Customer concerns about animal welfare traits in laying hens and turkeys has led to further evolution of the animal breeding industry.
Hendrix Genetics said there had been some notable changes seen in the traits that support animal welfare. Examples include leg strength in turkeys or behavioural traits in laying hens, which allow them to live in open systems.
Victor Santiago, Hendrix Genetics corporate marketing and communications manager, said the traits posed new challenges when compared to traditional ones like feed efficiency and final weight, which have been the tried and tested measurement methods in the past.
Mr Santiago said a team of scientists was working on a range of projects that utilised the latest technology from genomic selection to artificial intelligence to measure new traits like those related to welfare. “A prime example of this is the advanced systems being used to equip turkeys with sensors that are picked up by recording equipment to see how well they are walking.”
Mr Santiago added that as the needs of the protein value chain change, Hendrix Genetics needed to be both proactive and adaptable. “We need to ensure that from the first step in the selection process, we get it right – whether it be new technology, collaboration with customers or partnerships in the industry, we will continue to invest in new technology and methods that meet the needs of the animal protein sector.”