From innovations in precision production to the consumption of alternative proteins, these are topics that will alter the industry for the next five years
It would seem difficult, but even in a well-developed industry, such as poultry, it is still feasible to take steps to improve. To do this, it is necessary to understand the market trends in each region.
“There is a clear need to develop high-quality poultry products to meet the demand of specific markets, even under challenging conditions,” said Dr. Ruud Eits, Trouw Nutrition’s global poultry director, in an interview. “It is in these kinds of things that we must innovate.”
Precision Nutrition and Production
There are new ways of looking at nutrition that are innovative, such as split feeding , in which instead of giving a single diet throughout the day to the layers or breeders, one diet is administered in the morning and a different one in the morning. afternoon or evening, which differ in energy, amino acids and phosphorus.
In the essence of precision nutrition is knowing the particular nutritional needs of birds in certain phases of production, as well as knowing very well the raw materials with which the feed is manufactured. These two aspects cross information. That is, the hen’s physiology is different in the morning, afternoon or evening, as well as its needs. “It’s about not targeting averages, but what is required in each phase,” Eits said.
Relatively small changes in nutrition pay themselves more than financially and performance-wise, plus there is less nitrogen removal from the environment, according to Eits.
This type of precision nutrition fits perfectly with the concept of precision production, which includes different sensors and production measurements. Digital monitoring allows us to obtain more data, which must be tracked. With these measurements we see how production performs in real time, although we are just in the early days of this technology.
Another element that fits into this concept is the use of models to see how birds perform, how they will respond to diets under different conditions. “We can use all the research information and summarize it into models for application in production,” Eits added. In this way, tailor-made solutions are developed for the producer. For this, the price of meat must be taken into account, as well as the cost of raw materials
NIR (Near Infrared Spectroscopy) technology has traditionally been used in the evaluation of raw materials. “We can use it for other things, for example, to evaluate the structure of balanced food and thus be able to positively influence the development of the gizzard,” he said. Today, this technology has found wider uses within poultry.
The NIR can also be used in the scanning of fertile eggs to see their development – especially in the early stages – and to know if there will be any problems later. “This way, you can intervene early instead of waiting until it’s too late.”
NIR technology still has untapped possibilities that we can use. For example, the use of mobile scanners – instead of fixed ones – that are already used for rapid analysis. Once the raw materials are scanned, the data is sent through an application where the result can be viewed.
Another important aspect is the control of mycotoxins. “We are progressing more and more in doing rapid testing for mycotoxins, so instead of going to a lab and spending more expensive testing, rapid testing has become more and more precise and accurate.” This is an area that is being worked on, as it is a substantial risk for the producer.
The obvious: alternative meats
Alternative meats are going to impact our industry, although no one knows how fast or how far. They are still a very small part of the market, but it is growing and the technology is improving. “We should primarily look at consumers who are well informed, young consumers who can adopt it faster than we think,” Eits said. We must not be like ostriches.
There are large companies that have made investments or that have partnered with others, such as fast food. In general, “it is a question of image, because if we go more to the facts, they still have a long way to go until it is a better option than animal protein. We are completely convinced that the animal protein sector is very efficient and healthier, as well as providing nutrients and flavor ”.
Something interesting is that the people who switch to this type of alternative meat are those who consume chicken, more than those who consume beef or pork. “This is a bit contradictory, since they are going against meat that is more efficient,” according to Eits.
In poultry production, “we have a great story to tell, even more so than other animal proteins, because we have made tremendous improvements in efficiency.” If you want to be efficient and avoid the production of carbon dioxide, chicken meat has the best record.
“We don’t tell people our story well enough, even young people. We must speak of real events, not emotions, “he added.