The U.S. poultry industry has faced unprecedented challenges within our processing plants this year with COVID-19. It is not the only one. Shutdowns in Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Spain and more show that this is not an American problem, it is endemic to the process of producing safe and affordable food.
Increasing competition from larger broilers and lower-cost, plant-based meat alternatives, turkey producers will have to embrace new technologies to improve efficiency and transparency to maintain market share.
The promise of labor-saving, flawless decision-making, 24-hour-a-day monitoring, improved processing, predictive feed digestion and bird management is compelling to an industry struggling to hire experienced operatives, but all these promises come with catches.
Imagine what could be achieved in pig production with 1.4 million tons of extra pig feed globally. That's the impact a 0.01 reduction in feed conversion rate would have on the industry. The pig industry already has made a gradual genetic improvement over time on feed conversion rates: 6:1, 4:1, 3:1 and now 2.7:1.