August 25, 2020
Trouw Nutrition's Poultry Research Centre completes inaugural broiler study in new R&D facility
Trouw Nutrition, a Nutreco Company, is building on its commitment to feeding the future as it expands its Poultry Research Centre (PRC) in Spain's Castilla-la Mancha region. Researchers have completed the first pilot study at the new climate-controlled facility on a research campus which includes facilities for broilers, breeders, and layers as well as a feed plant, hatchery and laboratory for nutritional analyses.
The inaugural pilot study evaluated the PRC's new climate-controlled R&D facility. Researchers tested the barn's environmental control system and identified animal performance variations that could affect subsequent study designs. Findings showed broilers grew properly in the new barn, and no major variances in temperature or humidity were present within different areas of each room.
Equipped with four identical research rooms, the new R&D facility can house 48 pens or experimental units, sized 2.28 m2 (1.9 x 1.2 m) per room, with a total of 192 experimental units. Up to 23 broiler chickens can be allocated per pen, although pen size and net surface per pen can be adjusted to support different densities required for research.
Designed to support biosecurity, transparency, and animal welfare
The research rooms are isolated from each other, with independent entrances, shower rooms, and storerooms. In addition to supporting biosecurity, the design allows for contrasting environmental conditions in each room and the evaluation of different solutions under normal or challenged scenarios. The centre evaluates feed solutions as well as water products. Each room is equipped with six different containers to develop and test the effect of various drinking water additives.
As transparency becomes increasingly important in livestock production, the facility includes a bio-secured visitor area providing views of each room, while avoiding cross contamination risk. A centrally-located dissection area provides space for researchers to evaluate the effect of tested treatments on poultry carcass and breast meat quality. Visitors to the PRC may view this area of the facility in addition to the research rooms. Beyond meeting compliance guidelines for animal research, Trouw Nutrition's animal care committee reviews all study protocols to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained at the PRC.
An investment in feeding the future
Findings from studies conducted at the new R&D facility will inform the development and commercialisation of products and solutions that aim to optimise broiler performance, maintain animal health and support animal welfare. The research will also focus on important work relevant to human health. For example, as regulators, poultry producers and consumers seek ways to minimise the human health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance, researchers will evaluate alternatives to antimicrobials in animal feed.
Trouw Nutrition's investment in the PRC builds upon an ongoing commitment to feeding the future. Ana Isabel Garcia Ruiz, manager Poultry Research Centre said, "The development, testing and validation of solutions under highly controlled conditions and, in some cases, under environmental and microbiological challenges narrows the gap between in-vivo and in-vitro research. The opportunity for visitors including farmers, academics and other researchers to visit the facility and understand how research informs solutions brings a new level of transparency to stakeholders across the feed to food chain."
While construction of the new R&D facility was completed in Q1 2020, the formal dedication was delayed in the wake of the global pandemic. An event to celebrate this research milestone is planned for 2021.