“Chicken will be the meat that feeds the people going forward,” said Phillip Wilkinson, managing director, 2 Sisters Food Group. Speaking at the Alltech Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, he said that poultry meat consumption will soon supplant pork as the world’s most eaten meat.

When discussing the future of broiler production in the world, Wilkinson said that world poultry production is expected to increase by over 120 percent from 2010 to 2050. When discussing the immediate prospect for growth of chicken consumption in China, he said, “Producers in China are expecting per capita consumption of chicken meat in China to go increase from 12 kilograms today to 23 kilograms.”

Much of the world’s increase in poultry production will likely be powered by continued genetic progress resulting from the work of primary breeders. Wilkinson said that Cobb has projected that by 2050 a 2 kilogram (4.4 pound) broiler would be marketed at 19 days post-hatch with a feed conversion ratio below 1.0. In 2050, a laying hen may produce 550 eggs by 100 weeks of age and have a feed conversion ration approaching 1.0. All of these predictions are based on historical rates of improvements that breeders have attained to date. Because grain is 10 percent moisture and the meat is 70 percent moisture, Aidan Connolly, vice president, Alltech Inc., said that the ultimate limit in feed conversion ratio would be 0.35 not 1.0.

Discussing where new areas of the world that will increase broiler production in the future, Connolly, said, “Africa has three things that you can’t make, land, rain and sun. If they can produce corn and beans, then they can produce chicken. The prediction seems to be that Africa will help to feed Southeast Asia.” In discussing other parts of the globe where poultry production is expected to expand significantly, he said, “Where the water is -- Brazil and Africa -- will be where agriculture grows.”

“We see tremendous expansion in India and China,” Connolly said. “We shouldn’t just look at where the most efficient producers are.” He said that some producers in the EU have reinvented themselves by being careful with the markets they serve and working to be more efficient.