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Poultry World edition 3 of 2021 now online

This edition of Poultry World looks into the first Egg Farmers of Canada Sustainability Report, which sets out a blueprint for how the industry can build on current practises. Then, researchers have determined that higher bone quality is related to higher blood phosphate levels and less to higher blood calcium levels. And in the US, several major food companies have been exposed for failing to meet their public commitments to source 100% cage-free eggs.

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Blueprint for sustainable egg production

The first Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) Sustainability Report has been released and sets out a blueprint for how the industry can build on current practises, putting egg farming at the forefront of sustainable agriculture. It presents ways in which egg farmers are making changes and highlights recent advances.

Compared to 5 years ago, 50% more eggs are now being produced in Canada while the sector’s overall environmental footprint is 50% smaller. Photo: Peter Roek
Compared to 5 years ago, 50% more eggs are now being produced in Canada while the sector’s overall environmental footprint is 50% smaller. Photo: Peter Roek

US food companies under pressure

Many major food companies in the US have committed to moving to cage-free eggs. In its annual 2020 Egg Track report, Compassion in World Farming reported that of the 210 companies tracked, around 63% had made progress toward their commitments. Those who have failed to meet their commitments have been exposed with growing pressure on the industry.

In 2019, 24% (80 million birds) of all hens were cage-free. This is up from 4% in 2010 and 12% in 2016. Photo: Bert Jansen
In 2019, 24% (80 million birds) of all hens were cage-free. This is up from 4% in 2010 and 12% in 2016. Photo: Bert Jansen

Desperate times call for desperate measures

The Covid-19 pandemic caused the closure of the food service sector in New Zealand and resulted in a steep drop in demand for eggs. Chris Martin, owner of Wairarapa egg farm and its flock of 24,000 free-range birds, explains the oversupply in the country and shares his experience.

Desperate measures had to be taken at the Wairarapa egg farm in the face of a slump in demand. Photo: Chris McCullough
Desperate measures had to be taken at the Wairarapa egg farm in the face of a slump in demand. Photo: Chris McCullough

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Pulsed UV light to decontaminate eggs

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers have discovered that pulsed ultraviolet light can kill pathogens on eggshells. In the US, 9% of all foodborne illnesses are associated with eggs, so reducing the microbial load on eggshells means that foodborne illness outbreaks associated with eggs and poultry meat can be reduced.

This technology may have the potential to achieve equal/greater microbial reductions in the absence of water and/or other chemical sanitisers and decontaminants currently available. Photo: Penn State
This technology may have the potential to achieve equal/greater microbial reductions in the absence of water and/or other chemical sanitisers and decontaminants currently available. Photo: Penn State

Understanding gut health and mycotoxin interaction

Effective mycotoxin management requires looking at the unavoidable problem in its entirety, from the farm all the way to the feed mill and from risk assessment to feed management. Alltech examines and explains this approach, and the significant role of the bird’s gastrointestinal tract, which is the first barrier against ingested chemicals, contaminants and toxins.

Modern poultry breeds are particularly susceptible to warming temperatures. Photo: Phytobiotics
Modern poultry breeds are particularly susceptible to warming temperatures. Photo: Phytobiotics

Russia places hope on Smena-9 breeders

It is anticipated that Russia’s new broiler crossbreed, the Smena-9, will be patented by the end of the year. Could this mean that the country’s dependence on expensive imports of breeding stock is in sight?

The Smena-9 has apparently proven its effectiveness in field trials, and the meat from this crossbreed promises to have better taste and health properties. Photo: Vladislav Vorotnikov
The Smena-9 has apparently proven its effectiveness in field trials, and the meat from this crossbreed promises to have better taste and health properties. Photo: Vladislav Vorotnikov

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Looking at sulphur and sulphate levels in poultry diets

Sulphur, in its organic form, is essential for protein synthesis in poultry. Elevated intake, however, could lead to toxicity and can result in poor growth, disturbed ovary function and wet litter issues.

Higher phosphate level better for bone formation

Recent research has uncovered that it is not calcium but rather the phosphate level that has a significant correlation with bone formation.

Researchers determined that higher bone quality is related to higher blood phosphate levels and less to higher blood calcium levels. Photo: GVP Emmen
Researchers determined that higher bone quality is related to higher blood phosphate levels and less to higher blood calcium levels. Photo: GVP Emmen

Managing heat stress

Modern, highly productive breeds of poultry are more prone to heat stress. This can result in reduced feed intake, and there is also a strong link between heat stress and intestinal inflammation. This is becoming increasingly challenging for the industry as temperatures continue to rise. Could innovative, plant-based nutritional solutions offer value during hot weather?

Modern poultry breeds are particularly susceptible to warming temperatures. Photo: Phytobiotics
Modern poultry breeds are particularly susceptible to warming temperatures. Photo: Phytobiotics

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Improving shell quality and egg quantity with the right minerals

During an online seminar, Trouw Nutrition’s global programme manager for trace minerals, Alice Hibbert, explained how precision trace minerals play a key role in optimal performance of laying hens. Poultry World editor Fabian Brockötter delves into the details.

In commercial layer production, eggshell quality and the number of eggs produced are key performance indicators. This is where trace minerals come into play. Photo: Ton Kastermans
In commercial layer production, eggshell quality and the number of eggs produced are key performance indicators. This is where trace minerals come into play. Photo: Ton Kastermans

Inflammation and immune activity cost energy

The chicken’s gut is a complex ecosystem in which commensals and pathogens live in dynamic antagonistic interactions. Inflammation may result from any alteration or disruption to these relationships, causing energy-consuming imbalances.

A trial compared the effects of a wood lignan product to either a negative control or positive control with the commonly used AGP Virginiamycin in a corn/soybean diet. Photo: Agromed
A trial compared the effects of a wood lignan product to either a negative control or positive control with the commonly used AGP Virginiamycin in a corn/soybean diet. Photo: Agromed

Fresh and responsibly produced meat matter most

Most Colombian millennials choose poultry meat that is natural, fresh, and produced with animal welfare in mind, according to a recent consumer survey. This report is significant as millennials worldwide are considered influential consumers because of their purchasing power and interest in food, health, and well-being.

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