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February/March 2014

ABARES Outlook 2014 Conference Cordina broiler grower uses new products for litter re-use and odour management

Australian Poultry Science Symposiium 2014

RSPCA approval and increased demand means change of focus for layer farmer

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Features Page 8: Cordina broiler grower uses new products for litter re-use and odour management “Jeff re-uses between batches employing a number of carefully thought-out management techniques to maintain litter quality.”

Page 26: RSPCA approval and increased demand means change of focus for layer farmer “This is a great story of a family business that has changed with the times and worked hard to stay successful in agriculture.”

News Page 4: Australian Poultry Science Symposium 2014 Page 14: ABARES Outlook 2014 Conference Page 22: Chicken meat production still growing Page 32: Using new knowledge in the poultry industry? Page 34: Free Range Egg Farms offer a more certain future Page 40: President of WPSA Dr Trevor Bagust dies

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ENQUIRIES OFFICE ADDRESS: 22 George Street, East Gosford NSW, 2250 Phone: (02) 4323 0005 Mob: 0419 235 288 Production: 0409 944 472 Email: Poultry Digest consists of a bi-monthly management magazine and an annual industry review, Poultry Industry Yearbook Published by C D Supplies Pty Ltd trading as Primary Media (ACN 091 560 557) All material copyright (editorial and advertisements) and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publishers. Whilst every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the contents of POULTRY DIGEST, the publishers do not accept any responsibility or liability for the material herein.



Australian Poultry Science Symposium 2014 The 2014 Australian Poultry Science Symposium, which was held on February 17-19 at the Eastern Avenue Auditorium, Camperdown Campus, University of Sydney, maintained this events’ excellent mix of international and locally based speakers. Judith O’Keeffe, President, Poultry Research Foundation (PRF) and Peter Groves, Acting Director PRF, opened proceedings on March 17. In the first session, ‘Early chick nutrition’ Sandra Velleman, an invited speaker from Ohio State Univsersity, US spoke on ‘The effect on broiler breast muscle development: possible trandifferentiation of myogenic statellite cells to an adipogenic lineage’. Orna Halevy from The Hebrew State University of Jerusalem next delivered a paper, ‘Nutritional status and muscle development in pre-and post-hatch broilers’. In this session ‘Incubation and brooding conditions essential for the optimization of neonatal nutrition’, Roos Molenaar, QA Manager from Turi Foods introduced the topic of optimal brooding systems including the Vencomatic Patio commercial brooding system and the advanced Hatch Brood System – both Netherlands based companies. Roos worked with HatchTech before coming to Australia. Betaine featured in a number of the sessions including David Cadogan’s presentation, ‘Betaine Increases the percentage hatched in broiler breeders’. In the next session, Feed ingredient quality – assessment and ehancement’, John Black, a well known Australian based livestock industry academic and now consultant, spoke on the topic of ‘Rapid assessment of feed ingredient quality’. The second keynote invited speaker Jan Dirk van der Klis from Schothorst, The Netherlands, presented a paper ‘Feed ingredients: assessment and enhancement of nutritional values’. The ever energetic Sonia Yun Liu delivered two papers, ‘Phytase supplementation of maize, sorghum or wheat based broiler diets’, then in the following broiler nutrition session, ‘Phenolic compounds and phytate influences starch and protein digestion rates in sorghum based diets’. On the evening of the March 17, post graduate students were introduced and assigned mentors at the post





graduate welcome barbecue held this year on the magnificent lawns of the University’s main quadrangle and cloisters. On February 18, in the first session, ‘The role of gut health in poultry production, Theo Niewold from University of leuven, Belgium was the first keynote invited speaker delivering a paper ‘Gut health, intestinal innate immunity and performance’. He was followed by Hyun Lillehoj from ARS-USDA in the US speaking about ‘The gut immune system: a new frontier in gut health research’. In the layer production session after lunch on Feb 17 two young researchers, one from the University of Melbourne and the other from the University of Sydney presented papers on their work with free range layers. Hannah Larsen’s (Melb) paper ‘Go outside and play? Behavioural time budget of free range laying hens in a natural shrub structure,’ examined w


5 1. Dr John Black 2. Keynote speaker Jan Dirk van der Klis from Schothorst, The Netherlands. 3. Kate Hartcher from Sydney University. 4. Sonia Yun Lui. 5. Hannah Larsen from Melbourne University who won the Student Award.


amongst other factors, the use of the native shrub Kangaroo Apple tree on the range. Kate Hartcher (Syd) in her paper ‘The attractiveness of loose feathers to free range laying hens’ examined the complex welfare issue of feather pecking. In the layer production session that followed, Monica Puyalto from Norel SA Spain delivered a paper, ‘Evaluation of different protections of buyric acid on performance and egg characteristics of white leghorn layer hens’. On February 18 in the ‘Hot Topic #2: Leg Health and Flock Mobility- Risks and opportunities’ the first invited keynote speaker Layi Adeola- Purdue University USA examined ‘Nutrition impact on mobility and leg issues in poultry’. Randy Mitchell, the second keynote speaker from Perdue Farms USA spoke about ‘Broiler lameness in the United States: an industry perspective’. The 2014 APSS continued the quarter century standard for delivery of excellent and relevant poultry science. Notable was that while the material delivered avoided unscientific topics like consumer attitudes and retailer policy it did feature research highly relevant to welfare issue that have emerged in the growing sector of free range production, and addressed on going issues like leg health where some scientific rigour can be achieved. The Symposium dinner was held at the Crystal Ballroom, Crystal Palace, Luna Park on Wednesday February 18 with fabulous food and entertainment with the Sydney Harbour as a backdrop. At this event the Australian Poultry Award is presented to an Australian resident who has made a long term outstanding contribution to poultry science or the poultry industry. This year’s award went to Dr Balkar Bains, presented by Julie Roberts. Dr Bains started at Inghams after graduating from the Queensland Unviversity of Veterinary Science. He has been involved with combating new poultry diseases since the 1960s and has written a book called Physiological & Metabolic Functions of Ascorbic Acid in Commercial Chickens. He always believed in the importance of sharing information between scientists. We have not entered into too much detail on the many interesting papers delivered because it is available on the APSS website at au/vetscience/apss/documents/2014/ APSS%20Proceedings%202014.pdf




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1. Mathieu Cortyl and Monica Puyalto from Norel SA, Spain. 2. Post Graduate Welcome BBQ at Sydney University. 3. Speakers at this year’s APSS were (LtoR) Prof Jan Dirk van der Klis, Prof Hyun Lillehoj, Prof Orna Helevy, Prof Sandra Velleman, Dr Peter Groves, Dr Randy Mitchell, Prof Layi Adeola, Dr Derek Balnave and Prof Theo Niewold. 4. Dr Balkar Bains.

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Jeff about to go to work with his Litter Saver.

Cordina broiler grower uses new products for litter re-use and odour management



eff and Yvonne Whyte, contract RSPCA broiler growers for Cordina Poultry, run a five shed 88,000 bird capacity farm at Fiddletown, located on the outer urban fringe of Sydney. The conventional curtain sided sheds use a wood shavings litter base


which Jeff re-uses between batches employing a number of carefully thought-out management techniques to maintain litter quality and neutralise odour. Two key products supplied by Newcastle based ProWash Poultry are critical to the Whyte’s litter reuse and odour management. The first is the US manufactured ‘Litter Saver’ a device towed behind a tractor which features PTO driven tynes that agitate, aerate and treat litter between and during batch growth. The second product is Biowish Odour and Manure, a product containing a broad spectrum of enzymes that accelerate the breakdown or organic matter into inert compounds. Poultry Digest has produced new product news items in previous issues and we have placed the manufacturers descriptions of both the Litter Saver and Biowish on our website at www., including a short video clip of the Litter Saver being used in one of Jeff’s sheds. Jeff and Yvonne acquired their current farm in 2005 and prior to that had grown quail for the nearby located Game Farm enterprise over a 17 year period. Both are justifiably proud of the farm they now operate which is not only located is a spectacularly beautiful area just 40 km from the Sydney CBD but has also been extensively planted with a variety of shielding vegetation which is all highly maintained. Although the area has been traditionally used for a variety of agricultural enterprises including broiler farms, orchards, citrus groves and commercial flower farms for over half a century, its location near spectacular waterways and national parks has encouraged new residents whose incomes are derived from sources other


