Poultry Summit Europe 2016


, Jaarbeurs Media Plaza, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Poultry Summit Europe 2016

A world without antibiotics?

Dr. Hetty van Beers-Schreurs, director, Netherlands veterinary medicines authority
“Antibiotic use on farms in The Netherlands has been reduced by 58%, comparing 2015 with 2009. How do we keep improving poultry health, so further reducing antibiotic usage, in a sustainable way and without damaging animal welfare? This Summit has been invited to consider the contribution of 6 Challenges to this improvement.”

Challenge 1: Genetic selection and breeding

Dr. Randy Borg, European director of genetics R&D, Cobb
“Broiler genetics is driven by data. New ways of collecting and collating data will be key for the further genetic improvement of broilers.”
“Intestinal health is one of the key drivers of health and thus reduction of antibiotics.”
“Genetic improvement of intestinal health must wait for the search if there is a possible genetic correlation with specific intestinal diseases or general intestinal health.”

Willem van den Oetelaar, hatchery coaching manager, HatchTech
“Superior incubation conditions are fundamental for achieving antibiotics-free production.”
“In a world without antibiotics, the hatchery will become a profit centre rather than simply a transfer point for eggs into chicks.”
“Immediately applicable: Lower hatching temperatures (from 100-102 to 98-96 °F) give larger organs and light before hatching gives stronger bones.”
“Water and feed given immediately post-hatch make a stress-free start.”

Adriaan Smulders, poultry technology manager, Cargill Premix & Nutrition EMEA
“Five decades of genetic progress have greatly increased muscle tissue in broilers, but organ size today is only slightly more than 50 years ago.”
“We should consider chick development, beginning with feeding as early as possible after hatching to develop the microbiome and assist gut health and immunity. Do not miss the opportunity of starting with feed and water during the hatch window.”
“Early feeding of chicks needs the best ingredients, processed into mini-pellets that the bird can ingest and digest easily.”

Bas Smaal, business unit manager poultry division, Viscon
“Three big improvements can be made in the hatchery. Two are better biosecurity and better disease protection.”
“For example, heart-beat detection of live embryos allows the infection risk of non-viable eggs to be removed and hygiene is better where new chicks are separated from their shells.”
“The third potential improvement is better stress prevention, by the automatic transfer of chicks after hatching without manual handling by hatchery personnel.”

Challenge 2: Biosecurity

Professor Jeroen Dewulf, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ghent
“Biosecurity is the combination of all measures taken to reduce health risks.”
“A scoring system that has been developed for broiler units makes it easier to quantify good and bad biosecurity on a farm and to compare scores between farms.”
“This Biocheck system is free to use online. It has started to give results indicating that good biosecurity actually does reduce the use of antibiotics without losing production performance.”

Dr. Béatrice Conde-Petit, food safety officer, Bühler
“In feed hygienization for Salmonella control, it is not enough to specify only the time and temperature for the treatment — you should also say how much microbial reduction you want, since this will differ according to the initial contamination of the feed and the value of the birds receiving it.”
“In addition, do not forget the influence of moisture content on the amount of time and temperature required to achieve a set percentage kill rate.”

Msc Marc Spackler, technical sales manager, Intracare
“Having clean drinking water for the birds allows a reduction in the use of antibiotics.”
“Polluted water results in less benefit from medicines applied through the drinking system.”
“The water from the last drinker in the line should be as clean as at the point of entry to the house.”

Dr. Maarten De Gussem, Vetworks
“The ever-increasing improvement in poultry performance creates a challenge for the health of the birds, especially in terms of their intestinal health. In poultry today, between 70-80% of the antibiotics used are for gut health issues in broilers.”
“Veterinarians need to start thinking about the health influence of factors such as litter, climate, feed and water quality as well as the more traditional veterinary skills of vaccination programs and medication.”
“Possibilities for the longer term could include adopting electronic identification technology from other industries to microchip broilers to allow precision feeding and also to learn more about the relationship between their individual feed intake and gut problems.”

