AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program RD&E Snapshot
As we head into a new research, development and extension (RD&E) period for the Australian chicken meat industry (2022–2027), it is timely to reflect on...
Published: 9 Mar 2016
Author(s): Geier, Mark, Hughes, Bob, Black, John
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Feed is the greatest individual cost to the poultry industry. Observed large variations in the efficiency of feed use, growth rate of birds and days to market can have a major impact on profitability. Research that results in either a reduction in variability, through real-time quantification of essential nutrients within ingredients, or a reduction in ingredient cost, through a more reliable and diverse supply, would greatly benefit the poultry industry.
Cereal grains used by the poultry industry are known to vary widely in available energy and protein content which is often reflected as variation in bird performance because standardised ingredient values are used for ration formulation. In addition, the true available nutrient content of many grain parcels down-graded for human consumption is unknown, for example pinched, high screenings, frosted and germinated grains. Rapid or real-time techniques for measuring the apparent metabolisable energy (AME) content and AME intake of grains for birds would greatly assist the purchase of grains at appropriate prices and the accuracy of feed formulation that should result in a marked reduction in variability in nutrient supply across formulated batches of feed.
Establishing AME and AME intake values for new grain samples will allow industry to strengthen the existing near infrared reflectance (NIR) calibrations for grains with characteristics not yet tested or tested in sufficient quantity. Testing samples submitted by industry (by NIR, using current calibrations and also in vivo) would also provide nutritionists first-hand experience of the usefulness of the new tests for decreasing time to bird harvest and improving the efficiency of grain use. Enhanced NIR calibrations resulting from this project will be made available to current users of the technology when they renew their licences from AusScan. Others wishing to have access to the technology without incurring the high capital cost of NIR scanning equipment can submit grain samples to licensed service providers.