in Canada, said that new facilities were required or poultry research at the NSAC would have to cease.

 The current facilities have poor environmental and entrance controls, and lack modern biosecurity requirements, such as accommodation for visitors and showers to allow college workers to decontaminate themselves.

Rathgeber says the ACCPR will also have a strong nutritional focus in its poultry research.  At present, the Atlantic Poultry Research Institute (APRI) has only a limited capacity to prepare feed as it is now done commercially.

In 1997, after Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) curtailed its poultry research at the Kentville, N.S. station, the NSAC received Kentville’s pellet preparation machinery.

The machinery will now be installed as part of the ACCPR’s poultry feeding program.

Rathgeber notes the expanded feed mill will have a new pellet mill with a steam generator and greater small batch capacity.

AAFC will also have a research scientist at the ACCPR to examine nutrition with a focus on reducing production costs while improving product quality.

Ratheberger believes the ACCPR will not only be “light-years ahead” of what preceded it, but will also be “the envy of poultry researchers elsewhere in Canada.”

He adds the ACCPR will be one of the few Canadian university facilities conducting turkey research.

A new 2,300 sq. ft., 8,000 egg incubation capacity hatchery, which will be
CFIA-approved, will be at least one half mile away from the ACCPR’s production facilities.
Ratheberger said the 4,500 sq. ft. meat processing area will have federally-inspected slaughter facilities, refrigerated and frozen product storage, plus refrigerated lab space for food safety and meat quality research. Grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the N.S. Research and Innovation trust purchased the new food safety and meat quality equipment.

The poultry research centre will also have total environmental control and monitoring of three 800 sq. ft. rooms for raising 960 broilers or 560 turkeys per room.  The centre will contain eight rooms for environmental studies and a metabolism room for nutrient research. 

Its egg production area will also have eight environmental study rooms, total control and computer monitoring, fully-automatic egg collection, feeding and manure removal, plus more housing for hatchery egg production.

The ACCPR will be able to dry and compost manure for nutrient management research. It will also have an interpretive centre with enhanced biosecurity for visitors.

Altogether the centre’s new facilities will cover about 3,000 square metres or 32,293 sq. ft. – “substantially larger” than the two present structures it will replace, says Rathgeber. 
The ACCPR will have its grand opening in 2007.