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than farming. “When it comes to farming we could take the attitude that ‘we were here first’,” said Jeff. “This farm is also our home and we love living in the area. We don’t want to put up with strong odour so why should we subject our neighbours to something we can avoid by using better management techniques,” he said. Those management techniques involve not only investment in machinery and the BiOWiSH enzyme based litter treatment product, but a time investment sitting on the tractor and turning the bedding. “We prepare the litter with the Litter Saver between batches and also after thinning flocks which usually occurs twice before final pick up,” Jeff said. “At the end of a batch we remove litter from the brooding area close to the walls where it gets wet,” he explained. “Obviously we top up the litter with new material before the next batch is placed,” Jeff pointed out. Whereas plenty of effort and innovation has gone into managing litter to maintain an ideal environment for both birds and the local residents, there are benefits of the pick up crews. “The pick up staff comment on the pleasant shed conditions on our farm so our litter management stategies have OH&S benefits for those working in our industry as well as for us,” Jeff said. “We’ve had students preparing to work in animal husbandry visit and examine our litter management initiatives and they measured ammonia levels at the end of batches and during the grow out periods. The levels proved to be remarkably low or even negligible,” he said. “The conventional curtain sided sheds suit our type of operation. Four were existing sheds but we also rebuilt two old sheds which are of similar conventional design to the other sheds. “Given the sensitivity of running broiler farms in a changing environment, we have kept in close contact with our local council, Hornsby Shire, who are very positive about maintaining agricultural activity in the area. “By demonstrating our efforts to get on with our fellow residents we feel our future as broiler farmers in this truly wonderful part of the Sydney region is now more secure. “Also our litter management techniques have financial benefits because logically we don’t have to either acquire or move about large quantities of bedding material. “Now we are growing to RSPCA Broiler Code we are finding that our strategies suit the deeper litter requirements those protocols require,” Jeff said. The broiler farm run by Jeff and Yvonne Whyte at first glance appears w


1. Farm sheds have magnificent vegetation shield which lessens the impact of the chicken sheds on the surrounding environment. 2. The older sheds are ideal for RSPCA broiler rearing. 3. Litter Saver makes short work of turning the dry bedding material 4. The perches that are used in the RSPCA Broiler Code.






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to be an operation that relies on proven if old technologies but the truth is far from that. If you were to arrive at the farm back when the original sheds were built, the atmosphere would have been very different, especially in February, than it is today. The first thing a visitor notices is a complete lack of odour despite the fact the sheds are open and the litter has been turned - enter the sheds and it’s the same inoffensive environment. This has been achieved by using 21st Century technology like the Litter Saver, a product hat has been used and proven in US poultry sheds for many years and the enzyme based Biowish product which actually digests the pathogens in the litter. “Biowish is a really spectacular product,” Jeff said. Then there’s the development of what consumers regard as welfare friendly rearing methods like the RSPCA protocols used in Jeff’s sheds to rear his birds. If the constantly managed litter suits human sensibilities and well being, it is logical to assume that its good for the birds where maintaining dry litter and low ammonia levels must have beneficial health outcomes. Many in the industry may resent the pressure to address these welfare issues imposed by both retailers and we are told consumers, but at least it means farms like Jeff’s can continue as viable operations in their original location. Lisa Grant of ProWash Poultry Service who imports both the Litter Saver and Biowish used on Jeff’s farm reports tremendous interest in both products. “Up until now we have only offered the Litter Saver in the 1.52m (5 foot) option suitable for tractors of 30 HP minimum (LS5) or the 2.13m (7 foot) 60HP minimum LS 7 models,” Lisa said. “Now we are looking to import a special option to suit Australian farms which is a four foot version which will operate with compact tractors in the 25 hp range,” she explained. Poultry farming has changed a lot since broiler sheds were first erected on Jeff and Yvonne’s farm but by being sensitive and smart farmers they have changed to suit to times while continuing to grow a product consumers demand. The American built incinerator is another example of considerable investment in Jeff and Yvonne’s quest for an attractive odour and dust free farming operation. At the same time their farming operation has little impact in an area coming under greater pressure from an expanding population with higher expectations of their new environment.



1. Jeff examines perfect dry litter – no odour. 2. Old Fiat tractor that was on the farm when Jeff bought it – it still runs! 3. Incinerator for morts and other waste. 4. Older style but newer sheds are low tech but get excellent results with careful management.








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ABARES Outlook 2014 Conference The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) 2014 Outlook Conference was held at the Canberra Conference Center on March 4-5, 2014: Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce opened the proceedings on March 4. “Australian agriculture receives the second lowest levels of support when compared with other OECD nations,” Mr Joyce said. “Agriculture has become a highly regulated industry: regulated largely to suit urban consciousness,” he added. “It is the aim of the Coalition Government to reduce the ‘red and green’ tape that has hindered the potential of Australian agriculture to grow to its full potential.” On the topic of the $100 million spent on R&D in agriculture, Mr Joyce pointed out, “that for every dollar spent by government on R&D the return was $11.” “Agriculture in Australia, apart from generating exports of more than $50 billion, employs far more people than our car industry,” Mr Joyce concluded. In the first session (Economic Overview) Karen Schneider from ABARES in her paper, ‘Realizing the opportunities’, spoke about “the burden of regulation” and “the clear need for infrastructure investment within Australia”. “Contribution for food growth from 2007 to 2050 would be dominated by Asia with 71% growth, and of that growth, China alone would account for 60%,” she revealed. “Global growth is recovering,” she stated “and would probably run at around 3.6% to 2019. “Livestock exports would be up and China would account for a 50% increase in food production to 2050. “Airfreight was likely to become an important factor in Australia’s export growth,” she added. Yiping Huang from Peking University in speaking about the ‘Economic outlook for China,’ reported that, “the new government had taken a more favourable attitude to unilateral free trade arrangements which previous administrations had regarded merely as a tool the US had used to dominate global trade,” he said. Alan Oster, National Australia Bank, who was the final speaker in this session, predicted an exchange rate falling to US 84 cents in 2014 and


down to US 80 in 2015 – and obviously this situation would improve the competitiveness of our exports. In the following session, ‘Future of Agriculture’, Jamie Penm spoke on the critical topic of ‘Opportunities in Asia’. “They vary,” he stated. “In our traditional markets of Japan and Korea, opportunities are limited through declining populations, low income growth and high levels of competition for a market with relatively high income levels. “India will grow by 93% 2007-2050, ASEAN nations by 128% but China alone will account for 50% of any increases over the same period,” he predicted. “In China the key driver of meat consumption will be a migration from rural to urban areas resulting in the amount of meat, mostly pork and poultry, increasing by 75%. “Local livestock production will be significant but as import barriers are removed there will be opportunities: fast foods or convenience foods will also have a significant effect on consumption patterns,” he added. Matt Linnegar from the National Farmers Federation’s first major point made in his address “Profitability and competitiveness for the Australian farmer’ was that we don’t do as well as New Zealand in branding ourselves overseas (despite the fact that we think our clean green products deliver advantages in many markets). He suggested a ‘brand Australia’ would be particularly useful as more free trade agreements currently under negotiation deliver better access to key markets. Paul Morris from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet spoke on the ‘Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper’ and the need for all those involved with agriculture at whatever level, to be involved and submit views so future policy and directions can be refined. To start go to www.agricultural or call 02 6271 6272 Some key issues mentioned were opportunities offered by share farming and access to capital. In the session on meat held on March 4 the first speaker, Trish Gleeson from ABARES in her paper ‘Livestock and poultry outlook’ forecast a rise in chicken meat consumed by Australians w

1 2



1.Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce opened the proceedings. 2. Karen Schneider, ABARES. 3. Alan Oster, National Australia Bank. 4. Paul Morris, Dept of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

