Agriculture. Food. Health. Eco. Science. Business. Innovation. More.

View from the leading edge

The team enjoys working with a number of great companies who are not just reacting to industry changes but helping to lead and new solutions.

A great example is Poultry Partners, which offers a unique collaborative model built for the future. This company is positioned at the leading edge, as the new year brings fresh thinking and updated, more integrated strategies to help operations stay at the top of their game.

Major trends such as reduced antimicrobial use, the rise of branded retailer programs, enhanced sustainable production standards and a raft of welfare-friendly innovations continue to take hold. New rules as part of the now fully implemented Veterinary Feed Directive in the U.S. are having widespread impact. In Canada, the major phase of new antibiotic rules including increased veterinary oversight come into effect Dec. 1, 2018, running parallel to the next phase of the landmark Chicken Farmers of Canada Antimicrobial Use Strategy targeting the discontinuation of any preventative antimicrobial use in poultry production by the end of 2020.

At the same time, the wealth of knowledge and toolbox of options is expanding to help poultry farms transition to the future, to not only survive but thrive in this new environment. “Change is a constant every year,” says Shawn Fairbairn, lead nutritionist with Poultry Partners. “But entering 2018 I think it’s fair to say the pace of change is at a high level compared to previous years. Poultry operations are facing an expanding number of demands and requirements. But we are also seeing the emergence of a new level of improved knowledge, tools and related strategies to help them meet these challenges.”

A leading trend for boosting the overall management and success of poultry operations is the shift toward more integrated strategies – including the adoption of models that more closely integrate strategies for management, health and nutrition. Poultry Partners itself is a top example of a company serving poultry operations that is embracing this trend toward greater integration. The company is a combined effort between Poultry Health Services, which provides veterinary and health management services, and Nutrition Partners, a nutrition company offering nutrition options and formulations. Additional related key trends include greater emphasis on precision and customization.

“There is increasing recognition that everything on a poultry operation is inter-related,” says Theunis Wessels, Sales & Marketing Manager with Poultry Partners. “If you make a change in one area it affects the other areas. As a result, it only makes sense to have more integrated strategies.” Particularly with the shift away from medicated feed or preventative antimicrobial use, more advanced integrated strategies across health and nutrition, along with more hands-on management approaches, are needed, he says. “The more integrated and detailed you are in your strategies, the better your opportunity for success. That holds true whether you are antibiotic-free or conventional, but with reduced antimicrobial use the importance is greater.”

The benefits of integration and synergy across health, nutrition and management extend beyond the farm level, says veterinarian Dr. Tom Inglis of Poultry Health Services. “Concepts such as ‘one health’ are taking hold. As we make improvements to more efficiently and sustainably produce safe, healthy food for the marketplace, we are delivering more value to society as a whole and strengthening our positive relationship with consumers. Poultry production like many areas of animal agriculture faces higher expectations, but with the right approaches to meet these demands ultimately this can be a positive challenge that is driving positive change, benefitting everyone from farmers to the animals to consumers. The year ahead will be a very interesting one to watch as the fast pace of progress continues.”

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