September 21, 2021
Trouw Nutrition opens poultry health unit in Spain
Located in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, the unit forms part of Trouw Nutrition's Poultry Science Centre.
According to Silke Birlenbach, head of global innovation at Trouw Nutrition, the unit will contribute to the company's mission of helping poultry producers raise output while, at the same time, respecting the need to protect human and animal health from the threats posed by antimicrobial resistance.
The unit is equipped to manage studies ranging from routine trials evaluating carcass quality for meat processing to highly complex research reflecting challenging intestinal conditions and diverse production methods.
It offers four study rooms in which climate and environmental conditions can be replicated, including humidity, temperature and stocking densities, to simulate environments around the world, allowing trials to be adapted to producers' specific circumstances. Each room has 48 pens and stocking densities can be adjusted to reflect individual production practices, while seven water reservoirs per room allow randomised water treatments.
The unit also has digestibility and bioavailability cages to facilitate precision nutrition.
Microbiological technologies and data analysis support research at the unit and scientists are able, for example, to combine molecular biology techniques with traditional culture methods and then conduct additional analyses in context with flock performance data.
Introducing the new unit, Trouw held a virtual opening with speakers drawn from academia and industry.
Barbara Brutsaert, global programme manager (poultry) at Trouw Nutrition, explained that among the main areas in which the unit would work would be in helping producers to end reliance on antibiotics.
Globally, antibiotic resistance is still rising, Brutsaert said. However, via a multi-stakeholder strategy, Trouw Nutrition could help producers to achieve smart antibiotic reductions, drawing on practical experience from the entire production chain.
As part of the unit's opening, Trouw Nutrition invited Jose Maria Diez Gata, director of integration at one of Spain's leading integrator Grupo Sada, which is working with Trouw Nutrition to share his experience of the company's transition to producing without antibiotics. Ninety-five percent of Sada's birds are now raised without antibiotics.
Diez Gata noted that Sada had used an integrated feed-farm-health approach to reduce in feed use of antibiotics from over 40mg per tonne in 2015 to almost none now.
The company follows strict protocols and, among practices central to this change, are sanitising feed, assuring not simply potable but high-quality drinking water, using modern well-ventilated building and only sourcing high quality chicks, Gata said.
There can be no use of antibiotics use in-ovo or in day old chicks and, when antibiotics are used, as a last resort, this can only be following thorough diagnosis.
Of perhaps primary importance in the transition was training, starting with veterinarians and technical teams, followed by farmers., Gata added. While the transition may, at first have been difficult, particularly on-farm, problems were largely overcome within the first two years.
Brutsaert noted that Trouw Nutrition's approach, beyond the scientific expertise offered at the new unit, is to get everyone in the production team on-board, working with veterinarians and farmers and not replacing them.