A new ‘future of farming’ for commercial poultry production is taking shape as veterinarians, nutritionists and industry experts increasingly combine forces to support operations with enhanced integrated strategies for tackling a raft of new sustainability demands and diversified market opportunities.
“There’s no doubt we have entered an important period of evolution for commercial poultry production that involves much greater complexity to optimize production and align with the expectations of the marketplace,” says veterinarian Dr. Tom Inglis of Poultry Health Services, which is part of Poultry Partners. “The question is, are we up to the challenge? I believe we are.
But the old ways will not do. We need to evolve.” At the farm level, it starts with better teamwork and integrated strategies across different areas of expertise, says Inglis. “We can’t work or think in silos. We need a new level of integration to succeed.”
Poultry Partners has been among those leading the charge toward enhanced integrated approaches, through its innovative company model that involves cross-disciplinary teamwork and strategies. Poultry Partners offers animal health, nutrition, on-farm management and business development services. It was started as a combined effort between Poultry Health Services, which provides veterinary and health management services, and Nutrition Partners, a nutrition company offering nutrition options and formulations.
“When we look at many of the big picture trends that are transforming the industry – for example, the need to reduce reliance on antimicrobials, to enhance animal welfare, to reduce our environmental footprint or to meet the various requirements of new branded retailer programs – they require farms to have a very well integrated, multi-disciplinary approach in place to be successful,” says Darryl Lewis, President of Nutrition Partners. “Every operation is different and requires a custom approach to reach its full potential. Using an integrated model helps ensure that approach is optimized to deliver the best results for the operation, for the animals and for the marketplace.”
Poultry Partners has seen a sharp spike in business growth across Canada in recent months, as its progressive, integration-focused model gains traction in the wake of key developments.
Examples include new rules restricting antimicrobial use, heightened expectations for animal welfare, rising emphasis on disease prevention vs. treatment and a dynamic influx of options and requirements related to new branded programs introduced by major processors and retail brands.
“The world of poultry production is evolving rapidly and the farm gate is ground zero – it’s the place where all the new demands and expectations for poultry production converge,” says Theunis Wessels, Sales & Marketing Manager with Poultry Partners. “Today’s operations have to shoulder a much longer list of responsibilities than they did in the past. It’s simply the new normal. But today we also have much better knowledge, tools and resources. With improved integration across the key areas important to production, we have much better opportunity to ensure every poultry operation can reach its full potential.”
The drive toward improved antimicrobial use strategies is a leading example. Operations looking to comply with new rules restricting antimicrobial use, reduce reliance on antimicrobials, or transition toward or maintain an antibiotic-free (ABF) system, all improve their opportunity for success if their system integrates knowledge and options spanning a number of important areas – such as animal health, nutrition, animal welfare, biosecurity, feed sourcing and more.
In addition to in-house expertise, the Poultry Partners model includes a broad network of collaboration. For example, the company partners with Country Junction Feeds, which is among the first feed mills to achieve ionophore-free, antibiotic-free status, ensuring all feed sourced from its operations is verified to meet the strict requirements of ABF production and related retailer programs. Poultry Partners is also a proud member and supporter of farm animal care organizations such as Alberta Farm Animal Care. With headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta and broad networks, the Poultry Health Services component of Poultry Partners recently expanded its office base into Ontario via partnership with South West Ontario Veterinary Services, located in Stratford. Poultry Health Services and Poultry Partners clients are supported from the new location.
“In our veterinary work, to better service the industry in today’s environment there has been a real shift in emphasis from ‘diagnose and treat’ to prevention and surveillance,” says Inglis.
“That mindset extends to the Poultry Partners model. It’s about not only integrated health management but really full-spectrum, integrated management involving all key facets of production. The emphasis is on being proactive, aligned and efficient, and capturing synergies to minimize risk and take our client operations to new levels of performance, competitiveness and sustainability. It’s an exciting time of innovation in this industry.”