DUNBOYNE, Ireland (Alltech) — With high feed costs, increased government regulations and intensifying consumer demands, the future of the poultry industry is difficult to predict. Yet, at Alltech’s 10th Poultry Solutions Seminar held in Hannover, Germany Nov. 12, a number of distinguished poultry industry experts lent their experience to the discussion, giving presentations on their cutting edge research and the issues that they believe will be of most importance in 2013.

Antibiotic resistance is a trending news topic globally and governments are starting to take notice. Dr. Marcel Boereboom, Royal Dutch Society for Veterinary Medicine, discussed the impact this is having on the Dutch industry, following a study by the Dutch Health Council. He described how the government of the Netherlands have, to date, banned certain antibiotics and implemented a targeted reduction of 50 percent (of 2009 levels) of the total amount of antibiotics used in food producing animals by 2013.

In the next presentation, Professor Stephen Collett, University of Georgia, recommended a shift in gut health management, from working against pathogens to working with the intestinal microbial community. This involves improving performance by accelerating the evolution and maintaining the stability of favorable intestinal microbiota. According to Dr. Collett, the three most important areas of an effective intestinal health management program include: “seeding” the gut with favorable organisms, "feeding" the favorable organisms and "weeding" out the unfavorable organisms.

Professor Roselina Angel, University of Maryland, detailed research on how neonatal conditioning, resulting in epigenetic changes, shows great promise in terms of improving phosphorus utilization.

“By applying a moderate phosphorus deficiency in young chicks, the bird is conditioned to utilize phosphorus more efficiently throughout its life. The timing of the conditioning is critical and requires a clear understanding of skeletal growth, the main driver of calcium and phosphorus requirements,” Dr. Angel explained.

Controlling Campylobacter, a bacteria that poses no danger to poultry, but is the leading cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis, was the topic of Professor Frank Pasmans’ presentation, researched at Ghent University. When a single bird is infected, the infection spreads quickly through the flock, resulting in the majority of birds being colonized within only a few days after Campylobacter entry.

Dr. Pasman explained how, overall, the outlook is bleak if the flock has been infected but results of recent studies, using oral administration of bovine or chicken immunoglobulins of hyper-immunized animals and the use of bacteriocins to limit caecal colonization, look promising. “We are still quite a ways away from commercialized products, but the future does seem to be positive,” he explained.

To deal with unpredictable feed costs and an inconsistent supply, Professor David Roland, Auburn University, recommended his econometric approach to the feeding of layers. “Feeding correctly is challenging because nutrient requirements and dietary levels needed for optimal returns are continually changing,” Dr. Roland said.

He presented his econometrics calculation tool to attendees, demonstrating how optimal econometric feeding can improve performance, returns and help regulate feed and egg prices at the same time.

For a more detailed account of the talks at the Solutions Seminar, visit

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