Poultry Grist - Winter 2021

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Poultry Grist


Dear Friends, Living on a rural road with a grain elevator just east of our home, it has been wonderful to witness a steady stream of grain buggies, farm feed trucks and tractor trailer loads of freshly harvested corn going by the past couple of weeks. As Dr. Martin Clunies’ article indicates, not only has this year’s corn harvest been bountiful, early indications are that it is also of great quality. What a blessing Ontario producers have had this harvest year with high yielding, high quality soy bean and corn crops – especially as compared to yields and quality in other provinces across the country. At Grand Valley Fortifiers, we are feeling blessed to have had Dr. Ryan Snyder join our Poultry Team in June 2020 and Dr. Tanka Khanal in August 2021. In this edition of the Poultry Grist, we are pleased to officially introduce you to Tanka and to share an excellent article on the economic importance of uniformity in broiler flocks that Ryan has authored. It has been wonderful to have these two knowledgeable and experienced gentlemen expand our growing poultry focused team! As we near the end of 2021, all of us at Grand Valley Fortifiers are thankful. We are thankful for the opportunity to work so very closely with many of this province’s dedicated and innovative poultry producers. I know that I speak for our entire team when I wish you and your family a very blessed Christmas and a new year in 2022 filled with good health, and success in your farming endeavors. Sincerely, Ian Ross, President & CEO


by: DR. MARTIN CLUNIES, PH.D. Monogastric Nutritionist, Grand Valley Fortifiers


t goes without saying that the past 18 months have been tumultuous in grain and feed commodity markets. With weekly gyrations in prices adjusting to supply issues, the economy showed just how connected we are from industry to industry. Background: In past years, we have enjoyed a harvest with good grain yields and largely free of mycotoxins. While the corn and soybean harvests were close to expectations in Ontario and US, soybean harvest was lower than expected in Argentina and Brazil. This, combined with recent US exports to China, increased the demand for the soybeans to “crush,” driven by the demand for oil. Soybean meal prices responded, peaking at $690 a tonne in January 2020. Other inputs such as corn distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), regarded as a by-product, have become a staple of most livestock diets. As long as the economy gears up and demand for gasoline increases, availability and pricing should make DDGS economical for use in poultry diets. Canola meal, always on the cusp of pricing in or out of poultry diets, should be considered as a means of reducing the amount of soybean meal required. In late 2020, as challenges with cattle processing emerged and the price of soybean meal increased, meat meal prices followed suit to control the demand. Most recently, meat meal price has decreased and stabilized, once again becoming economical in poultry diets. Wheat shorts, ideal for use in poultry feeds where the requirements for energy are moderate, have since returned to more economical prices as well. The one outlier to this is the price of tallow, almost doubling in the 18-month period since the pandemic, showing very little sign of weakening. Assuming no unforeseen circumstances these grain GRAND VALLEY FORTIFIERS PO Box 726 Cambridge ON N1R 5W6 1-800-567-4400 grandvalley.com

price trends should remain much the same throughout the coming year. So what does this all mean to poultry farmers making their feed onfarm? Faced with sound bites of commodity shortages, supply chain issues, overseas exports, good news/bad news amplified by brokerage houses trading commodities on volatility, what should farmers do? With regards to grains, we will assume the corn supply is secured with the onfarm harvest and already stored in grain bins. Of the harvested summer grains, wheat represents an alternative to corn. Soft wheat, an Ontario rotation crop is available in limited supplies, and typically needs to be discounted $6–8 relative to the price of corn for it be economical. Securing protein commodities: The first priority then is to secure, where possible, your protein commodity supplies for the next 12 months. The real challenge is, what price should one pay to secure soybean meal through to fall 2022? Like corn, soybean meal prices have increased significantly over the period of the pandemic, with a present price of $571 compared to $490 prior to the beginning of the pandemic. Last year, China had returned to purchasing soybeans internationally and halted the purchase of Canadian canola meal. As a result, the price of beans increased. More recently, China resumed the purchase of US soybeans, increasing soybean meal prices because of demand. While prices could go higher if China continues to buy, the gravity of the lower 85th percentile could drag prices back to more normal levels. It may be advisable to buy on the dips, where you feel most comfortable. Now to things that are more predictable. Feed Wastage still remains the most overlooked means of decreasing feed costs and improving feed efficiency, on a poultry farm. As a nutritionist who travels and visits many barns, I remain amazed at the amount of feed presented around feeders. Most of this feed will never be consumed. It is said that if feed is visible around the feeder, the wastage is probably in the order of 5-10%. At a feed cost of $450/T an additional 5% feed wastage adds a cost of $22.50/tonne of feed. Feed Formulation is another method of reducing feed costs, specifiIan Ross, President & CEO | David Ross, VP & CMO Martin Clunies, Ph.D., Monogastric Nutritionist Ryan Snyder, Ph.D., Poultry Production Improvement Specialist Michael Peckover, Layout Editor

