A list of international experts were present at the region’s first Duck Meat Quality Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 13 and 14, 2019. Organized by Asian Agribiz and its Asian Poultry Magazine, the event, was a collaboration with the Department of Animal Science at Kasetsart University.
The conference included two-days of technical presentations featuring 16 expert duck industry speakers and 20 presentations that covered among others, opportunities for duck meat cuisine, fundamentals of duck science, genetics & breeding, nutrition & feeding and processing and marketing.
On the sidelines, was another first – a duck Quality Cooking competition, another first for the organizer and the region, which drew much interest from those present as well as onlookers. (see report)
Focused genetics and research
Dr Hans-Heinrich Thiele from Germany together with Chaiyapoom Bunchasak, Assistant Professor at Kasetsart University of Thailand, addressed the fundamentals of duck genetics and breeding science. Dr Thiele explained that in genetics and breeding, producers seek a number of values such as laying performance, fertility, feed efficiency, meatiness and overall productivity.
“These are the traits that we work on in genetic selection,” Dr Thiele said. “We respond to the needs of producers who in turn looking for what their markets demand.”
Assistant Professor Bunchasak added that breast meat development in ducks yields better after 42 days and suggested that ducks be harvested after this period if breast meat yield is what is sought.
Advances and innovations of duck egg handling concerning profitability was explained by Jacco Wagelaar, General Manager of GI-Ovo BV of the Netherlands, a company that specializes in designing and producing dedicated and safe packaging for the egg industry.
“Up to 10% of all duck eggs get cracked in storage or transportation due to the use of wrong type of tray and no uniform way of transportation.” Mr Wagelaar suggested use of stacks that don’t exceed 120 eggs and crates for smaller volumes.
“Furthermore, stacking trays too high add weight and pressure to the eggs below. Also bad roads and manual handling are often the cause of damaged eggs,” added Mr Wagelaar. He urged producers to invest in reliable trays designed specifically for duck eggs to maintain the integrity of the eggs, and to help improve their profitability as well as reduce labor and transport costs.
A versatile meat
For foodies and further processors who attended the conference, Rob Gosney, a Protein Product Development and Innovation Advisor, explained the amazing versatility, benefits and opportunities that duck meat has to offer.
Mr Gosney has launched many new meat and poultry products in Asia and Australia. “It is an interesting red meat protein and new to many chefs, customers and consumers,” he explained. “Duck meat is a premium meat and so offers higher menu prices and margins; it’s tasty and nutritious, versatile for all menus and cuisines; high in iron, vitamin B and selenium; and the industry is committed to future growth and sustainability,” he concluded.
One of the topic highlights of the conference was the impact of feeding insect meals and live insect on duck performance and meat quality by Professor Achille Schiavone of the University of Torino in Italy. The questions that lingered on many people’s minds was whether insects contain health benefits and if diets containing insects can promote animal health.
Dr Schiavone addressed its growing popularity in duck diets saying insect meal offers 40-70% of protein requirement in diets and has also been found to contain natural antibiotics. “Studies have shown that insect meal is a good substitute for fishmeal and soybean meal. It’s inclusion in duck diets has no impact on meat quality neither does it affect the fat deposit composition,” said Dr Schiavone.
Effective networking at conferences can be helpful for one’s business and can even be a little fun, so proved the first Duck Meat Quality Conference.
“It is a very good networking opportunity because I learnt a lot also from talking to people. Duck production is quite big in Asia. I am from the Netherlands so for me it’s relatively new. Here I had the unique possibility to learn a lot from experts and scientists in a very short time regarding duck feeding and production,” Gerry Oude Elferink, Director of Poultry Nutrition & Support Asia of De Heus said.
Veronica Desenzani, Sales Manager of Giordano Poultry Plast Italy found “the conference very professional with interesting presentations from experts and scientists from duck breeding companies. We were able to introduce our farming equipment and offer suggestions on egg handling. We even had the possibility to display our products so that people could view, touch and collect some of the samples.”
“The best part was on duck nutrition as I specifically work in the nutrition field in Indonesia,” feed formulator Sonata Lingga from PT Malindo Feedmill Tbk. explained. “Indonesia is just starting to grow its duck production so it’s quite new to me in terms of duck diets.”
Dr Hans-Heinrich Thiele from Germany, an expert on genetics added: “I enjoyed the conference very much. We did not only have the opportunity to introduce our field work but what is also important for us, is to speak to producers and to make sure they understand what we do in terms of genetics. To get feedback from them helps us adjust our work.”
Being a highly anticipated speaker on the duck meat conference, CPF introduced its emerging market for the new generation emphasizing on sustainability and ready-to-eat duck meal products. Its initiatives in modernizing duck production has grown in leaps and bounds.
From a free-range model prior to 1986, the company now operates environment-controlled houses with evaporative cooling. “We are moving towards smart farms with robotics and artificial intelligence in the near future,” said Payungsak S.tanagul, Vice President Technical Services CPF.
“There are five key drivers of our meat duck farming practices and these include a fully vertical integration to ensure food safety & hygiene; quality feed and good biosecurity; globally acknowledged standards and the use of sound technology.”
Opening its doors towards modernization, Indonesia’s duck breeding and farming sector still has a long way to go, said Hardi Prasetyo of PT Putra Perkasa Genetika.
While there have been some inroads into Intensification and development of commercial breeding farms in recent years, a large sector of the industry in Indonesia is still focused on duck egg production rather than on broiler ducks,” said Mr Hardi. However, he said that demand for duck meat has grown in the past 10 years, although the production system is not structured.
On many counts, this first Duck Meat Quality Conference that attracted more than 120 delegates from 14 countries and sponsored by Global Nutrition, GI-Ovo, CP Foods and Bangkok Ranch, was an immense success.