While genetic progress in broiler chicken biological performance and welfare traits has been remarkable, the potential to naturally select for even more improvement to these traits hasn’t been exhausted, said Dr Bryan Fancher, Aviagen group vice president for global technical operations. Fancher shared his insights at the 2014 edition of the Poultry Beyond 2020 Broiler Nutritionists Conference.

With the implementation of more advanced methods of selecting pedigree stock for naturally occurring traits, further genetic progress/benefits can be expected going forward, said Fancher. In fact, the efficiency of broiler meat production – both in genetic potential and nutritional inputs – must continue to improve for broiler producers to meet the ever-increasing global demand for animal protein. Using an intensive, but balanced, genetic selection strategy, both biological performance and welfare traits in Aviagen broiler genotypes have been simultaneously improved. 

Fancher joined other experts in New Zealand at the invitation-only conference held every four years by the Poultry Industry Association New Zealand (PIANZ) and designed for poultry nutritionists and industry stakeholders. The conference attracts top speakers from around the globe covering poultry nutrition topics and related issues. The 2014 conference drew 116 delegates, 70 of whom are Aviagen customers. 

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In a group workshop session following Fancher’s presentation, attendees had an opportunity to discuss his central question: “What is the Upper Limit to Commercially Relevant Body Weight in Modern Broilers?” 

“This conference offers a great chance to network and share insights with different people within our industry and to connect more closely with customers,” said Marc Scott, operations manager for Aviagen New Zealand. “Aviagen was delighted to be one of the main sponsors for such a prestigious conference – one that is highly regarded and that attracts industry leaders from around the Asia/Pacific region.”

Scott served as chairperson for one of the morning sessions. Also in attendance from Aviagen were Bob Dobbie, president of international business, Alex Chang, poultry nutritionist for Aviagen’s global technical operations group, and Debbie Fisher, technical service manager for Asia.