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NEWS v from 25% of all meats to 28% in 2018/19. “Australians are the world’s fourth largest chicken meat consumers at more than 44kg per person per annum. “Efficiencies achieved in the industry were critical to its current position as the leading meat choice for consumers,” she said. In the final sessions of March 4, Lindsay Hogan of ABARES delivered a paper ‘Australia’s airfreight food – exports, expanding supply chain options’ at the start of the ‘infrastructure’ topics. “Growth potential challenges included the privatisation of airports and as a result the concentration on passenger growth rather than freight,” she pointed out. “Eighty percent of airfreight is conducted in the holds of passenger planes but still 92% of Australian agriculture exports are conducted by sea transport,” she added. “Livestock based food exports increased with Asian destinations constituting 70% of food exports though overall value of airfreight declined in NSW and WA. Australia ranks 21 out of 148 nations in air freight volumes.” In concluding, Ms Hogan posed the question “Is there a role for Canberra in increasing airfreight capacity in Australia?” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss opened the proceedings on March 5. He mentioned on-going free trade talks with Japan and China as offering potential for high quality Australian agricultural products for the growing middle classes in the Asian region. “We are very interested in building agricultural capacity in northern Australia and we are studying land and water resources – 50,000 hectares could be irrigated in those regions,” he said. Peter Corrish, in a question from the floor asked ‘How do we get Australia’s vast pool of superannuation funds interested in infrastructure that could boost agricultural production?” Mr Truss remarked that not only had Australians to this point not shown much interest in investing in their own national infrastructure, the Canadians had, but in a bizarre scenario Canadian investors were investing in Australian funds. Mr Truss also mentioned the benefits to transport that could be derived from a Melbourne to Brisbane rail link that would not only increase capacity but lessen the strain on


existing highways. The first speaker in the ‘Global Focus’ session on March 5, was Berry Martin from Rabobank, a farmer, banker, and resident of Brazil though of Dutch family origin. His paper ‘Investment and development in global food markets’, was possibly of most interest for those looking into the true potential for Australian agriculture. “The next global crisis following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis may well be the global food crisis,” Mr Martin predicted. “China’s doubling of GDP per capita will have 21x the significance of Britain’s Industrial Revolution at 100x the scale. “Every month the world population grows by a city the size of Hong Kong. “From 2010 to 2050 income will increase by close to 200% and consumption will increase by between 60% to double what it is now and most of these changes will occur in Asia,” he said. “China and India, while having 40% of global population only has 20% of the world’s arable land but our own region, Oceania, is one of the areas that has the most arable land in relation to its population. The world’s arable land will decline to .05 hectares per person by 2050,” he warned. “At the same time mega cities will drive the challenge to produce more with less: water availability will become more critical so we need to create more crop per drop,” he said. “Currently yield gains are lagging behind annual productivity which is around 1.4% pa but needs to be 1.75 to 2% pa to keep pace with food demand. “Profitability at the farm gate is critical: no cash, no crop and it won’t be the best soils and climate but social enabling factors that will be the key to yield,” he said. Speaking in the questions and answers after delivering his paper Mr Martin stated that consistently, “the best returns came from family owned farms and that we have to show the next generation how they can benefit from involvement with farming. “Farming is exciting, technologically advanced and a very complex business. Though we need entrepreneurs we have to have farmers involved.” He concluded by asking a question that resonated throughout the conference from government ministers to statisticians, “are we paying too much attention to environmentalists and not to enough to production issues?” he asked. The session ‘Responding to Society’





4 1. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Warren Truss. 2. Berry Martin from Rabobank. 3. Saan Ecker, ABARES. 4. Jackie Healing, Coles Supermarkets.

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chaired by Australian Farm Institute Executive Director Mick Keogh on March 5, was very well attended. Saan Ecker, ABARES opened the session with ‘Community views on agriculture’. With the statement that “the community is more concerned about what we eat and grow: price, quality and taste are still key factors but animal welfare issues like conditions for both laying hens and pigs are of concern to consumers,” she said. “Other concerns are human health and associated issues like antibiotic use in livestock and GM crops. “There is an increasing preference for outdoor raised livestock and/or access to the outdoors during the day: stockmanship skills and interaction between animals and humans are also key issues. “As an indication of consumer preferences in 2002, only 8% of eggs sold were free range but by 2013 that proportion had risen to 38%,” she said. “The challenge is to understand and act on the increases in community expectation, also issues like licenses, regulation, legal concern, producer reputation and economics (can I sell my product?). “Retailers have taken on the role of aligning our agricultural industries with consumers. “There is a move towards ‘community juries’ rather than reliance on ‘experts’ in consumer opinion on food issues,” she concluded. Next, Ross Hampton from the Australian Forest Products Association in his talk, ‘Responding to which Society’ outlined the problems his industry experienced in achieving rational outcomes. Isabell MacNeill from Dairy Australia in ‘Talking About our Future’ demonstrated her organisation’s ability to engage with community, and promote her organisation’s products. “Understand the consumer but lead the debate – run your own story,” she advised. Jackie Healing, General Manager responsible for sourcing, quality and product technology at Coles supermarkets spoke on ‘Responsible sourcing through the food chain – a retail perspective. “Trust, quality value and the fresh food offer largely determine the store of choice,” she stated. “Consumers believe that supermarkets are responsible for an ethical offer and they want to support local farmers with a regionally provided


product but they expect value. “Customers don’t always trust supermarkets or regulators but they are influenced by celebrity chefs,” she revealed. “Coles sells more than 1.5 million chickens weekly and in moving towards a cage free egg supply we are responding to what customers tell us. “Key drivers of future food success are quality, innovation and branding. “In identifying customer heirachy of needs, being kind to others (the RSPCA approved chicken meat initiative for example), back to nature, good for me and my family and being legal and safe, are the key concerns.” In the questions and answers at the end of the session Jackie commented that, “More than 95% of our produce is Australian sourced but one of the concerns remains over the care and attention producers need to pay to maintaining consistent best achievable quality.” On the subject of outside influences she commented that, “Lobby groups and NGO’s make a lot of noise but are not really capable of formenting real change in the long run,” she said.



1. Jackie Healing from Coles says customers are influenced by celebrity chefs. 2. Fiona Simpson, NSW Farmers Federation asks a question from the floor. 3. LtoR: Jackie Healing, Coles, Isabelle MacNeil from Dairy Australia, Ross Hampton, Australian Forest Products Association and Saan Ecker on the panel. 1

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Chicken meat production still growing The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences report released at the recent Outlook 2014 Conference held in Canberra on March 4-5, 2014 reported: “Growth in Australian chicken meat production is forecast to continue over the short to medium term. “In 2013-14 chicken meat production is forecast to increase by 3% to 1.08 million tones and a further 3% in 2014-15 to 1.1 million tones,” the report prepared revealed. By 2018-19 Australian chicken meat production is projected to be around 1.25 million tones, with its share of total Australian meat production increasing to 28%. Australian chicken meat production has grown consistently over the past decade to reach 1.05 million tones (carcass weight) in 2012-13, averaging 4% a year. Chicken meat now makes up one quarter of meat production in Australia, compared with 18% a decade ago. Projected growth in chicken meat production over the next five years is largely in response to an on going increase in domestic consumer demand, as retail prices of chicken meat remain well below prices for alternative meats. The domestic market is projected to continue to account for around 95% of chicken meat production. Exports will comprise primarily low value cuts and offal, for which there is little domestic demand. Australians are amongst the largest consumers of chicken meat globally, on a per person basis, fourth after Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Brazil. Over the 10 years to 2012-13, growth in per person consumption averaged 3% pa. Chicken meat is projected to remain Australia’s most consumed meat over the medium term. Chicken meat consumption is forecast to rise by 1% in 2013-14 to 44.7 kgs per person. Over the medium term, consumption is projected to grow to 47.7 kgs per person by 2018-19. Past and projected future growth in Australian chicken meat consumption reflects the competitive pricing of chicken meat relative to pork, beef and lamb. Over the past two decades, the prices of other meats have risen relative to chicken meat. Over the past five years to 2012-13 chicken meat was on


average 21% cheaper than pork, and 22% and 45% cheaper than beef and lamb, respectively. Over the medium term, chicken meat is projected to remain substantially cheaper than these competing meats. The low price of chicken meat relative to other meats is a reflection of strong productivity growth achieved in the Australian chicken meat industry over successive decades. Because of the use of selective breeding techniques, chickens used for meat production reach their ideal slaughter weight in around 35 days, using a total of around 3.4 kilograms of feed. In comparison, 64 days and 4.7 kilograms of feed were required to bring a chicken to market weight

in the 1970s. In contrast with beef and sheep meat production, the chicken meat industry in Australia is highly concentrated and vertically integrated. Around 70% of meat chickens are slaughtered by two privately owned companies. Five privately owned medium sized processors account for the remaining 30% of chicken slaughter. Chicken meat farmers are generally contracted by processing companies to grow out day old chicks supplied by the companies. Exports account for less than 5% of Australian chicken meat production. Chicken meat exports are forecast to increase by 16% in 2013-14 to 34,000 tonnes (shipped weight) and a further 6% in 2014-15 to 36,000 tonnes.