cally the amount of nutrients the feed is formulated to. While it may be common thinking to reduce nutrients to save costs, our team of nutritionists working with nutrient growth models for poultry and pigs saw the opposite outcomes in our feed trials. Maximizing animal performance using more expensive feeds actually produced the lowest cost per kg of live animal or carcass. Geneticists have bred birds for fast and efficient outputs, with energy and protein-amino acids having the greatest impact on growth and feed efficiency of poultry and pigs. Which is most important in today`s market of high commodity prices? First to energy, for each additional 1% of fat added to the diet feed conversion improves by 3%, which at a current feed cost of $450 per tonne represents a savings of $13.50 per tonne. Similarly, increasing the protein-lysine content of the feed by 0.08 % has the potential to improve feed efficiency by 6.2%, representing a savings of $27.50 per tonne. While both strategies pay, with the cost of today’s diets the addition of lysine/ amino acids costs $7.02 compared to $13.04 per tonne of feed for fat addition. Therefore, the addition of protein-lysine is a better return on investment compared to fat. The question is whether your birds will respond to the higher levels of lysine compared to the current levels in your feeds. Our new nutrition team colleague, Dr. Tanka Khanal, just completed an on-farm trial, whereby, through the manipulation of nutrients, he invested an additional $30.00/ tonne and delivered a better bottom line per bird and per kg liveweight. Additional experiments are now being carried out with different genetics to determine if the results will be consistent. Please contact Dr. Khanal at tankakhanal@grandvalley.com to discuss these results. Precision feeding, by definition, is an attempt to provide birds with the precise amount of nutrients for the genetic growth or production expectations. Precision feeding is the best strategy to meet the exact requirements of the bird, while minimizing the wastage of nutrient resources. Presently, Grand Valley Fortifiers is conducting trials with customers who are precision feeding 8 or 9 diets where we would normally feed 4 diets, in attempt to more closely meet the requirements of the growing birds. Stay tuned for results from these trials. For further information contact Dr. Ryan Snyder at ryansnyder@grandvalley.com. Optimizing feed particle size has many impacts on production, affecting feed intake, feed conversion and cost of production. This topic has been discussed in articles in previous issues and so will not be discussed here. Suffice to say, please review those previous articles available at grandvalley.com. Summary:: These are the major strategies that can be used as a means of improving the efficiency of present high-cost grain rations. Higher grain prices force us to focus on those things that will improve the profitability of our operations long term, as we struggle for present margins of profit. High grain prices may justify some of the changes we have put off in the past due availability of cheaper grains. Often simple changes yield the greatest improvements in efficiencies compared to more sophisticated changes. n

WELCOME DR. TANKA KHANAL Monogastric Nutritionist, Grand Valley Fortifiers


rand Valley Fortifiers is pleased to welcome and introduce Dr. Tanka Khanal as our newest monogastric nutritionist to join the GVF Monogastric Nutrition team. Dr. Khanal’s primary focus is poultry nutrition for the GVF group of companies. Originally from Nepal, Tanka has always had a passion for agriculture and specifically poultry. Tanka grad-

