When one thinks of animal production, one immediately refers to veterinarians or animal scientists. Those are the classic careers that so far have been needed to work at farms, hatcheries, laboratories and corporate offices.

But the dizziness of how things happen in the 21st century leads us to radical changes on what will be needed in poultry production. Today, youngsters, along with higher education centers, must look at broiler and egg production from additional point of view.

There are several examples of this. One is the direct relationship of engineering with robotics. We need engineers with knowledge of poultry production, or veterinarians who know about engineering, so that they can see how robots can be developed and better used in broiler houses, in hatcheries or at breeder farms.

The use of these systems will generate a wealth of previously unsuspected data. What are we going to do with so many figures? Robots have the advantage that they cannot transmit diseases, but they can also measure things that humans can’t. Plus, they have with sensors and cameras placed everywhere. Data management will require people who know about mathematics and statistics, as well as avian physiology or pathology.

Within the same veterinary science, we have two aspects that, as far as I understand, are not yet fully utilized. One is to learn how to handle alternative production systems such as cage-free, free-range, and slow-growth systems. The other is to focus veterinary and animal sciences even more towards prevention. The wealth of data mentioned above will lead us to prevent, not to cure.

There is also the feed formulation, which can be updated in real time with Near InfraRed (NIR) determinations at the time the ingredients are received and are used. More numbers to make decisions.

So, universities must think about changing approaches and programs of study that align with modern agriculture. If there are any such programs/universities, let me know to get me out of my ignorance. And young people will have to turn to other fields and think that decision making will be based on this.

What do you think?