Novus Forum focuses on Protease use Leading animal protein producers from the SE Asia Pacific Region gathered recently to work on the best model for using enzymes in animal diets. The Novus Forum Enzyme Summit, one of the first forums organized in HuaHin, Thailand, was focused entirely on meeting the needs of the local animal feeding industry. Nayak Ramakanta, Novus SEAP Regional Marketing Manager noted, “Our customers found great value in the Novus Forum because feed prices continue to trend higher and feed quality continues to be a challenge. We are very focused on using locally available raw materials and byproducts for feed cost savings without sacrificing performance.” The Novus Forum provided the perfect platform to share the knowledge and experience of commercial application among producers, academicians and researchers with experts, such as Dr Howard Simmins to improve application of enzymes in diets. Dr Simmins, who has spent more than 15 years of his career establishing the use of enzymes in commercial diets, presented ‘Evolution of enzymes in animal feed industry’ and ‘How to

identify good enzymes’. Dr Chris Knight, Chief Innovation Officer for Novus presented ‘Animal food today and tomorrow. Dr Knight stressed the need for new innovative technologies to meet the growing demand for food as the population grows, mentioning a note on the platforms Novus is investing to help the industry to meetthis demand. The summit had a strong participation from all participants who shared their real time experiences on use of alternative raw materials and also on how best has been their experience on using CIBENZA DP100 in their commercial diets. Many participants interacted and found the bottlenecks of few raw materials could be alleviated when using protease, and were encouraged to set up higher limits for many raw materials in swine and poultry diets based on their daily feeding practices on-farm. Dr Vaibhav Nagpal, Regional Director of Novus stated, “Novus is committed to bringing more technologies forward for our customers and sharing in the Novus Forum platform in the future.”

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Santrev_DVD Cover 2_O.indd 1

28/02/11 5:14 PM

LtoR: Chris Cameron, ACE Livestock Consulting; Ange and John Rhode and Luke Steinborner, National Feed Solutions.

RSPCA approval and increased demand means change of focus for layer farmer



he Rohde Farm, located 80 kilometres north of Adelaide near Tarlee on the edge of the Clare Valley, first got into the layer industry in the late 1950s when John Rohde’s parents were looking to expand their farm income


and joined the industry when several other families in the area also “got into chooks”. A caged facility was on the cards in the beginning and plans were even drawn up for the buildings in the mid 1980s. But for the Rohdes this move never eventuated because new regulations were introduced to the industry and they decided to stay as a free range producer. Free range eggs were fetching $0.10 per dozen premium when the public demand began to increase for free range eggs. By the mid 1990s John and Ange Rhode were running three sheds of 1000 birds. That has grown from three sheds to four, then eight and now there are plans for a ninth and tenth shed, with 5,000 birds in total. Originally selling direct to wholesalers, the demand for Rohde’s free range eggs increased and

customers began to contact the family directly. This changed things from a wholesale business to servicing a customer base. The individual label was developed and a marketing name, Rohde’s Clare Valley Free Range Eggs was introduced. Ange confesses that they knew little of running their own marketing and sales, but have learned over the years. As the business has grown so has the demand for eggs from the farm. Ange said that word of mouth was their strongest promotional advantage to date. The news spread quickly when customers started to understand that free range eggs were an option. Foodland Groups is one of the Rohde’s customers in South Australia but they also supply interstate to Melbourne, Sydney and even Uluru. Currently Rohdes services more than 150 customers. They pride themselves on being w

v close to their customers and believe that “you have to trust and know your customers to keep trading”. Some of the clients have been with the family from the start. Currently Rohde’s run eight sheds and in the coming years if the demand for free range continues to rise as it has, this number of sheds will not be viable. There is a five year and ten year plan to focus on expansion. Growing the free range side of the business is “encroaching on the farm land” said John. This is not a problem, as they have ample acreage to utilise. The farm has a good buffering area and they are not placed near any housing zones.The new sheds will be set behind the current structures. The expansion for increased production is a manageable distance from the grading room, feed manufacture and distribution. The farm is currently milling one day a week manufacturing feed on site. They are using ACE Livestock’s Chris Cameron to manage their nutrition for the birds and he is working in conjunction with National Feed Solutions to get the feeding program correct. It has been a challenge to meet free range demands. During the past 24 months they have introduced unique products such as fibre sources to the ration. These additions have been measured for their success on farm. There are unique attributes to free range farms and how nutrition is used to reflect these demands. Seasonal ration changes are one of these demands. “By manufacturing our own feed and running our own nutrition we are maximizing efficiencies and staying competitive,” said John. As the feed has always been grown on farm, they require the infrastructure to support this manufacturing. Initially using their own crops like wheat and peas, farm storage was installed alongside a portable roller mill. Part of remaining competitive is becoming RSPCA Accredited Free Range. The green paw print of RSPCA Approved Farming has growing recognition with consumers and sets these eggs apart from the others. To be certified Free Range the farm cannot exceed 1500 birds per hectare. “The ‘Proudly South Australian Sustainable Farm’ logo next to the RSPCA logo grabs buyers’ attention,” said Ange. Following the Layer Hens RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standards has put additional requirements on production. RSPCA audits the farm twice yearly, ensuring that all guidelines and amendments are known and followed. w





1. The grading room at the farm – more equipment is a sign of the expanding business. 2. Aerial photo of the farm taken shortly after the completion of the sheds. 3. Portable roller mill. Manufactruing their own feed helps farm to stay competitive.

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For example, changing guidelines reflect RSPCA demands, such as the recent addition of perching areas in the sheds. There are strict guidelines on perch structure and placement. Free range areas must be maintained and managed to ensure that birds are encouraged to access it and are able to forage. A well maintained range area should provide birds with palatable vegetation. To meet these requirements, the Rohdes have planted lucerne in the range areas. A stand will last for up to five years and is good feed and a rotational graze is used on site. The yards are segregated into areas to allow the lucerne to grow back. As a stand is eaten down, that section is sectioned off from the birds, allowing the lucerne to grow back. This ‘strip grazing theme’ works well for both the stand and the bird. The established lucerne is noticeable on the farm. It gives a green cover to the range, allowing the birds to still move amongst established tree stands and dry land. When it comes to birds and production, the farm has a well mapped out plan. Birds arrive at the farm at 16 to 17 weeks of age. They have consistently used Hy-Line birds, but are also trialling some Lohman birds. When the birds reach near to 20 weeks of age, they are fully feathered and are released into the free range acreage. On average birds are going out at 77 weeks. This well planned management of the birds is consistent with their approach to staff. John and Ange feel it is important to “enjoy people” and they like to employ local people in the business. They also work with a lot of area university students, backpackers and people looking for work in rural areas. The Rohdes said that they are lucky in that they have had many long term employees they enjoy working with; a true testimony to their business approach given the rural area they are located in. “Going from a family business to employing people you have to realise that when you employ people the whole thing changes,” said John. They currently have about 20 people working at the farm. “What we do in the industry you cannot do without people.” John and Ange Rohde have four children all of whom are working or have worked on the farm. Daughter Rachael is even on the label. The three older Rohde children now attend university where they are studying social work, commerce, marketing and communication. They often spend their holidays





1. Rhode’s Clare Valley Free Range eggs is a long established family brand in South Australia. 2. Farm milling is done one day a week manufacturing feed on site. 3. Eight shed farm with plans for two more as business expands.

working in the family business. Originally just farming acreage and then expanding into egg production, the Rohdes are curious as to what the next generation may expand into. Will they even want to be involved in the business? If they choose to do

so there is definitely a worthwhile family business there to work with. This is a great story of an innovative family business that has changed with the times and worked very hard to stay successful in agriculture now and into the future.


