Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Research helps address poultry industry challenges

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By John Starkey

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

Special to Poultry Times

TUCKER, Ga. — Regulatory burdens, food safety concerns, animal welfare issues, the need for more young leaders in our industry . . . all of these areas can be daunting when you consider the challenges facing our industry. However, our industry has tackled and overcome many similar, difficult challenges throughout the years.

So, the question we are faced with as an association is: Which of these challenges can U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) best address through its mission areas?

Research has long been a keystone of our efforts to serve the poultry industry. Since the inception of our research program, USPOULTRY has reinvested more than $33 million dollars into the industry in the form of research grants. More than 50 universities and federal and state facilities have received grants over the years.

Our Comprehensive Research Program dates to the early 1960s when funds were first approved for poultry disease research. It gradually grew into an all-inclusive program incorporating all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

A few years ago, the USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative was created by the boards of USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation to address current issues facing the poultry industry. The USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative operates alongside the current USPOULTRY Comprehensive Research Program and augments the great success of the existing program by focusing additional resources toward defined areas of research.

This year, our Board of Directors, a group of 27 dedicated volunteers across the broiler, turkey and egg industries, approved 12 research grants through the Comprehensive Research Program. The Board’s selection process provides an industry outlook on major challenges before our industry and where USPOULTRY should focus its efforts, which includes the following areas.

  1. The Use of Accelerometers and Artificial Intelligence to Predict Presence of Woody Breast in Live Broilers Throughout Growout and in Broiler Fillets.
  2. Automated Tracking of Laying Hens in Cage-Free Aviary Environment Using Affordable Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips.
  3. Pathogenicity and Genetic Profile of Turkey Hepatitis Reovirus (THRV).
  4. Comparative Genomics and In Vitro Screening Approach for the Identification of Vaccine Candidates for Food-Borne Pathogen Campylobacter jejuni.
  5. Effectiveness of Various Compounds in the Sanitation of Shell Egg Processing Equipment and Facility Surfaces.
  6. Using Electrostatic Precipitator to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Cage-Free Layer Houses.
  7. Poultry-Safe and Environment-Acceptable Pest-Repellent Paint.
  8. Role of Early Incubation Temperature Variation in the Development of the Wooden Breast Myopathy in Broiler Chickens.
  9. Assessing the Impact of Feed Supplements on Selection of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC).
  10. Role of Ratios of Limestone Particle Size and Phytase to Support Late Lay in Single Cycled Laying Hens – Focus on Eggshell Quality.
  11. Enhancing Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of Recombinant Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) Vaccines in Broiler Chickens.
  12. High-Resolution Salmonella Serotyping to Improve Surveillance in Turkeys.

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

  1. Effect of Variable Light Intensity Program on Broiler Gait Score, Stress and Central Positive Welfare in Commercial Broiler Farm.
  2. Methods for Preventing Blackhead Disease in Poultry.

The poultry and egg industry have used research and science to help develop the efficient and sustainable industry that we have become. Continued focus on these research topics, and other critical areas that may arise, will further keep us on the same road into the future.

John Starkey, P.E., is president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association with offices in Tucker, Ga.

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