Poultry International - September 2017 - 13
PoultryInternational ❙ 13
and that the environment underpins economic and societal development.
Within the poultry industry, many companies have
already made significant progress in reducing environmental footprints and greening their businesses.
However, as demand for animal protein increases,
reducing or stabilizing environmental impacts will become more important but harder to achieve, meaning
that even businesses with advanced sustainability policies will need to constantly review them.
Poultry genetics businesses have made significant
progress in developing birds that make better use of the
resources expended on them.
The modern broiler or layer is a very different bird
from that of only a few decades ago, with better livability, improved growth and feed conversion rates, and
higher yields, be it for meat or eggs. Put simply, genetics
companies have been developing, although not solely focusing on, birds producing more with less, making them
perhaps ideal examples of sustainability.
However, the future may not be quite so
Newer considerations have been influencing bird development, including welfare, a growing preference for
slower-growing broilers, and cage-free environments for
layers. This could be viewed as less than optimal from
an environmental sustainability point of view, given additional resource requirements.
Yet, selection programs have taken these demands
into consideration, and birds able to respond to newer
rearing practices have emerged. For producers, however,
these demands for more space, or for keeping birds longer, may drag on environmental sustainability efforts.
A broader approach in genetic selection can be
expected to continue, but there may be other limiting
factors in making birds more sustainable -- the physiological limits of birds themselves.
Nutrition and feed
Continued progress will also occur in nutrition, both
September 2017 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
from the perspective of bird genetics and from a deeper
understanding of nutrition itself.
As technology develops, it may be possible to include ingredients in diets that, to date, have not proved
feasible or economical, and that can be locally sourced.
Technological developments should allow nutrition to be
better aligned over the entire growing or laying period.
Adriaan Smulders, strategic marketing and technology lead, poultry and additives EMEA, with Cargill,
explains: "Precision nutrition/mineral efficiency brings
better welfare for the birds and optimal use of raw material resources.
"A tailor-made diet will ensure that the animal can
use the building blocks of the feed as efficiently as pos-
Sustainability tips for the poultry, feed industries:
sible. This will lead to less loss of valuable nutrients. By
feeding the birds what they need, less is wasted."
He continues that better nutrition can also mean
healthier birds, less likely to be prone to disease. With
better nutrition, more birds will grow optimally, survive
and produce more protein.
The transport of feed or additives has an environmental impact, and the closer to home any sustainably
produced ingredients can be sourced, the greater the
likelihood of reducing environmental impact.
But transport emissions may be small compared with
those from milling itself, and concentrating production
in fewer, larger mills may be more efficient than relying
on many smaller mills, and become more commonplace.
Intelligent systems on-farm
As larger mills may be more sustainable for feed
production, the same could be said for larger farms.
Economies of scale can result in more efficient resource
allocation and make the use of precision agriculture, and
its necessary investment, more feasible.
Sophisticated house management systems, able to
control environments and feed and optimize perfor-