Interest in the possible implementation of a net energy system is very high in the industry, with an overwhelming turn up by nutrition professionals to a recent Poultry CRC Net Energy and Modelling Workshop held in Sydney, Australia. CEO at the Australian Poultry CRC Mingan Choct explains how the meeting went.
Organised by Poultry CRC Program Manager, Dr Tim Walker, the workshop included presentations by several nutritionists. Being a nutritionist myself and Poultry CRC CEO, I talked about the basics of the net energy system, highlighting the practical challenges and potential opportunities for the poultry industry if a net energy system is implemented.
When asked why it has taken seventy years since the work of G.S. Fraps in the 1940s, I countered that today, more than ever, every gram of feed saved counts, as we are looking to produce more from less, sustainably. Energy is the most expensive part of poultry feed and a net energy system will be a step forward from the current default system of feed energy measurement, i.e., the metabolisable energy system.
Another presentation was given by Dr David Cadogan from Feedworks, who spoke about his experience in using a net energy system in formulating pig diets. In many parts of the world, the pork industry uses a net energy system for feed formulation. “It does not give you an advantage every time, but overall it gives real benefit in cost of production most of the time, which is good enough for me”, said Dr Cadogan.
The final presentation was given by Mr Greg Hargreave of Baiada Poultry, a highly respected industry nutritionist who demonstrated the use of modelling (the EFG Model) in the poultry industry.
The attendees of the workshop were wowed by the rigour of the model in predicting broiler feed intake and growth under various scenarios, and the potential of combining a modelling approach with actual measurements of net energy values of feedstuffs. “I have been using the EFG (Emmans, Fisher and Gous) Model for some years to help me determine practical challenges and devise strategies to improve production efficiency”, said Mr Hargreave.
The Australian Egg Corporation's Program Manager for R&D, Dr Angus Crossan, commended the positive, collaborative nature of the workshop. "With this momentum surrounding net energy, AECL sees a strong opportunity for the egg industry to invest in, develop and integrate net energy into diet formulation. The benefits for egg producers will include better use of resources, meaning increased profit and improved ability to manage growing demands in grain and issues of feed availability," said Dr Crossan.
A collaborative project between the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and the Poultry CRC will commence in early 2011 to determine the net energy values of common feed ingredients used in Australia using 24 closed-circuit calorimeters, which are being constructed at the University of New England, Australia.