Ir. André Meeusen, consultant nutritionist, Framelco
“Eubiotic nutrition combines modern nutritional technology with the use of non-antibiotic feed additives such as enzymes, organic acids and probiotics.”
“As well as maximising the utilization of nutrients, it aims to modulate the flora of the gastro-intestinal tract so that undesirable organisms do not proliferate.”
“Including a multi-enzyme combination in the feed reduces the amount of undigested material that can be a substrate for pathogenic bacteria.”

Dr. Stef De Smet, senior technical service manager EMEA, Kemin
“A modern view of the pathogenicity of microbes is that this depends on the total microbial eco-system.”
“Even apparently harmless commensal organisms can become pathogens under certain conditions.”
“We should also recognize the complexity of gut flora. The ileum and cecum are only 10 centimetres apart in the bid, yet they differ markedly in their microflora.”

Challenge 3: Stress reduction on the farm

Maarten Frankenhuis, former director of Artis Zoo Amsterdam
“As well as a focus on stress reduction on the farm, it is important to consider how the bird’s natural resistance to stress may be changed through selection.”
“Natural selection in wild fowl has been replaced in domesticated chickens by artificial selection and modern birds have water and feed always available while they are mostly protected against predators, all of which probably has led to a decreased capability to cope with stress.”
“A reduced stress resistance may increase the risk of diseases and thus increase antibiotic usage.”

Dr. Jasper Heerkens, poultry specialist, Jansen Poultry Equipment
“Separating broilers from their litter removes what is probably the major challenge for intestinal health, in places where the local regulations allow these flooring systems to be used.”
“Removing manure regularly from the house reduces ammonia in the air so there are fewer breathing problems.”
“Friendlier harvesting and transport solves a major welfare problem from stress in broilers.”
“We have seen decreased antibiotic use with broiler housing that incorporates these principles.”

Lotte van de Ven, marketing and innovation manager, Vencomatic
“Dutch broiler results have shown antibiotic treatment to occur more in the first week of life than at later ages. It raises the question of how to create more robust broilers.”
“An alternative to transporting day-old chicks from the hatchery brings 18-day-incubated eggs to the farm for hatching and brooding so the stress of transfer is avoided. Hatching on the farm has been proven to reduce bacterial infections and thus usage of antibiotics, as well as rejections at slaughter.”
“There is also some progress to be made with air quality when the bird emerges from the egg. Formaldehyde disinfection in the hatchery gives effective pathogen control, but its presence in the air is probably not the best for hatching.”

Challenge 4: Diet Optimization

Dr. Christian Lückstädt, technical director feed, Addcon
“Improved broiler performance is achievable by acidifying the diet. Organic acids will certainly play a major role in feed formulations after antibiotic use is decreased.”
“These organic acids have a dual impact, not just lowering the pH of the environment in the gut but also having a direct antibacterial effect.”
“Acidification also promotes protein digestion by providing the right pH range for pepsin activation.”

Dr Béatrice Conde-Petit, food safety officer, Bühler
“The problem of aflatoxin B1 contamination is increasing in feed grains grown in southern Europe.”
“Aflatoxin B1 is the most toxic of the many mycotoxins, so cleaning adds significant value to the grain.”
“Mycotoxins are thermo-resistant, but effective cleaning is achievable even if the rejection rate of grains needs to be reduced.”

Dr. Geert Janssens, head of animal nutrition laboratory, University of Ghent
“Most research studies of when to start giving feed to chicks have compared early feeding with a delay of two days after hatching before feeding begins; there is less information about shorter delays.”
“The timing of delayed feeding will affect different tissues in different ways; it is also possible that the effects of early feeding could vary according to the breed of the broiler.”
“Early feeding is not just a nutrient supply, it is also programming the bird’s metabolism.”
“A study last year reported a higher antibody response in early-fed chicks.”

Dr. Leo den Hartog, University of Wageningen
“There are three pillars for antibiotic reduction on the farm, the first being good farm management and hygiene practices.”
“The second is to target only affected animals for treatment.”
“The third is to provide adequate nutrition with gut health support.”
“Functional feed additives can support animal health and growth while reducing the risk of disease in animals.”

