WATT PoultryUSA - December 2017 - 46
46 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
Salois said the market already moved far past the
proverbial tipping point on antibiotics in broiler production. The question is now how much bigger the market
will become, with major food brands and retailers moving toward serving only antibiotic-free (ABF) chicken.
Removing antibiotics from broiler production
means higher mortality and greater risk for serious
health disorders. Salois said antibiotic-free broilers'
increased mortality ranges between 24 to 25 percent,
while grow out time is 3 to 4 percent longer and cycle
time is increased by 21 to 29 percent.
If the entire U.S. market moved to ABF, 680 million
to 880 million more birds would be needed to provide
the same amount of meat. Feeding and watering those
birds would require 3,900 to 5,200 square miles of additional land for crop farming and 1.9 billion to 3 billion
more gallons of fresh water. The same birds would produce 4.6 million to 6.1 million more tons of manure.
Salois said the shift would also add $2.9 billion
to $3.8 billion in added costs to the chicken industry. According to AgriStats data, the volume of ABF
chicken produced increased to 43 percent in 2017 from
less than 10 percent in 2015. But, at the same time the
volume of ABF meat sold stayed relatively ﬂat and is
only at about 5 to 6 percent now. U.S. consumers prefer
white, boneless breast meat and the demand for ABF
dark meat is weak both in the country and its export
markets. The price premium for ABF breast meat compared with conventional breast meat shrank as the market continues to absorb a surplus supply of ABF meat.
Slower growing broilers
A new target for animal welfare activists is the
growth rate of broiler hens. The activists postulate
faster growth rates lead to worse animal health and
therefore worse welfare. This is untrue.
In fact, Salois said, statistics covering broiler performance between 1925 and 2016 shows that as birds gained
weight faster during the decades of selective breeding,
mortality actually dropped. New research, studying how
broilers performed in a production agriculture environment
between 1995 and 2015, shows that the presence and severity of leg injuries like rickets and tibial dyschondroplasia
decreased while weight gain and growth rates increased.
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Dr. Jan Dirk van der Klis
Director of products &
Global product manager -
BIOMIN Holding GmbH
on the farm:
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www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ December 2017