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Poultry CRC NEWS

Using new knowledge in the poultry industry? Why is it sodifficult to apply research findings in the poultry industry? Firstly, there’s the different perspective of farmers and researchers. Poultry farmers, whether broiler growers or layer farmers, must run profitable businesses, balancing a slew of factors including operating costs, capital costs, staff management, animal husbandry, welfare, etc. to produce an income. Researchers, on the other hand, first form a hypothesis about an area of interest and then test the predictions that hypothesis makes to evaluate it. To undertake the work, researchers apply for funding, which is often in the form of competitive grants. To bring farmers and researchers closer together, farmers may be introduced to science through, for instance, Nuffield Scholarships. To bring researchers closer to the needs of the poultry industry, the Poultry CRC runs its annual Ideas Exchange conference. The CRC is also investigating new ways to give researchers direct exposure to poultry production. Secondly, there’s a gap between research findings with commercial potential and actual commercialisation of those findings, commonly called the ‘commercialisation chasm’ or the

Lighting for brooders

‘valley of death’. Innovators, such as researchers and scientists are on one side, while entrepreneurs, investors, commercial managers, accountants, lawyers, patent attorneys, etc. are on the other. Again, these two groups have entirely distinct views. The Poultry CRC, like many other Cooperative Research Centres, deals

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with this issue structurally. Because a CRC is a joint venture between industry and researcher organisations, often with industry as well as government funding, research findings can articulate directly out of the research organisations straight to commercialising companies. To illustrate, Zoetis and Bioproperties Pty Ltd, which are both animal health companies, are members of the Poultry CRC. This means that, for example, when a new poultry vaccine is developed by the CRC, we don’t need to find a company willing, ready and able to commercialise it for delivery to industry. Instead, Bioproperties and Zoetis are involved from the beginning, not only helping with the choice of which vaccines are to be developed to meet industry needs but also with the registration process required to sell new vaccines in Australia and overseas. Thus the very structure of the CRC bridges the commercialisation chasm, ensuring that research findings with commercial potential are not wrecked at the bottom of the chasm. Thirdly, there’s also the cost involved. For every dollar spent in research to generate a research finding with commercial potential, another hundred dollars will be needed to bring that finding to market. Registration costs alone for a new vaccine may exceed $10 million. To ensure recovery of this level of investment, some kind of protection for the product in the market is required and, not surprisingly, that’s where

Poultry CRC NEWS intellectual property, in the form of patents, trade marks, etc. comes in. As IP Lawyer Rob McInnes says: “What isn’t protected can’t be commercialised.” Fourthly, the very nature of the poultry industry makes it harder to commercialise new products to it. It’s not like an app, where there’s a huge consumer market waiting to take up the next one for only $1.99. Instead, the poultry industry has tight margins. It has a high volume, low profit per bird or egg structure. In addition, the chicken, turkey and duck meat industries are highly vertically integrated, with the egg industry becoming increasingly so. This is why a number of products that actually work, such as nutritional supplements or litter amelioration agents, are not used by industry; the cost of adding these products does not generate a sufficient benefit to the bottom line to make it worth buying them. Finally, a farm operates as an entire production system, which makes it difficult to implement some new research findings without threatening the system. If, for example, a new litter treatment on a broiler farm doesn’t work, it’s impracticable to move two-week old broilers to another shed while you fix the problem. The finding must therefore be proved to at least a commercially viable pilot stage before any on-farm trials can take place. This is why the Poultry CRC places such an emphasis on research, development and extension. ‘Extension’, in this context, means taking research findings and new knowledge directly to farmers. As the CRC enters the final years of its second term, the effort put into extension will only increase. For example, although CRC researchers have demonstrated that pathogen loads are reduced through partial composting of spent broiler litter between batches, the truly vital outcome is to provide clear guidelines to growers on how to reliably treat spent litter on their own farms. Similarly, the CRC has partnered with Australian Egg Corporation Limited to ensure the development and extension to farmers of an industry best practice for on-farm euthanasia of spent hens.

Five more Brazilian poultry processing plants for China Five more Brazilian poultry processing plants have been approved for export to China. The newly recognized plants, two owned by BRF, two by JBS and one by Frango Bello, bring the total number of plants allowed to export to China to 24. Discussions with the Chinese certification authorities on recognition of more plants are ongoing. “The Chinese market has a high demand for animal protein, and there is great potential to expand our trade partnership. To this end, we are focused, together with the government, on bringing a new Chinese mission back to the country soon,” said Franciso Turra, executive president of Brazil’s poultry industry association Ubabef. China is the sixth largest export market for Brazilian chicken. In 2013, it took 5 percent of all shipments, totaling 190,300 tons with a value of US$440.7 million. During the first two months of 2014, Brazil exported 32,300 tons of poultry meat to China, worth US$72.5 million.


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Free Range Egg Farms offers a more certain future Free Range Egg Farms (FREF) was set up by its co-owner Ray Leach in 2002 and since that time has developed not only well known free range labels, but also some of the first functional food labels like ‘Ecoeggs’. Ray comes from a long established background in the poultry industry and his grandfather was “the first commercial hatchery man in Australia,” Ray revealed. Today FREF is a significant supplier of innovative boxed egg lines to amongst others, Woolworths, Coles and Metcash-IGA. Poultry Digest met Ray on the Central Coast as he broke his trip from Sydney to one of the new Hunter Valley enterprises. Ray has significant experience in agribusiness with a particular emphasis on strategies and marketing concepts to suit 21st Century retailing and changing consumer needs. “The sudden shift towards different consumer priorities, combined with fierce retailer competition and now regulatory requirements over labeling issues, has overtaken many producers in the industry who may feel uncertain about their future,” Ray said. “The egg industry in particular has grown to meet increasing consumption with ever more efficient farms but now we are faced with consumers who want more than just an affordable and safe meal – they expect that as a given.” Demand for free range eggs, according to possibly conservative ABARES estimates released at the recent 2014 ABARES Outlook Conference, has risen from 8% of the market in 2002 to more than 38% in 2013. “We have strategies that not only help retailers supply demand for cagefree and other forms of egg production but also attract consumers to products with health benefits like our Ecoegg range. “To achieve this we have taken a leaf from the broiler industries book (Ray’s family farm business was taken over by Ingham Enterprises in 1985) and work with contract growers,” Ray explained. “Though we address the growing


consumer need for ‘ethical production’, epitomized by Coles and Woolies cage free policies, we have engaged industry experts like Rowly Horn and Dr David O’Farrell (nutrition) and Dr Ben Wells (veterinary) to ensure our production methods are safe, sustainable and welfare friendly. “In addition to a formidable team giving scientific as well as practical guidance, Rob Scott, the farming manager for Ray’s enterprise has vital, hands-on farming skills. “To ensure a sustainable business model our products are patented (Ecoeggs) and strongly branded to ensure consumer recognition. “To help grow our business we are looking for existing or would be farmers who either want to change from their current systems that may not suit today’s retail requirements, or maybe even broiler farmers, who confused by the suddenly changing scenarios in the chicken meat industry, seek a more certain future in poultry production. “Either way we offer a range of business models including joint ventures where we can help growers move to different production models be they barn laid, free range or our functional food production. “We realize that this means

Ray Leach from Free Range Egg Farms

investment for growers and we offer financial expertise to help with a transition which will in the future provide a more secure income for their farms,” Ray stated. “For those prepared to work with us to transition to production that suits today’s consumer and retailer expectations, we have all the tools including marketing expertise, brands, finance, and most importantly, an established market.” The egg industry in Australia has proved itself adept at efficient production and more recently, clever marketing of a basic commodity into a shifting market, however for many growers the burdens of marketing and distribution may be more than many producers want to take on. “The business model of the contract broiler grower served the majority of growers well as it gave them a certain income provided they just concentrated on looking after their birds,” Ray said. “We offer the same opportunity. We deliver the hens and feed, also provide the critical guidance necessary to grow the specific product our customers require. “There is a lot of change going on in the poultry market and for many the requirements of integrators, regulators and now competing animal welfare groups may be just too much,” Ray suggested. “Our advice is, if you are being forced to consider a period of radical changes, consider an industry and organisation that can bring stability to your farming activity,” he concluded.

