The Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and the Poultry Science Graduate Association hosted the first Poultry Science (POSC) Research Day on May 25 to highlight water conservation efforts throughout the industry.

"Water usage efficiency is a key factor in U.S. agriculture sustainability; however, most people take water availability for granted," said Sami Dridi, professor of avian endocrinology and molecular genetics and member of the event's planning committee. "We chose this as our focus for POSC Research Day to discuss potential solutions to improve water conservation from different angles."

Dridi said the goal of the event was to bring together faculty, students and professionals to highlight poultry science research efforts and encourage partnerships.

"This helped brainstorming and foster future collaborations between the three groups. It was also good practice for our students to improve their public speaking skills and presenting skills," Dridi said.

Center of Excellence for Poultry Science research is conducted through the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the U of A System Division of Agriculture.

There were eight speakers who covered a variety of topics within water conservation research and initiatives:

  • Rodney Wright — water management engineer, Arkansas Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Brittany Craig — sustainability associate, Sustainable Food Strategy, Tyson Foods, Inc.
  • Susan Watkins — distinguished professor emeritus, U of A System Division of Agriculture
  • Samantha Beitia — quality assurance manager, Live Production for Simmons Foods, Inc.
  • Sara Orlowski — assistant professor of poultry genetics, U of A System Division of Agriculture
  • Tom Tabler — professor and poultry specialist, University of Tennessee Extension and AgResearch Department of Animal Science
  • Yi Liang — associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, U of A System Division of Agriculture
  • Elizabeth Greene — program associate, Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, U of A System Division of Agriculture

Liang and Tabler spoke about research projects that examined the use of sprinkler technology and cool cells in broiler production houses. Their research has shown sprinkler cooling systems use on average 67 percent less cooling water than cool-cell pad systems alone (https://bit.ly/ChickenSprinklerTech).

Greene talked about the molecular mechanisms underlying water intake regulations in chickens, and Orlowski spoke about water consumption-based selection in chickens. Orlowski is beginning the fourth generation of genetic selection for two experimental groups. She is breeding one group for higher water efficiency and one for lower water efficiency. This is the first known study to improve water use efficiency in poultry, according to Walter Bottje, professor of poultry science for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station (https://bit.ly/AAES-WaterChickens).

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Dridi said the event was a success, and there will likely be more research days planned for the future.

"We had more than 80 attendees in person and 14 via Zoom, including colleagues from France and the United Kingdom," he said. "We received encouraging feedback from students, faculty and industry professionals."

The event was sponsored by Cobb-Vantress, Proxy-Clean Products, the Poultry Federation, Weeden Sprinkler Systems, Kemco Systems and was supported by a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Critical Agricultural Research and Extension grant.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch.

For information about the Cooperative Extension Service, visit https://www.uaex.uada.edu and follow us on Twitter at @AR_Extension.

To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.