As the 2008 International Poultry Exposition winds down, it is appropriate to review trends in the innovations displayed by the approximately 900 exhibitors. The most impressive advances were in processing technology which emphasised labor saving, yield and throughput. Consolidation and acquisitions during the past two years have narrowed the range of suppliers. This is understandable given the high cost of research, development, manufacture, and marketing relative to the potential volume of sales. Combining resources and rationalization creates synergy which is reflected in greater return for owners and shareholders. Some of the machinery and lines displayed at the IPE will be up and running in plants in the U.S.A. and the rapidly expanding poultry industries of Russia and E. Europe within months.
The impact of disease has assumed greater significance with the worldwide escalation in the cost of feed and concern over avian influenza. The biologics industry has responded by accelerating the commercialization of a new generation of genetically modified vector vaccines. These agents , together with improved delivery systems will play an important role in preventing both erosive and catastrophic infections which are a becoming a major restraint to production in many nations.
Unprecedented increases in prices of both cereals and vegetable protein have stimulated the adoption of feed additive enzymes. These compounds derived from microbial fermentation enhance nutrient content allowing a reduction in cost and contribute to improved growth and conversion efficiency. Manufacturers have responded to the demand for alternatives to feed additive antibiotics by producing and promoting a range of prebiotic and probiotic supplements.
Consolidation among primary breeders was an evident trend in response to the cost of maintaining expensive selection programs and distribution networks. Despite the diverse needs of the egg and poultry meat segments, economic realities have driven acquisitions and joint ventures. It remais to be seen whether this will have any long term impact on quality, service or the availability of specific genetic products.
The high cost of attending an international exhibition should be related to the value of knowledge acquired. The payoff comes from the application of new technology to production, processing and marketing. Events such as the annual IPE are only valuable if integrators can benefit financially from improved efficiency.