WALPOLE, N.H. — An effort is currently underway to advance the research and development base of Hubbard in Walpole, N.H. This planned improvement is made possible by a $10 million investment following the acquisition of Hubbard by the Aviagen Group in February 2018.
The project will involve adding, expanding and modernizing the pedigree farm base and hatchery with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The effort will profit Hubbard customers in the U.S. and internationally by boosting the performance, health and welfare of its conventional male and female broiler breeder lines.
The upgrade of the Walpole facilities is slated for completion by the end of 2020, and will enable Hubbard to triple its pedigree program in the U.S. Additionally, the work force of Hubbard facilities in Walpole will also be tripled, as new jobs have been added and recruitment for new positions is in progress.
Investing in technology
To increase the accuracy of genetic selection methods, the Hubbard farms and hatcheries will add the latest technology and techniques — which are also used in Aviagen research and development facilities — to further progress bird performance.
An example is advanced 3D imaging to improve selection for skeletal health, meat yield and quality. And, the Walpole facilities will incorporate Lifetime Feed Conversion Ratio (LFCR) technology — a method that observes FCR and feeding behavior during a bird’s lifetime in order to aid selection for birds that are the most efficient in converting feed to body weight.
Great strides in FCR improvements in recent years means that less feed (which is the single highest cost in poultry production) is needed to produce healthy and productive birds, the company noted.
The Hubbard poultry story actually began in the early 1900s, when Ira Hubbard and his sons started a poultry farm in Walpole. The family then partnered with the University of New Hampshire, the alma mater of all three Hubbard brothers, for genetic selection, and together the partnership resulted in a genetically selected strain of poultry.
This line was able to resist disease greatly enhancing poultry production during that time in history, thus setting the pace for genetic development that has led to improvement in traits such as robustness and livability throughout generations, the company added.
Aviagen notes that it has a strong commitment to continuous and balanced breeding improvement in common with Hubbard. Although they operate as two separate companies, Aviagen and Hubbard share knowledge, expertise, technology and resources that they leverage to promote the success of their customers around the world.
Another major goal of both companies is to secure the global supply of quality breeding stock, officials noted. The Walpole facilities follow strict biosecurity standards, and an additional biosecurity advantage is their relative geographical isolation from other poultry in the country.
“This investment in Hubbard’s research and development will further enhance an already-proven portfolio of conventional broiler breeds. It will help streamline our supply, not only for our international markets, but also to the U.S., which remains the largest broiler industry in the world,” said Olivier Rochard, global managing director, Hubbard. “At Hubbard, we’re proud to be part of the Aviagen Group. Our customers around the world will greatly benefit from the combined synergies of two companies that work daily to champion the success of their businesses and the health, well-being and performance of their birds.”
More information can be obtained at www.hubbardbreeders.com.