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Aviagen Australia fully invested in new facilities at Goulbourn Aviagen Australia Pty Ltd is fully owned by Aviagen Group which, according to Peter Hanna, General Manager Aviagen Australia, is the leader in the development and distribution of broiler breeding stock around the world and has imported birds into the Australian market since 1991. “The company’s domestic production took a major step forward when the purchase of Bartter Enterprises in Griffith, NSW in 2008 was made with the main objective of becoming an integral part of the local market by producing parent stock directly for domestic customers,� said Mr Hanna. “The second phase of the long term investment in the Australian market power supply into the property. Multiple commenced with the announcement in poultry sheds have sprung up all the August 2013 that Aviagen Australia was way along the road with Farm 5 housing moving its operations to Goulburn. the future great grandparent stock set The company had broken ground for completion in March and for the on a recently acquired 850 acre block immediate placement of birds ready to of land about 20 kilometers out of town go into production. for the construction of a new five farm “This will be followed later in the facility designed to produce a growing month by the three houses on Farm supply of breeding stock for the future 2 and a further three houses on Farm broiler industry in Australia. 3 during April. The project will reach “The company office will also be completion when all the sheds on Farm relocated and established in Goulburn 1 at the entrance of the property and over the coming months. the two sheds on Farm 4 are standing “The project has now progressed and equipped for the initial intake of following the construction of a new four kilometer road 21/03/14 and a complete Project1:PoltexAd2 3:47 PM Page 1 birds.

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“The new Braidwood Road farm is anticipated to be in full production in the fourth quarter this year and will supply in time roughly half of the Ross 308 parent stock volume required for the local market. “The planning has been extensive with the completion of an environmental impact report designed to ensure zero effect on the environment through effective management of water runoff and also extensive separation of houses with the purchase of over four times the minimum area land normally required for a commercial operation. Set backs are a minimum of at least 200 meters for the poultry sheds which

NEWS consist of high quality design and components. Poured concrete floors, sandwich panel walls filled with fire retardant foam and smooth easy to clean surfaces, completely housed cables and a curved ceiling designed to optimize ventilation all contribute to the new, efficient production facility. “Aviagen has a history of investing in the rural communities not only through the acquisition of land and construction of production facilities, but also in hiring and training local people to fill good quality jobs in production, hatchery, technical service and administrative functions in the company. “The farm alone is planning to increase staff by recruiting

for 14 new jobs and by the end of 2015 another 15 jobs are likely when the new hatchery in Goulburn is expected to be finished. “We are pleased with the progress on the production unit and the location. The lack of any poultry production facilities in the nearby area, one hour by road to the feed mill, two hours to Sydney and a strong interest in jobs from the local community all contribute to a desirable mix for running our day-to-day business,” concluded Mr Hanna.


Focus Asia 2014 The 6th edition of Pig, Poultry & Dairy Focus Asia, which was held at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand on March 3-5, was a great success with more than 400 attendees from more than 25 different countries. The event was for senior livestock production managers, nutritionists and veterinarians and focused on livestock production including nutrition, health and breeding.    Following the opening ceremony, when delegates were addressed by the Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Veterinary Associations (FAVA), Assoc. Prof. Dr Achariya Sailasuta, there were four keynote presentations before dividing into three species specific conferences.    The first of these was given by Dr Pim Langhout from DSM on the topic of ‘Intestinal targeting of nutrients for specific gene expression’ which highlighted how different feed ingredients can influence the functioning of cells and/ or organs in the animal’s body and how this could result in improved animal health and productivity.    Roland Klober from Thermo Fisher Scientific focused on the revolutionary road down which diagnostic testing was going and how such testing was going to play a greater and greater role in future livestock production.    Dr Tugrul Durali from Alltech’s Asian Pacific Mycotoxin Management Team then spoke on ‘The latest developments in mycotoxin detection and control’ and in so doing highlighted the challenges of mycotoxin diversity, masked mycotoxins and the latest survey results.    Finally, Dr Marcus Remmers, Head of Global Bio R&D at Merial looked at the future of vaccination and in particular how the next generation of recombinant vaccines will better and more broadly address unmet demands.    In the three species specific conferences, experts from all around the world then shared their expertise and experience with delegates. The next Pig, Poultry & Dairy Focus Asia is planned for 2016 and will again be held in Bangkok.

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TPG may float Inghams in 2014 On December 3, 2013 the Australian Financial Review published an article on its ‘Street Talk’ page “Inghams looks set to bring home the bacon for TPG’. “The chicken empire founded in 1918 is doing well under its new owners and the leap in earnings has sparked hopes of a rapid exit with financiers looking for a $1 billion-plus listing for the second half of 2014,” the article stated. Another option canvassed in the article was to “refinance the company by tapping the US Term Loan B market”. “The cheaper debt terms would enable the private equity firm to take money off the table and hand it back to investors via a dividend redistribution. “TPG sank about $260 million of equity into the business and financed the acquisition with borrowings from an eight strong syndicate of lenders. “Another canny way to extract cash early may be a sale and lease back of Ingham’s real estate. “Street Talk understands TPG is considering a potential $500 million transaction with the properties likely to be off loaded to a real estate investment trust,” the AFR article stated. On the following day December 4, 2013 in an article by AFR reporter, Larry Schlesinger it was revealed that, “Private Equity firm TPG has confirmed it is considering offloading


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Inghams Enterprises poultry property empire to a $500 million listed real estate trust in a sale and lease back deal”. “TPG responded to the article in ‘Street Talk’ the previous day by stating that they are “thinking about it” in relation to the listed real estate trust. “We have not yet made a decision but if one is made, we will use the funds to invest back into Inghams and grow the business,” a TPG spokesman was reported as stating in the AFR article. “A listed Inghams property trust would be a highly unusual Australian Real Estate Investment Trust (A-REIT) including specialized industrial property such as hatcheries, feed mills, processing and packaging facilities. “It was suggested in the article that TPG could use the float to unlock the equity in the long held portfolio and reinvest it in new equipment and processing facilities in what is a very capital intensive industry,” the article concluded. Certainly Inghams, apart from being a well established brand name in Australia with a substantial share of the still growing chicken meat market, supplies feed from its mills to a variety of livestock industries as well as its own farms. Its position as a grain accumulator cannot be underestimated, particularly in light of the current global enthusiasm for some Australian agricultural stocks as witnessed in the recent attempted take over of Graincorp by US giant ADM. Recent moves by big retail to secure what consumers perceive as ‘welfare friendly’ chicken meat, like the recently announced RSPCA ‘Freedom Foods’ initiative, though not without downsides, have the potential to increase consumption as well as returns to chicken meat integrators, including Inghams. Prior to the sale of Inghams to TPG in March 2013 for $880 million, it was known in the finance sector that Inghams advisors Investec has considered a public float as an alternative to an outright sale of the company. In what could arguably have been a more pessimistic climate for investment in early 2013 it was thought that a public float would have raised $1 billion. Should TPG decide to take that course later in 2014 that figure could be substantially higher given the global interest in well established food companies. Last year, given the milk wars largely created by supermarket competition and stagnant global markets for dairy product, potential investors in dairy would have been wary. The takeover in January 2014 of the Warnambool Cheese and Butter enterprise by the Canadian Saputo company has effectively seen the doubling in value of dairy stocks.

The next issue of Poultry Digest is the PIX Special, to be published in early May. To advertise in the April/May issue please contact Pete Bedwell on 0419 235 288 or 02 4323 0005. Email:


PIX 2014 update Wet litter and litter availability and disposal are issues seriously confronting the meat chicken industry. At PIX 2014 the issue will be addressed with a full-day litter management workshop, covering topics such as understanding and identifying the true causes of wet litter, understanding how well your litter can cope with water load, how ventilation impacts on water-holding capacity of litter, as well as facts about litter re-use and disposal. There is a mix of international and local presenters along with groundbreaking research outcomes from research teams at QAAFI and UNE. PIX is also holding a half day workshop for layer producers on the Wednesday, presenting the latest information on: ‘Flock management for higher performance’ and ‘Does your decision making support your farm goals?’ You are invited to participate in a workshop introducing you to new tools and approaches for building and sustaining higher performance. Delegates who participate in the hands-on use of the software will receive: • Three months free trial to use Hen Support. • Three months free trial to use Integrated EggBiz. • Opportunity to participate in a bench marking program. The PIX Program is packed with the latest knowledge and research from Australia and overseas. Sessions on welfare, productivity, food safety, disease, biosecurity, energy usage, environment and sustainability Workshops will be running on hatchery management, breeder management, ask-a-vet and aska-nutritionist so you can find just what you are looking for. Looking to surpass the size of last PIX, with a wider range of exhibitors. Booths are filling fast, you’ll need to get your booking in soon to ensure a place. Sunday is dedicated to the trade show and delegates who only wish to visit the trade show can do so on Sunday (entry fee applies to cover costs).

