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A turning point in what has been gained in poultry breeding

Randy Borg EuroTier
Dr. Randy Ross Borg said at EuroTier that poultry breeding strategies should be aligned with market needs of the future. | Benjamin Ruiz
November 22, 2016

Last week at EuroTier in Hanover, Germany, I heard Dr. Randy Borg, Cobb Europe director of Genetics, speak about chicken market needs today, with what comes in the future. Although one already knows, it is impressive to realize the enormous work done by the poultry genetics companies.

Poultry breeding has given much to win, both in performance and yield. For geneticists to find the best bird, they perform a series of in-depth studies of more than 40 physical traits of the bird. This takes years to do and a lot of hard work. In addition, decisions made today in breeding are those that will impact the market years later.

Here there is a turning point, and it is here where I would like to spend time. In his presentation, Borg said breeding strategies should be aligned with market needs in the future. But with all these new trends coming from Europe and the U.S., what are the needs? Slow-growth chickens or fast-growth chickens? They are two different things. If today we decide for slow-growth chickens, we will take a step back and, will its impact last for the years to come?

On the one hand, pressure groups are fighting for "natural.” I really do not understand why a slow-growing chicken is better and more natural, but the pressure on the industry is real. And on the other hand, by 2050 there will be an increase of 1.8 percent in demand for poultry production per year. This is also real!

I think we should strive for continuing poultry breeding for better performance, and efforts should focus on everything Borg said: intestinal health, water consumption and reduced carbon footprint. What do you think?

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