The mission of ISA-Hendrix Genetics is to breed and sell layers that are capable of laying 500 top quality eggs per hen housed without compromising on egg quality. To achieve its breeding goal, the company continuously improves the lay persistence for a prolonged production cycle of a large pure line gene pool of Hisex, Bovans, Dekalb, Isa, Shaver and Babcock. The company’s advancements lead to higher earnings, as more eggs per flock are produced and flocks are replaced less often.
Hendrix reports it is seeing longer laying cycles for layer parent stock and commercial layers. During the last few decades the genetic improvement for egg production has been significant. In layer parent stock the genetic improvement was 0.5 to 1.0 day old chicks per breeder per year. This is a combination of genetic improvement and a longer laying cycle, increasing from 64 to 68 weeks and resulting in an improvement of 15 – 20 day old chicks per breeder female since the 1980s.
For the commercial layers, the genetic improvement is approximately 2.5 eggs per year. Together with the extension of the laying cycle from 68 to 75 weeks of age, the results are 70 more eggs in the last two decades. The increase is realized by a combination of improved genetics, management, nutrition and disease prevention. For the next 5 years ISA expects more genetic improvement and longer production cycles. Around 2020 the parent stock will produce about 120 day old chicks and the commercial layers will produce about 500 first quality eggs in a production cycle of 100 weeks without molting. Hendrix already see flocks that reach 500 eggs in aviary systems.
Hendrix Genetics scores well in RST
The results of the first cycle of the 39th North Carolina Random Sample Test (RST) have been published recently. The company reports that the data shows “we are on the right track." The conclusions of the USA Layer Performance and Management Test demonstrate excellent performance and competitiveness of Hendrix Genetics layer products, both technical and economical.
In the technical comparison, many commercial white and brown breeds were compared. The breeding companies delivered hatching eggs from their Parent Stock flocks on the same day to the Piedmont, NC, research institute. All breeds were hatched and reared together under the same conditions, and later housed under comparable circumstances with the same management. The important technical and economic data was collected per breed and per housing system. The report summarized the first cycle until 69 weeks of age for the traditional cages. The comparison was made between Hendrix Genetics and non-Hendrix Genetics breeds, both for white and brown products. For white breeds there were 5 Hendrix products against 7 competitors, and for brown breeds 2 Hendrix products against 6 competitors.
The Hendrix Genetics White products produced on average 9.3 eggs per hen housed more, with a 1.8% better livability. The Hendrix products were most efficient in feed conversion, on average 4 points better, and its white products have a +$ 1.00 egg income minus feed costs. This is an extremely substantial number, considering the current big flock sizes.
The Hendrix Genetics Brown products produced an average 5 eggs per hen housed more, with a 0.4% better livability. The similar feed intake and the bigger egg size resulted in a much better feed conversion for the Hendrix products: FCR 2.00 versus 2.08. The economical calculation, egg income minus feed costs was $ 1.18 per bird better for the Brown breeds of Hendrix Genetics.
Hendrix Genetics considers the results of the 39th North Carolina RST very promising.