uated with a DVM degree from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Following his veterinary degree, Tanka taught at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Agriculture and Forestry University in Chitwan, Nepal, while pursuing his Master’s in Veterinary Medicine focused on poultry. Tanka’s responsibilities at the University included disease diagnosis and consultancy on both health and nutrition of poultry. Dr. Khanal was also a poultry veterinary consultant for the Himalayan Poultry Feed Industry and Hatchery Pvt. Ltd in Nepal, where he was responsible for health management, feed formulation and technical consultancy for poultry producers and hatcheries for commercial layers, broilers and breeders. Tanka’s interest in nutrition grew and led him to Wageningen University in The Netherlands, where he pursued his Master’s in Animal Nutrition and Metabolism. His research looked at alternative protein sources and amino acid metabolism in organic layers as well as amino acid metabolism and proteolytic fermentation in commercial broilers. Upon the completion of his master’s degree, Dr. Khanal came to Canada and completed his Ph.D. in Poultry Nutrition under his advisor Dr. Elijah Kiarie at the University of Guelph. His Ph.D. thesis investigated rearing mineral nutrition and housing cage types and its impact on bone quality in pullets and hens. Dr. Khanal’s diverse and extensive knowledge in veterinary medicine, nutrition, and commercial poultry production provides a wealth of knowledge for him to assist our poultry customers with their management, production, and nutrition challenges and opportunities. We are very excited to welcome Dr. Tanka Khanal and count it a privilege to have him join the GVF team. We hope you get the opportunity to meet and work with Tanka in the near future. n


by: RYAN SNYDER, PH.D. Poultry Production Improvement Specialist, Grand Valley Fortifiers


hen measuring the success of a broiler flock, the typical performance parameters include market weight, days to market, mortality, FCR, condemnations, and profit per kilogram (after feed and chick). These are the key performance indicators for how the flock finished and gives a nice overview for a producer to benchmark how the flock performed compared to previous flocks, and sometimes with neighbours. Monitoring a flock’s progress regularly before slaughter is a great way to ensure success and gives the opportunity to make changes if necessary. Weighing a handful of birds is the most typical practice for within-flock monitoring. However, this method only provides an average weight, and there is other important information to be collected; determining the variation of the flock may prove to be equally as valuable. The variation of the flock can be expressed as uniformity or the coefficient of variation, both of which are used to refer to how similar the weight of individual chickens are to one another in a flock. Uniformity is calculated as a percentage of birds that are within +/- 10% of the average. The larger the number, the more uniform the flock. The Coefficient of Variation (C.V.) is calculated as the standard deviation divided by the average. In the case of the C.V., the larger the number, the less uniform the flock. These measures are more typically used in layer flocks, where the size of the pullet determines when she will start laying eggs. So having all the layers be at the exact same size (highly uniform), allows the barn to come into production more synchronized which benefits the flock. While there is little scientific data measuring the impact of poor uniformity in broilers, there are reported links to increased mortality/culling, increased condemnations, as well as poorer FCR and market weight.

Poultry Grist

When our poultry team is on-farm collecting body weights, we use a pullet scale that takes individual weights and calculates the uniformity for us automatically. We gather a large group of birds (about 100) in a temporary fence along the wall and start weighing individually. It’ll require at least 40 individual weights to start to get an idea what the uniformity is. Sometimes, it can take as many as 80 birds to get a realistic uniformity measure. I typically have seen that a good target for uniformity at any given age is about 60%. I’ll often see 50%, but that’s not problematic. When we get below 40%, I start to have concerns, and begin looking for areas for improvement. Some of the best results I’ve come across have been in the 70-80%, but this is not common. As the birds get older, the uniformity can improve, because the 10% range has become larger and larger around the higher average weight. So what are some of the causes of poor uniformity? Barn management can be a starting point. Most of uniformity problems occur early on in the flock. Brooding conditions are extremely important during the first few days. At this young age, the chick is considered poikilothermic, meaning their body temperature is dependant on their environment. A chilled or overheated chick will need to use energy to maintain homeostasis rather than for growth and development. This growth and development may vary based on the chick’s health and strength and could vary throughout the barn depending on the heating and ventilation equipment. The barn environment needs to have the right range for chicks to find the comfort zone. During the first 10 days, a chick increases it’s bodyweight by up to 20% per day, compared to only 4% per day when the bird is between 30-40 days old. Access to water and feed, temperature, and lighting all stimulate chicks to get off to a great start. However, any deficiencies in these areas may cause a proportion of chicks to become distracted or lost which will result in a slightly delayed start in their development. Tolerance to gases such as CO2 and ammonia will differ between chicks in a population, so ventilation that removes such gases will ensure the entire flock remained unaffected. Brooding management has become a hot topic in the last several years, because it has been shown that a great start leads to an amazing finish. Assuming barn management is ideal, there are a few other places to look for deficiencies in uniformity. Broiler breeder status, breeder flock age, hatchery management, chick quality, breed, and sexed versus mixed-sex flocks all are key components of a broiler flock’s uniformity. Getting a delivery of chicks from a single breeder flock has given amazing uniformity results. It is very possible to for a load of chicks to show up and they are already nonuniform. It’s inevitable, but ensuring the best brooding management practices are used, we can ensure the variability doesn’t get any worse. Nutrition is, of course, a major component as it is our primary input for growth and development. There is research showing that deficiency of lysine and other amino acids has led to poor growth and uniformity. Individual birds may overconsume energy if there is a deficiency in other nutrients, driving up FCR. And not only is the nutrient profile key, but also the texture of the feed. As Dr Clunies discussed in the last Poultry Grist, particle size in mash feed becomes highly important. If chicks/chickens are allowed a buffet of particle sizes they may naturally gravitate to eating the larger corn particles vs soybean meal and premix. So this brings barn and feeder management back into play. Selection of the right ingredients must be taken into consideration, as

