Broiler Feed Quality Conference 2021 – Day 4 highlights

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The final segment of Asian Agribiz’s Broiler Feed Quality Conference 2021 was themed ‘How to manage and evaluate your efforts to produce AGP-free chicken. Presenters shared updates on production systems, chick quality, the importance of measurement and what future technologies are on the horizon. Meanwhile Dr Tamsyn Crowley concluded her special four-part focus on bird stress.

Producers should commit to AGP-free production
Amid challenges in AGP-free production, poultry producers should start with a commitment that it can be done. “The more you commit to it, the more success you will get and probably faster too,” said Derek Detzler, Global Technical Services Manager at Jefo Nutrition. Producers should implement it with feed and alternatives in their region. He warned, however, that coccidiosis control is critical when removing AGP in production. He noted that AGP-free production is increasing. In the US, about 60% of broilers are raised without antibiotics, with producers using alternatives, coccidiosis vaccine, and others.

The importance of early chick feeding
Giving chicks immediate access to feed will give them a two-day performance advantage and a significant meat yield advantage at processing. Greg Hargreave, an independent poultry production consultant, said nursery systems allow producers to provide better feed with higher specs and a highly digestible diet over the first two days of life. They can also ask hatcheries to reduce the hatch window to lessen the time birds are without feed. Moreover, they must understand hatchery limitations and eliminate breeder flock problems. “Use seven-day weights or look at hatch weights that are 4.5-5 times at seven days to assess potential performance improvements,” he said.

Managing feed variability and improving bird performance
To improve bird performance, producers must avoid feed variability by understanding and managing ingredient characteristics, feed manufacturing practices, and nutrient matrix values. Greg Hargreave said near-infrared spectroscopy technology provides an economic opportunity to accurately define ingredient nutrient values from large amounts of analytical data. Statistical approaches are required to understand and manage the variability of available ingredients. “Standard deviation should be incorporated as ingredient nutrient value, so that expected mixed feed variation can be estimated and used as a management tool to reduce feed and bird performance variation,” he said.