Since its inception in 2009, poultry breeder Aviagen has seen its Ross 400 Club grow across the United Kingdom, with new members joining as well as existing farmers repeating earlier success. The Ross 400 Club, set up to recognize farmers who achieve exceptional broiler performance, now has 15 farmers who have reached a European Production Efficiency Factor of 400 or more with their Ross flocks.

Jonathan Waring, who achieved 413 in 2011, has now surpassed his own record by gaining the highest factor of the 400 Club to date with an efficiency factor of 433. The European Production Efficiency Factor takes into account feed conversion ratio, livability, live weight and age of the bird.

"I am delighted to have achieved such a high European Production Efficiency Factor," Waring said. "I'm sure it won't be the highest total for long, as standards continue to improve with such dedicated and talented farmers out there. It's great to see the Ross 400 Club growing in popularity, and I am sure there will be even more members and 400s reached in the near future."

"It is very pleasing to see the hard work that is put in be rewarded through the Ross 400 Club. It's a great initiative, and I look forward to achieving more 400s in the future," said Toni Fuller, a new member.

Glenn Bushell, UK technical service manager for Aviagen, said, "It is a great achievement to have three farmers surpass 400 European Production Efficiency Factor already in 2013, when you consider we had a total of four for the whole of last year. With plenty of the year left to go, we'd love to see some more farmers added to the list.

"In all seriousness, it is no easy feat and there is no set-formula for success. Achieving a European Production Efficiency Factor of 400 is something to be celebrated, and the results we're seeing are well surpassing this mark now. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of the farmers involved," he added.

All club members receive an award, certificate, annual newsletter, branded merchandise and have their name added to a role of honor on the Aviagen website. Any UK broiler farmer who reaches an efficiency factor of 400 or more with their Ross flock is eligible for membership of the club.

The 400 Club is also growing outside the UK. A recent Ross 400 Club winner, David Speller, traveled to the Czech Republic to talk to Aviagen customers in Eastern Europe. Speller spoke to the attendees at the broiler seminar with the focus on the performance of the Ross broiler. He also shared information and advice on how to achieve a 400 efficiency factor. Denmark is also in the process of establishing its own Ross 400 Club.