Composting layer hens – does it smell? Mr Eugene McGahan from FSA Consulting recently completed a project, titled ‘Odour Measurement and Impact from Spent Hen Composting’, which was funded by the Poultry CRC. This research quantified the extent of odour emissions from composting of spent hens at layer farms. The project was a collaborative effort between FSA Consulting, Pacific Environment Limited, the QLD Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and two participating producers (in southern Queensland and northern NSW). The project is of great interest to industry, as composting spent layer hens has become more common in practice. However there are community concerns that if composting is conducted on-farm it has the potential to increase odour emissions that could impact negatively on neighbouring residents. Almost 100 odour emission samples were collected using a flux chamber. These were subsequently analysed at

the DAFF olfactometer in Toowoomba. Using the collected odour emission data, project leader Eugene McGahan and the team at FSA were then able to develop typical emissions profiles (by windrow age) for both sawdust and manure-based windrows. Eugene explained, “to quantify odour generation, emissions produced by composting spent hens on-farm, and the likely impact these have on community amenity, different odour modelling scenarios were run. The assessment showed that the addition of composting operations to a typical farm would have a negligible impact on overall emissions. However, this is based on the assumption that the windrows would be placed and then disturbed infrequently, and managed appropriately”. For further information on this project or to request a copy of the Final Report from this project, please contact the Poultry CRC (admin@poultrycrc.

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President of WPSA Dr Trevor Bagust dies Poultry veterinarians and avian health scientists around the world have been saddened by the death of the President of the World Veterinary Poultry Association Australia, Dr Trevor Bagust, who died suddenly on February 28, 2014 and whose funeral service was held in his hometown of Port Fairy on March 11. Dr Bagust had assumed the presidency at WVPA’s Cancun Conference in 2011 and had been at the helm of WVPA at an evolutionary time when, among other things, the Asian membership was expanded and the first WVPA Asian Conference had been held. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the WVPA Hall of Honour, which recognises the contribution of great veterinarians and scientists in the avian health field. The first group of these eminent individuals was inducted into the Hall of Honour in 2013 at WVPA’s Nantes Congress in France. Naturally, Dr Trevor Bagust was in this first intake. Another milestone in WVPA’s history during Trevor’s presidency was the establishment of the annual Young Poultry Veterinarian Award, which recognises exceptional young poultry veterinarians and was first awarded in 2012. Prior to his time in WVPA, Dr Bagust had been actively involved in the Australasian Veterinary Poultry Association and was instrumental in taking the WVPA’s Global Congress to his home city of Melbourne in 1993. Dr Bagust’s poultry career started in the field in Australia where he developed Australian SPF stock and then took this technology into China and other parts of the third world. During his time in China he developed friendships that have

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Dr Trevor Bagust, President of the WPSA

lasted to this day. His contribution to the understanding of chicken diseases was second to none and he is particularly remembered in this context in the field of poultry viral diseases and, in particular, infectious laryngotracheitis. A vaccine that he developed and patented many years ago is still used today. In the latter years of his professional career, he joined the staff of the University of Melbourne in Australia where he became the ‘founding father’ of Avian Health Online. This has become the leading online postgraduate avian health educational resource and still operates globally today. Within WVPA, Dr Bagust will always be remembered for his pipe smoking and his banter with British and South African colleagues about cricket and rugby. The greatest memory for many will be of Trevor as a friend, advisor and mentor of poultry colleagues around the world with whom he always had time to share his wisdom and knowledge. “Trevor was a wonderful person, a great poultry veterinarian and an inspired leader,” concluded his WVPA Executive colleagues, “and our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife, Joanne, daughters and grandchildren.”

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The Animal Welfare Board of India issued an advisory to all state governments last year stating that battery cages should be phased out by 2017. The Poultry Federation of India has been checking with the states of Punjab and Haryana animal husbandry departments as to whether they are phasing out traditional cages and guarding against the installation of new battery cages, but concluded that no concrete action has been taken in either state. India is the third largest egg producer in the world, and at least 70% of the country’s eggs come from commercial farmers using traditional cages.


BEC Feed Solutions set to taste NZ market BEC Feed Solutions Australia has cemented its commitment to the New Zealand agricultural market with the opening of a New Zealand trading arm, BEC Feed Solutions NZ. The move was prompted by New Zealand’s rapidly developing animal production market and thriving dairy industry, which has seen a 70% growth over the past 20 years. This, coupled with the dairy industry’s growing preference for supplementary feeding over a solely pasture-based system, provides a sound platform for BEC – Australia’s largest independent animal pre-mix manufacturer – to officially enter the New Zealand market. Specialising in high quality, innovative animal nutrition products, including premixes, feed additives, supplements and feed commodities, BEC Feed Solutions NZ will service the New Zealand’s dairy, calf rearing, horse breeding, pig, poultry, dry-stock and companion animal sectors. Until now, BEC Feed Solutions Australia has been supplying nutritional products to key manufacturers in the New Zealand market. Growing these existing partnerships and finding new supply relationships is an important part of BEC’s strategy. Brett Antonio, Managing Director of BEC Feed Solutions Australia says the company is well-placed to supply the needs of modern agricultural production in New Zealand. “New Zealand’s animal production industry is growing rapidly, with more than 953,000 tonnes of compound feed produced in 2012 and 35-40% of owner-operated dairy farms now opting

Trina Parker Country Manager and Jennifer McCarty, Technical Services Officer from BEC Feed Solutions NZ. for a supplementary-feed system”. “With two dedicated full-time manufacturing plants, sound distribution capacity, leading quality assurance and over 25 years’ industry experience, we are perfectly positioned to service the New Zealand market,” said Mr Antonio. Mr Antonio adds that producing optimum quality ingredients is at the core of BEC’s business philosophy. “Our business is guided by a healthy respect for our relationship to the human food chain and as such we are committed to manufacturing and supplying safe, quality feed products”. “This is now more crucial than ever considering New Zealand’s increasing consumer demand, stringent regulations, increasing exports, animal welfare, and the need to maintain competitive quality advantage”. “We want to contribute to further growing the country’s animal production

market by working closely with New Zealand companies to optimise nutritional health” explained Mr Antonio. “BEC Feed Solutions NZ will be managed by a dedicated New Zealandbased technical team, with a collective 20 years’ experience in animal nutrition and health, ingredient procurement and related regulatory controls. “BEC Feed Solutions Pty Ltd is an independent family-owned company located in Brisbane. “Its mission is to become the leader in the supply of nutritional advice, premixes, feed ingredients and feed commodities to the Australian, NZ and international agricultural markets.” With the addition of its New Zealand trading arm, BEC Feed Solutions now operates in three countries; Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. For further information see



How does the wind affect your ventilation? Good ventilation systems and temperature control on farms is paramount in ensuring the health of livestock. “Living in Victoria, I know how the northerly wind can blow hot and hard during the summer months and therefore the combination of heat and wind is a double hit for most farmers,” said Simon Bradwell, Managing Director of ebmpapst A&NZ. “Traditional ventilation systems typically consist of an AC-capacitor motor or an AC three phase motor if the power is higher,” he said. “Typically a small motor and a large diameter fan are used and will, at full speed, have a low torque. As evidenced by many users, at a wind pressure of 10-30 Pa on the building the fan will not rotate as fast as its nominal speed. “If then the ventilation system is controlled to a lower set point by the voltage controller, the torque curve is not linear and it will become increasingly more sensitive to wind and wind gusts. “This means that the ventilation of the farm is note adequate, and not in control,” Mr Bradwell said. “As shown in Figure 2, EC-fans have full torque from approximately 8% and the torque/rpm relationship is linear. This means that the fans will not slow down due to wind which again means that we are able to drive the fan at the exact needed set point in full control.

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Figure 1: The torque speed characteristics of many Single phase AC motors “This saves energy, ensures that the system is in control, and the environment is correct for the animals. About ebm-papst “The ebm-papst Group is the world’s leading manufacturers of fans and motors and is a pioneer and pacesetter for ultra-efficient EC technology,” said Mr Bradwell. “ebm-papst fans and motors are represented in many industries, including ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration technology, household appliances, heating engineering, in IT/telecommunications, in medical technology and in applications in automotive and commercial vehicles engineering. ebm-papst EC motor technology, and the market leader’s engineering and logistics expertise will add value to your business.” For more information go to

Figure 2: The torque speed characteristics of many EC and DC motors.


