The latest session of the Aviagen Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Production Management School has just completed in the Netherlands with optimizing hatchery performance being the focus of this most recent module. The highly successful school is now in its second year and attracts Aviagen customers from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia keen to understand the latest hints, tips and experiences that can help them boost efficiency and best practice.
As always, the attendees were able to benefit from the knowledge not only of Aviagen's experts, led by Hatchery Support Team Manager Dinah Nicholson, but also a number of external specialists. They included: Henry van den Brand, associate professor at Wageningen University; Kurt Haeck, project and service manager at Petersime; Gerrit van der Linde, innovation support at Heering b.v.; and Marleen Boerjan, director of research and development at Pas Reform. Consultants Colin Russell and Bernard Green covered hatchery hygiene and ventilation.
Tyark Osterndorff, business development director, Eastern Europe, who was himself a graduate of the School in the United States some years ago, addressed the attendees as the event closed with a graduation dinner. He commented: "This is the second hatchery module to be held and on this occasion we have welcomed 34 delegates from 21 countries within Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
"That is an amazing response from our customers and now means that over the three modules each year we have had more than 200 graduates from over 40 countries attending the Aviagen EMEA Production Management School. Our graduates will form an international network of poultry professionals who can interact and support each other into the future. The equivalent Aviagen school in the USA has now been running for 50 years and many senior executives who attended the school in the USA still have their Aviagen school graduation photo on their office wall and are still in contact with their classmates.
"We value these opportunities both to support our customers and to get to know them better. This has been a unique opportunity to gain fresh knowledge, share experiences and make new friends and contacts and this experience does not finish when we all leave for home tomorrow. I would like to thank all tutors for their help with the school and also the delegates for their attention and contribution to the week."
The week-long course included a mix of lectures, practical training and problem-solving workshops to really get to grips with hatchery practice. One of the students was heard to comment that the problem-solving case study sessions were "a bit like being in a CSI Hatchery", with the requirement that they had to examine and weigh evidence and solve the mystery. Practical session topics included identifying fertility in un-incubated eggs and embryo staging as well as hatchery debris analysis and chick quality evaluation. As always, the ability to learn from the experiences of a wide variety of peers from around the world was highly valued by the students.
For the final exam, each student had to solve a real-life hatchery problem from a dossier of data typical of a modern hatchery. The top-scoring students in the exam were Alison Colville-Hyde, St. David's Poultry Team, UK; Andreas Tischler, Wiesenhof, Brűterei Sűd, Germany; Djanet Ould-Ali, Lohmann Tierzucht, Germany; and Sam Davison, Moy Park, UK.
Colville-Hyde commented: "I really enjoyed every aspect of the course - organisation, content and quality of speaker knowledge. "
Davison added that the course had given him the knowledge and the tools to take home and make a difference in his own hatchery, as well as the determination to concentrate on the things that he could change rather than obsessing over inputs that he had no direct control over.
The next Aviagen EMEA Production Management School, Breeder Module, takes place in Edinburgh.