Dr. Tim Goossens, business development manager, Nutriad
“The challenge with botanicals or phytogenics is to decide which one to select for possible use as a feed additive. New assay techniques can help with this.”
“But the potential antibacterial activity of a candidate can be a complicated story, including the fact that an already low amount added per ton of feed may be diluted in the gut by the bird’s water intake so that it is below the minimum inhibitory concentration.”
“Quorum sensing is a term used to describe bacterial communications that may lead to the bacteria becoming pathogenic. Natural feed additives can inhibit quorum sensing as well as having bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties.”

Dr. Yueming Dersjant-Li, innovation manager, DuPont
“Enzymes in feed reduce the substrates available for the growth of pathogenic bacteria.”
“They can also stimulate the immune function in addition to promoting gut integrity and providing prebiotics.”
“Necrotic enteritis is a big problem in poultry production. A combination of three enzymes was found to improve production under a necrotic enteritis challenge.”

Challenge 5: Welfare and sustainability

Professor Marian Stamp Dawkins, professor of animal behaviour, department of zoology, University of Oxford
“Good welfare has a commercial value.”
“We should see welfare as having an input into the bird’s immune system.”
“By observing and analysing movement of the birds we may be able to assess flock health and predict a disease incident so that medication can be targeted more accurately. A prototype system based on optical flow patterns is under development.”

Bouke Hamminga, director of international sales and business development, Pas Reform Hatchery Technologies
“Bird welfare and health are an essential part of the sustainable production of chicks by the hatchery. The question is where to start in setting welfare and sustainability targets in business models.”
“Much can be done already to improve sustainability at hatchery level by saving energy and water.”
“New methods for feeding and welfare can be slightly complicated at the moment, but the ideas behind them are not going to go away.”
“One area related to welfare receiving attention in Europe is that of determining the gender of the chick, amid concerns against the killing of all male chicks.”

Dr. Peter Oostenbach, associate director of global policy animal health, MSD Animal Health
“Reduced veterinary use of antibiotics is having less impact on the efficacy of human therapy than was thought initially, but the public pressure on livestock and poultry sectors in this area will continue.”
“Where we can make an impact, we should go for it.”
“Data on antibiotic use should be interpreted with care because of national and system differences in how the data are collected.”
“In poultry health measures, there is a case for moving vaccination into the hatchery as much as possible.”

Dr. Olivier Demeure, chief scientific officer, Groupe Grimaud
“Running selection under field conditions offers benefits in developing birds for vitality and robustness.”
“We can also monitor animal behaviour in group conditions for aggressivity and it is now possible to study the feeding behaviour of individuals when selecting for differences in feed conversion rates.”
“Differentiated broiler breed types that are slower growing and more robust, raised in lower density housing, have been found to reduce antibiotic use in practice when compared with a conventional breed type in standard housing.”

Challenge 6: Consumer acceptance

John Kirkpatrick, agricultural manager/poultry and eggs UK and Ireland, Tesco plc
“Antimicrobial resistance and a perceived over-use of antibiotics are an area of established consumer concern.”
“Retailers represent the commercial interface between scientific fact and public opinion and cannot afford to be in a ‘do nothing’ position, particularly as over-use of antibiotics is seen as intrinsically linked to animal welfare.”
“Within the Tesco supply chain, farm-based outcome measures require reporting of mg/kg use of antibiotics for the lifetime of the bird; the figures provide a direct comparison across the whole supply base, both inside and outside the UK.”
“The next steps include exploring usage profiles and factors contributing to high/low inclusion rates, including stocking density, bedding, feed and breed.”
“We will also examine the evaluation of usage that corrects for variation in therapeutic potency; there is an argument that concentrating only on a mg/kg reduction could actually lead to an increase in the preferential prescription of “critically important” antibiotics, whereas the calculation of Animal Daily Dose considers the different potencies of products used.”

Justin Sherrard, global strategist animal protein, Rabobank International
“The market for antibiotic-free (ABF) poultry is growing fast.”
“Although production cost for ABF birds are estimated to be higher due to more feed used, a lower flock density and also higher mortality, higher retail prices and margins are available.”
“But ABF will not work as a stand-alone focus for poultry producers because consumer preferences will keep changing; the industry needs a vision of where it is going and should build the consumer’s trust by being more transparent.”


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