More than 40 attendees participated in the latest meeting of the Aviagen European technical managers' team. Held in Leuven, Belgium, the technical managers from Aviagen's European business units saw a number of firsts at the meeting, including a new training technique.

Tore Mercan was participating in his first meeting since his appointment to regional technical manager within Eastern Europe and the CIS earlier this year. There were also a number of new recruits from different regions in attendance at the meeting, which is held twice annually.

Crucially, it was the first time breakout sessions have been introduced, discussing three different topics covering both parent stock (PS) and broiler subjects chosen by participants. This brought an increased interaction and discussion element to the meeting and was a welcome addition to the format. The groups were split into teams with different nationalities and specialities, providing an opportunity for multi-regional and multi-disciplined information to be exchanged.

Guest speakers Rick van Emous and André Steentjes addressed the meeting on recent research into PS feeding and nutrition and with a disease update from a European perspective respectively. Rick van Emous also reported to the group on a three-year PhD project financed by the Dutch poultry industry, the Dutch feed industry and Aviagen.

Otto Van Tuijl, regional technical manager for Aviagen EPI, said: "Organizing these meetings is a huge pleasure and we were delighted with the positive feedback we received. Subjects discussed were wide ranging and practical for implementation and it was good to see a stronger element of interaction and information exchange, which will ultimately further enhance the service our technical team members provide to our customers.

"We were thrilled Rick and André could contribute, with Rick providing results from the PhD study on improving technical results at PS level while addressing the aspect of improved animal welfare. André's vast experience as a practical hands-on poultry veterinarian involved in grandparent stock, parent stock and broilers, was invaluable as he talked about current diseases and the reduction of antibiotics."

Mercan added: "These internal meetings are held twice a year to help increase the understanding between different countries. They are about bringing synergy to the group and have everyone pulling in the same direction. This latest meeting was no different, and it is all about our customers and the services we provide them with. Sharing information in this way means we can ultimately provide a higher quality level of support and advice to customers."

Other speakers over the four days included, among others, Aviagen's Alan Thomson, Kris van Daele, Otto van Tuijl, Jim McAdam and Emma Fleming. Those speakers covered a wide range of topics.