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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on July 21, 2010

Breeds, genes and disease

Egg Industry reviews the current status of poultry breeding and issues affecting it.

Breeding is the focus of the August 2010 edition of Egg Industry. During the past decade, a succession of mergers and acquisitions has narrowed the range of suppliers of commercial level stock to two primary breeding companies each with multinational scope. This is a reflection of the high cost and technical complexity of maintaining progress in diverse genetic traits which contribute to profit. Fortunately, the major breeders have seen fit to preserve the bloodlines they obtained and are able to supply branded strains of both brown and white-feathered stock to satisfy the needs of franchise hatcheries, distributors and producers as noted in the overview.

Advances in genetic selection are explained by Dr. Neil P. O’Sullivan with special emphasis on biotechnology as an adjunct to traditional phenotypic selection. The current disease situation is described by Dr. Kenton S. Kreager with reference to preventive strategies to maximize performance. It is recognized that challenge by infectious agents, improper nutrition, toxins, climatic extremes and deviations from optimal management all detract from the inherent genotype of available egg-producing strains.

During the past month, there have been a number of events which will influence the future of the Industry. The apparent resolution of the anticipated 2010 ballot in Ohio, passage of legislation to limit import of eggs into California other than from housing in compliance with Proposition 2 and the initiation of the FDA Final Rule on suppression of SE will affect all producers. These events are reviewed with appropriate commentary. Responses in support or disagreeing with the editorial opinions expressed in Egg Industry are welcome.

It is hoped that the unseasonably hot weather has not materially affected production either in livability of flocks or quality of product. It is apparent that grain yields will be affected by weather patterns which will inevitably result in elevated feed costs. Fortunately, stability in feed price over the past few months as documented in the industry statistics compiled by the Egg Industry Center has reduced the impact of the seasonal post-Easter depression in revenue for generic eggs.

Wishing you all good farming and an enjoyable and safe summer.  

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