Celebrating 25 years of APSS The 2014 Australian Poultry Science Symposium (APSS) held on February 16-19 2014 was the 25th event. The original APSS was held on the main university campus of Sydney University in February 1989. At an informal Avian Science Forum held in the Great Hall in the Main Quad, University of Sydney Camperdown Campus on February 16, Dr Peter Groves, acting head of the Poultry Research Foundation, opened the session and stated that over the years the APSS had “become a globally recognised forum for scientists to present their research material conducted within Australia and overseas. “Some of the world’s most talented scientists have presented at APSS over the years,” he said. The first guest speaker, Dr Derick Balnave, an early driving force behind the establishment of APSS, in a paper prepared by himself and Emeritus Professor Frank Annison, traced the metamorphosis of a localized symposia into an internationally recognised event. “The Australian Poultry Science Symposia evolved from the earlier successful symposia of the Poultry Research Foundation (PRF) which began in 1978,” he said. “The decision to extend the previously held occasional symposia to an annual event arose at meetings of the director of the foundation, Professor Frank Annison, the Research Director, Associate Professor Derick Balnave and the PRF President Dr Balkar Bains. “The first of the annual symposia was held in February 1983. The PRF joined forces with the World’s Poultry Science Association in 1989 and Professor Wayne Bryden provided invaluable support to Professor Balnave during he establishment of he PRF Symposia. At these PRF symposia distinguished overseas scientists were invited to present the latest research findings of relevance to the poultry industry in Australia. This feature of the APSS has continued in its significance over the years and in 2001 distinguished journalist from the US based Feedstuffs’ magazine commented that the APSS “was one of the most outstanding poultry symposia, and is easily in the top 1% if not number one of all

poultry science meetings in the world,” Professor Balnave revealed. Next longtime industry member John McLeish, now from ADM Australia who has participated in 22 of the 25 APSS events pointed out that “one cannot give enough recognition to the short papers presented at APSS and included in the proceedings. “In many cases the one page papers are precursors to full papers in peer reviewed journals, in some cases appearing several years in advance of their full publication,” Mr Mcleish pointed out. The final speaker was Adam Naylor WPSA Queensland President and Country Manager for Alletch. “APSS remains the premier poultry science meeting in Australia and is held in substantial international regard so we look forward to many more years of

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Dr Derick Balnave productive science expounded through its form, fostered and supported by the PRF and, of course the WPSA. “WPSA is rightly proud of its involvement in the APSS,” he said.

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APSS Alltech Poultry Advantage Breakfast On the morning of March 17, just prior to the first conference session at the 2014 Australian Poultry Science Symposium Alltech held its Advantage Breakfast. Alltech Country Manager Adam Naylor opened the proceedings and introduced Dr Alexis Kiers (Kiers Consulting US) whose topic was ‘Actigen for poultry: an international perspective’. Dr Kiers described Actigen’s mode of action as having, “a decoy effect Dr Tugrul Durali (left) and Dr Alexis Kiers (right). (adsorption of pathogenic bacteria containing Type1 Fimbriae), modulation with results that demonstrates the or Salmonella. of the host immune response, and effectiveness of Actigen is about to be Next Dr Tugrul Durali a PhD improvement of intestinal integrity published, Dr Kiers revealed. graduate from Sydney University Poultry through action on the growth of crypts Seed –Weed- Feed, (SFW), a Science Research Center at Camden and villi of the intestine as well as the specific poultry on-farm program and now Alltech Asia’s mycotoxin goblet cells and germinal center,” he developed by Dr Stephen Collett from specialist, revealed the extent of said. the University of Georgia US, using mycotoxins contaminating Australian He also mentioned recent trials All-Lac XCL 5X (Seed) ACID-PAK (Feed) feed. conducted at UNS by Bob Swick and and Actigen to Weed or eliminate bad “Of 43 samples taken 33% had 6-8 his team on the use of Actigen as a bacteria that compete for resources and mycotoxin strains present and 9% had tool to reduce the impact of necrotic can disturb gut health, e.g. E.coli 9-11 contaminants,” he revealed. enteritis in broilers this work Project4:Layout 1 and 21/03/14 12:22 PM Page 1




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Australian Chicken Growers’ Council concerned with move towards RSPCA Australian chicken producers say they are the latest in a long line of farmers and industries to be the target of shallow marketing tactics being deployed by the supermarket duopoly. Coles supermarket recently announced that it would only stock RSPCA-approved chicken on its shelves, but the chicken meat industry says the move is a hollow marketing tactic, and the supermarket giant was using devious advertising double-speak to disguise the real impacts on farmers. The Australian Chicken Growers Council, the national body for Australia’s 650 chicken producers, says the move by the supermarket duopoly created significant negatives for chicken growers, the value chain, and chicken meat consumers. “Consumers are being duped into paying increased prices for their food

with no scientific basis for the claims that this change is providing enhanced animal welfare,” ACGC President Mike Shaw said. “They are in fact being denied choice by the supermarkets. Changing farms to an RSPCA-accredited production system comes at a significant extra cost to chicken growers and this system also shifts significant risk of production from processors onto farmers,” Mr Shaw said. “At the moment, growers aren’t being fairly compensated for those costs and risks. Growers are not being given any indication that they will be fairly compensated for the costs associated with this move. “This move is costing consumers more, and even though the extra cost is largely borne by farmers, the farmers aren’t seeing the value passed on.”

Mr Shaw added that the move was further duplicitous in the impression it sought to create of this product line. “Watching Coles’ advertisements, an unknowing consumer could be led to believe that RSPCA-accreditation is comparable to free range production. This is not the case. “Further, the chicken industry has serious questions about the rationale behind some of the RSPCA guidelines, which were not developed in consultation with farmers. “Growers, who work with their birds every day, see some RSPCA guidelines as having a negative impact on bird welfare, such as constant extra entries into sheds and frequent rotary hoeing. “And now the RSPCA is commercially involved with the major retailers, receiving a significant income stream from licencing fees,” he said.

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APSS BEC Feed Solutions Breakfast March 18 started early for delegates who attended the BEC Feed Solutions Breakfast at APSS. ‘Innovative tools for nurturing the bottom line’, was the theme. Dr Avril Finn introduced a company that has undergone significant growth in the 26 years since it was established. “The company operates two premix plants, medicated and non-medicated and uses all relevant quality assurance protocols,” she said. “BEC is the distributor for key Australian based companies including DHA Rural Supplies, Kewpie Stockfeeds, National Feed Solutions, and Bio-John Animal Health. “BEC distributes an international range of feed additives including Adisseo’s Microvit, Rhodimet, Rovabio and Selisseo, Nuscience Aromabiotic, and Animal Science Products’ Vac Pak & PKA,” Dr Finn explained. She concluded by stating that at BEC we are “reinvesting in nutrition and innovation for meeting specific needs of Australian livestock industries by using important R&D tools like Adisseo’s Precise Nutrition Evaluation NIR service”. Next guest speaker Pierre-Andr’e Gereart, Marketing and Innovation Director, Adisseo, France spoke on the topic of ‘PNE-A, new tool to better optimise your feed quality’. Mr Andr’e warned that large databases, often a feature of NIR technology use, do not always reflect better accuracy. In conclusion he predicted that PNE could be used to

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Top: Guest speaker PierreAndr’e Gereart, Marketing and Innovation Director, Adisseo. Left: Dr David Isaac, Animal Health and Research Manager BEC Feed Solutions.

better predict feedstuff nutrient digestibility being directly correlated to in vivo measurement leading to digestibility values for every batch and he spoke of experienced gained in over 40 years of research and the several applications developed. The final speaker was Dr David Isaac, Animal Health and Research Manager at BEC Feed Solutions. His paper entitled, ‘Water vaccinations – are your chooks getting optimal immunity?’ was a practical guide for growers and farm managers to follow to ensure the best results for water based vaccination strategies. “Vaccination does not guarantee immunization,” David stated. “Vaccines must survive many risks to provide birds with full immunity, and that there are threats to antigen titer increases during mass applications such as drinking water or spray vaccination,” he said. “In preparing the vaccine for use add a modern generation stabilizer to the water via concentrate or directly to the water tank. “Vac Pac Plus requires only 100 grams to stabilize 1000 litres of water. “The dark blue dye in Vac Pac Plus is clearly visible in the water supply to drinker lines and later on the tongue or crop of the birds demonstrating that they have drunk the treated water containing vaccine,” David said.


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Poultry Digest February/March 2014  
Poultry Digest February/March 2014