we want to optimize digestibility and absorption of nutrients. The nutrient profile in each phase of feed (i.e. starter, grower, finisher) is specifically targeted for a particular size of bird based on its needs for maintenance and more importantly growth and development. Think of it this way; in a nonuniform flock, the chickens that are well below are being forced to the next feed ration when their bodily requirements are not ready because they are not developed enough, which will increase the number of culls and condemns. Additionally, the chickens that are well above the average size are still getting the current phase when they’re ready to go to the next phase based on their growth, which will drive up your feed costs. By taking steps to improve uniformity, the nutrient utilization of each diet will be enhanced thereby improving the overall performance of the flock. Producers in the USA may receive a bonus for having a better uniformity, because it greatly improves the processing plants efficiencies. In the Canadian broiler market, producers are not currently compensated for the uniformity of their flock by the processor, so it remains a less commonly looked at parameter. However, as more data becomes available, it is clear that this is a key component to successful, profitable broiler production. n


by: ARIAN DEBEKKER Monogastric Product Category Manager, Farmers Depot™


ay 31, 2021 the Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood, the Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced that the Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program (PEFIP) is now accepting applications. The PEFIP will provide almost $647 million over ten years to support poultry and egg producers through on-farm investments. Each producer is entitled to an amount proportional to their quota holdings as of January 1, 2021. Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2030, meaning producers can apply when they are ready to make an investment. Eligible projects include anything that helps a producer increase efficiency or productivity, respond to consumer preferences, or improve onfarm safety, biosecurity, or environmental sustainability. This includes new barn construction or upgrades to equipment like feeding, watering, lighting, ventilation, heating, and comfort systems that will promote energy efficiency and reduce an operations environmental footprint. The Government of Canada will contribute up to 70% of the project’s costs, increasing to up to 85% for young farmers, to help ensure a strong future for Canada’s farms. The PEFIP offers producers flexibility to seek funding for eligible activities that started on or after March 19, 2019. The PEFIP and the Market Development Program for Turkey and Chicken (MDPTC), taken together, total more than $691 million over ten years. These programs respond directly to requests from producer associations and provide full and fair compensation to supply-managed sectors for market access concessions made under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). To find out more of what this PEFIP program offers and how to apply, please follow this link: Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program: Step 1. What this program offers - agriculture.canada.ca When I first read this, I immediately thought of the unique opportunity to enhance bio-security through Danish style barn entry, step over barriers, shower-in, shower-out procedures, barn specific boots and clothing, cleaning detergents and disinfectants. Particularly this last reference to cleaning and disinfectant use would directly link to increased food safety and increased efficiency and productivity, by reducing risks of coccidiosis, e-coli and salmonella and pathogenic reinfection of new flocks coming into the barn.


