The number of factors consumers now take into consideration when deciding on grocery purchases has expanded well beyond the traditional three of cost, taste and convenience. While these three remain important, the shopper desire for greater connection and say in their food experience drives additional values oriented consideration of such items as production methods, animal welfare concerns, matters of worker rights and attention to sustainability issues. Each of these added factors affects the other variables and raises important questions for producers and retailers. How much are consumers willing to pay for these considerations and how do we determine which values are worth the production costs. Looking closely at recently released research regarding the issues of cage-free eggs and slow-grow broilers, we will look at what consumers know, what they report they are willing to pay for certain practices and what are the attributes they most desire.
With massive advances in technological capability, matched with drastically falling costs, a new frontier of agricultural robotics is becoming feasible in industries where it did not make sense in the past. One such industry is poultry production. Recently, a slew of robotic systems and solutions have been introduced both in the research and commercial sectors. This talk will speak to personal experiences from the development and testing of one such automated robot capable of smartly navigating in flocks and carrying out tasks such as monitoring bird health and picking up floor eggs. The broader realm of robotics work as it relates to layer bird management will also be discussed, with an emphasis on currently available products or demonstrable research systems.
Changes are coming. Our sleepy commodity markets may have a bit more slumber, but make no mistake – changes are on the horizon. From world demand to population growth to nuclear weapons in North Korea, the shifts in the socio-economic conditions across the world combined with US infrastructure developments will result in opportunities that will dwarf previous swings. Those that participate will be rewarded while those that fail to adapt and deal will continue to blame someone else for their woes.
The social push toward cage-free egg production is intended to allow for natural flapping, scratching, foraging, and dust-bathing behaviors. Other natural behaviors such as pecking and fighting will also increase. An unintended consequence of these behaviors is increased exposure to bacteria (such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Pasteurella). At the same time, there is social pressure to eliminate the use of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. This combination of health threats leads to an increase in bacterial disease in cage-free flocks, and a rise in Salmonella risk. This presentation will discuss a new bacterial vaccine technology pioneered over the past twenty years. This technology, called SRP®, increases the ability of the immune system to overcome bacterial strain variation, which often limits the effectiveness of traditional bacterial vaccines.
Consumers have a deeper interest in agriculture now more than ever before and yet, at the same time, they have less first-hand knowledge about the complexities farmers, commodity groups and other organizations face. This session will provide a chance to learn from someone who has been working on the front lines of building understanding with consumers. Janice Person, online engagement director for Monsanto, has been part of the team that drove change in the company’s footprint over the past several years. This session will include insight into:
Door or no door in a cage-free production systems? To answer this question and investigate the pros and cons of these practices, this 14-month long field study was conducted with an existing commercial cage-free housing system. Hens in half of the barn had full litter access (FLA) whereas hens in the other half had partial litter access (PLA) since 17 weeks of age. Wondering what happened to the welfare of the hens, body weight uniformity, environmental conditions, and amount of floor eggs in both cases? Can one use elder hens to teach the young? Well, come to this presentation and find out!
Over the past year and a half, the North American egg industry has recognized False Layer Syndrome for the first time as a significant problem. False Layer Syndrome results from a malformation in the oviduct of a young pullet. This means that the laying flock that has a variable percentage of hens that will never lay an egg. This talk will focus on how affected flocks have presented, the most up to date understanding of the disease, and successes and failures with respect to prevention.