Thursday, February 29, 2024

Poultry industry challenges addressed through continued research investment

By Nath Morris U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

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TUCKER, Ga. — Persisting challenges such as avian influenza, animal welfare, regulatory complexities, and food safety pose formidable obstacles for the poultry and egg industry. Yet, over the years, our industry has confronted and overcome many related, difficult challenges. Reflecting on the inception of our legacy initiatives, such as the inaugural research project addressing Gumboro disease at Auburn University in 1963, it becomes evident that while the research program has evolved, adapted and modernized, its enduring impact continues to benefit the entire poultry and egg industry.

Since the establishment of our Comprehensive Research Program, USPOULTRY has channeled $36+ million dollars into the industry through research grants. Over the years, grants have been disbursed to more than 50 universities, federal institutions and state facilities. Today, the Comprehensive Research Program incorporates the entire spectrum of poultry and egg production and processing. A committee of 15 diligent industry professionals assess every proposal and make their recommendation to the USPOULTRY board for final approval and funding.

Research priorities, established through feedback from the industry, the board and the committee, are reviewed every two years and are used as a guide to ultimately direct meaningful and impactful projects. This underscores another crucial facet of our history – the invaluable contribution of dedicated volunteers in fulfilling our mission.

Furthermore, the USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative was created several years ago at the direction of the boards of USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation to address current issues facing the poultry industry. Operating alongside the Comprehensive Research Program, the USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative augments the great success of the existing program by focusing additional resources toward specific areas of research.

This year, our Board of Directors, comprised of 27 committed volunteers from the broiler, turkey and egg industries, approved 10 research grants through the Comprehensive Research Program. The Board’s selection process offers an industry outlook on significant challenges confronting our industry and where USPOULTRY should focus its collective efforts.

These efforts encompass the following key areas:

· Development of Live Attenuated Vaccine for Reoviruses Causing Arthritis and Hepatitis in Turkeys.

· Development of Vaccines for the Control of Chicken Spotty Liver Disease.

· Detection and Control of Processing-Tolerant Campylobacter on Broiler Carcasses.

· Developing a Multispecies Bacterial Vaccine for Protection Against Bacterial Chondronecrosis with Osteomyelitis Lameness for Broilers.

· Assessing the Physiological Stressors Due to Injection of Nitrogen During Ventilation Shutdown Plus Heat for Depopulation of Laying Hens.

· DNA Immunization as a Safe and Economical Vaccination Strategy Against Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV) to Enhance Mucosal Protection in Primary Sites of Infection.

· Use of Qualitative and Quantitative Microbial Data to Determine if Turkey Pre-Chill and Post-Chill Sampling Are Predictive of Salmonella enterica Contamination in Ground Turkey.

· Discovery of Novel Anthelmintic Resistance Genes to Reduce Production Loss Caused by Blackhead Disease.

· Control of Enterococcus cecorum Through Identifying Its Dynamics of Adaptation to the Chickens and Its Environment.

· Identifying a New Pre-Harvest Gold Standard Salmonella Sampling Strategy to Predict Salmonella Burden on Broiler and Turkey Flocks Arriving for Processing.

Our Board of Directors also approved funding for two Board Research Initiative research grants. The grants address the following current issues.

· Investigation into the Contributions of Rooster, Hens and Social Dynamics on the Reduced Hatchability in Broiler Breeders.

· Updated Decision Support Tool for Supplemental Heat Requirements in Barn Depopulation During an HPAI Outbreak.

Research and science have played a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the sustainable and resourceful poultry and egg industry that we have become. Ongoing emphasis on these research priorities, as well as other noteworthy areas that may emerge, will continue to steer our direction into the future.

Nath Morris is president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association with headquarters in Tucker, Ga.

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