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Experts Agree Optimising Nutrition is Key to Poultry Industry’s Future

[Beijing, CHINA] – More than 125 poultry nutritionists and industry professionals gathered in Beijing, China, to attend the 2012 Alltech Poultry Summit. The three day event ventured into a world of opportunities and challenges by exploring the interplay of nutrition and genetics, examining the practices of several highly successful poultry regions and seeking to solutions to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. Leading industry experts, academics and nutritionists from around the world agreed that optimising nutrition is key to protecting the future of the poultry industry.

“It’s not what you feed but when you feed it,” said Dr. Peter Ferket of North Carolina State University, as he highlighted the importance of in-ovo feeding and Programmed Nutrition, Alltech’s revolutionary feeding strategy developed through nutrigenomics, in influencing poultry traits. “One of the most exciting things associated with early nutrition and the ability to alter gene expression through timed delivery of key nutrients is that we can enhance not only the bird’s health but their ability to utilise nutrients properly.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Steve Leeson from the University of Guelph, Canada, discussed how to define energy requirements of the modern broiler. “The broiler has been bred to be an eating machine,” said Leeson. “As we reduce the energy content of poultry feed, we can often make more money even though classical FCR increases, because our energy efficiency is improving.”

Dr. Xugang Luo, professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), discussed broiler mineral requirements, drawing on a study conducted by the CAAS on the effects of manganese and zinc.  “We need to be very careful understanding the difference between the form of mineral and the bioavailability,” said Dr. Lou. “Strong chelation does not mean optimal broiler performance.”

Dr. Alison Leary, technical manager for Alltech Asia-Pacific, offered some practical advice on mineral nutrition as she discussed the benefits of feeding organic, bioplexed minerals “It is essential that we feed the right form of mineral and that we feed a form that is organic,” said Leary. “The use of more efficacious forms of key trace minerals will lead to more optimal feeding levels that will not only benefit animal performance but will also lead to reduced residues in the environment.”

Agreeing with Leary, Dr. Todd Applegate, professor at Purdue University, reiterated the importance of “choosing carefully,” understanding what a product does and where in the gut it is most active.

Dr. Guilian Zhou of Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences shared with delegates her insights into the unique balance between genetics and nutrition with her analysis of the slower growing yellow feathered chicken. While Dr. Fernando Rutz, professor of Pelotas Federal University, drew on the new recommendations of the Brazilian committee for amino acids and other nutrients. “These tables of amino acid requirements are adjusted to present us with not only the real variation that exists in soybean meal and corn, but provides us formulas that allows the nutritionists to establish the  requirements of the birds based on their real conditions,”  said Rutz.

A concluding panel discussion offered some practical advice as to how the poultry industry can keep up with the increasing demand for poultry meat and also stay profitable. Panellists discussed what lies ahead for the poultry industry and the solutions needed to formulate for optimal health and maximum performance.

The 2012 Poultry Summit was closed by Alltech’s vice president Aidan Connolly, "In our rapidly changing world, few areas of the food chain are changing as fast as poultry production. Global poultry producers face a number of challenges that are forcing them to reconsider their strategies. Demand for fuel, food and other commodities including poultry will only continue to spike as China’s population and wealth increases. Adoption of technologies and smarter ways to ensure precise nutrition is not optional anymore, but necessary to provide the industry with the required arsenal to succeed in this new environment.”