When thinking of broilers as an example I am surprised by the differences that exist between European and North American barn cleaning and disinfecting protocols. These differences are significant and vary from full wet cleaning with detergents and disinfectants between flocks in Europe, trying to re-create the cleanliness of a brand-new barn each time before a new flock enters the barn, to barns that will leave the litter in (some US barns) so that new chicks can be exposed and build immunity to barn specific pathogens. In Canada, we see a rising trend of poultry consumption per capita also an increase of production by poultry producers. As a matter of fact, the supply management system of the Canadian poultry production will typically allow for about 7.5% of all chicken meat produced in the previous year to be imported. In 2020 the Canadian population was estimated at 37,742,154 people (census). This means that taking a per capita consumption of 38.2 kilograms of chicken meat in 2020 that the annual domestic consumption was 1,441,750 metric tonnes. The overall production was 1,355,000 metric tonnes. This means that in 2020 Canada was a net importer of chicken meat of approximately 86,750 metric tonnes (6.4%). Knowing that Canada’s poultry supply management system controls its production and keeps it in line with the domestic market demand of chicken meat is part of the answer why Canadian poultry producers will not have the same rules on cleaning and disinfecting as European poultry producers have. So, what is the correct method for Canadian broiler producers and what are the rules to comply to? Effective January 1, 2022 Canadian broiler producers will need to follow protocols on barn washing. This is described in a new manual that offers three options for washing, use of detergent/disinfectant and for downtime. • Option 1 is similar to the current manual (pressure wash the barn and equipment annually), with increased flexibility in that a detergent or a disinfectant can be used. • Option 2 is a pressure wash of the barn and equipment annually, while a detergent or a disinfectant need only be used on the feeders, drinkers and equipment. This is to be followed by a 14-day downtime. • Option 3 involves a dry-clean of the barn and a 14-day downtime after every flock. No washing or detergent/disinfection is required with this option and less than 14 days can occur a maximum of two times in the previous 12 months due to scheduling issues. These three options have been developed to provide farmers with more flexibility while still meeting the objectives of the washing and downtime process. The 14 days of downtime is based on the CFIA National Avian On-Farm Biosecurity Standard that recommends a 14-day downtime when no other interventions are used. This is in dramatic contrast to how Dr. Andrea Pizzabiocca, Senior Manager Technical Services Italy at Cobb Europe describes their cleaning protocols in a January 20, 2021 article published in The Poultry Site. Dr. Pizzabiocca says that to achieve the genetic potential of our broilers, it is important to provide them with everything they require, including the correct temperature and ventilation conditions along with a good feed and water management program. The first step to reach the desired

performance is to provide the flock with a clean environment where the risk of flock infection at placement is minimal. Reducing the risk of infection requires a clear and complete cleaning and disinfection program. The cleaning and disinfection program should be rigorous and consistent between every flock. It is important to note that even if the previous flock had no outward signs of infection or if there were no sanitary issues in the house, that does not necessarily mean pathogens were not present. Thorough cleaning must be done regardless of an outgoing flock’s status. Chicks are more susceptible to disease than adults, and if cleaning is done poorly, any pathogens present during placement could create significant risks to the flock. In addition, Dr. Pizzabiocca tells producers to apply a foam detergent and leave it for the correct time according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse with high-pressure water, working in one direction from top to bottom to prevent recontamination. After that start with the disinfection. There are several chemicals available for disinfection, but for optimal efficacy, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Be aware that some chemicals have specific temperatures and concentrations at which they work best. He concludes by saying; “Remember, the aim is not to eliminate all microorganisms but to decrease them to a minimum. Clean poultry houses are the basis for a healthy and productive flock.” Though we see a clear difference between European and Canadian practices on cleaning and disinfecting between flocks in broiler barns, we do know that Options 1 and 2 of the new 2022 Canadian manual for poultry barn washing requires detergents and disinfectants. For cleaning and disinfecting protocols and products the team of experts at Farmers Depot can assist poultry producers and you can reach them at 1-866-527-6229 or by e-mail at info@farmersdepot.ca n

Thought for the Day Christmas Reflection: Mary’s Magnificat “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46–55) Mary, the soon the be mother of Jesus, shares this special song we now know as “The Magnificat”. In it she reveals a very remarkable thing about God: He is about to change the course of all human history; the most important three decades in all of time are about to begin. The birth, 33-year life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, will transform the relationship mankind can have with Creator God for all eternity. This Christmas I invite us all not to forget the significance of the season we love to celebrate. — Adapted from John Piper’s Daily Devotionals

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