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Optimize your value chain (1) - The growing concern to deliver quality

Optimizing your value chain is becoming more important in this time where there is a growing demand for traceability and relevant training. There are different ways, which we will describe in the upcoming series, to maximize the genetic potential that is inside the egg in order to get the most profitable day-old chicks for everybody involved in the poultry chain.

By Jason Cormick, Hatchery Specialist at Petersime

In the monthly series ‘Get the most profitable chicks by optimizing your value chain’, we will zoom in on

1.  The growing concern to deliver quality

2.  Nature’s guidance to maximizing the genetic potential inside the egg

3.  Temperature and its influence on growth rate and health (+ checklist for optimum temperature conditions)

4.  CO2 and its influence on the development of the vascular and pulmonary system (+ checklist for optimum CO2 conditions)

5.  Weight loss and its influence on chick behaviour (+ checklist for optimum humidity conditions)

The growing concern for optimizing the value chain

Optimizing your value chain is becoming ever more important. First, because the population keeps growing. The more people on our planet, the more we have to produce food to feed them all. To meet the growing demand, poultry companies are becoming more international and industrialized, and poultry production becomes more complex. Each part of the chain relies on the supplier before: the supermarket or butchery where the end consumer gets his or her meat, relies on deliveries from the meat processing company, that relies in turn on the slaughterhouse, that relies in its turn on the broiler farm, that relies on the hatchery, and so on, tracing back. Each link has the responsibility to deliver quality to the next part of the chain, so that in the end, overall quality is guaranteed. Therefore, each link has to optimize its own production and work together with the other links in the chain to deliver healthy, uniform quality chicks. Preferably, all in the most efficient way and with maximum profit.

Meanwhile, we should safeguard high levels of bio-security and respond to the increasing consumer focus on food safety and animal welfare. Traceability is an important aspect nowadays. The end consumer likes to know where his/her food comes from. This trend will only grow. There will come a time when the consumer can easily trace every piece of chicken right back to the farm to see where the chicken originally came from and every step it has passed in the value chain to check if it was raised in the right conditions, guaranteeing well-being of both the chickens and of the humans who will consume them alike. Moreover, the suppliers in the value chain demand traceability so they can check results and trace suboptimal performances back in the chain. It will be possible to have a closer look at every piece in the chain to evaluate its performance.

The need for relevant training will rise. In the hatchery, but also in the other parts of the value chain, we need to understand what the bird is expressing. Relying only on data and technology while not observing any birds is wrong. Problems are usually visible on the birds. By responding to signals the birds give, we can optimise their welfare, performance and efficiency. This in the end leads to better performing and more profitable chickens.

What is the best way to add value to the chain?

What is the best way to add value to the poultry industry chain? Petersime believes that nature should be our guide in this question. We should listen to the needs of the embryos and respond like a mother hen would do. By mimicking natural behaviour, we do not only safeguard the welfare of embryos in the best possible way, we also hatch the best performing chicks with the lowest mortality rates. We can bring quality chicks with added value to the poultry chain like never before.

For millennia, farmers, professors, engineers, even the Ancient Egyptians, have discussed the question: ‘How can we hatch the most profitable chicks?’ Now we know that the most decisive factors in the incubation process are temperature, CO2 and egg weight loss. And now we can meticulously control these factors, down to 0.1°F and to the gram. Does this mean we have finally found the best way of incubating? That we have reached the end? Of course not. At Petersime, we are investigating the influence of other variables on the incubation process by studying nature. The future of incubation promises to be more interesting than ever before.

Next up in the following Petersime e-news: Nature’s guidance to maximizing the genetic potential inside the egg.