7 habits of successful broiler producers

These 7 good habits of medium-sized broiler producers appear to place them above their peers.

Kharhan, Bigstock.com
Kharhan, Bigstock.com

Leaving aside super-mega broiler producers, also known as integrators, we now focus on medium-sized growers who remain independent or part of a cooperative system that grants them freedom in taking strategic business decisions. Having worked with a good number of such producers, I am in a position to recognize several good habits that appear to place them above their peers. Of course, the opposite can be attempted, but it is rather more productive to focus on positive aspects; hence, the seven habits of successful broiler producers, as presented below.

1. Successful growers select genetics based not on published performance traits but rather on their ability to sell high in their local market. Some genetics can grow faster and/or more efficiently than others. Or, they can offer a niche opportunity, such as more breast yield, or more golden skin, etc. A successful broiler producer has already identified what the market wants and focuses on those genetics that can yield the highest profit based on local conditions and of course, on farm capabilities; you cannot grow broilers with a low feed conversion rate if your available energy sources are low in caloric content and full of fiber.

2. When it comes to nutrition, most broiler growers tend to take matters in their own hands. Integrators hire their own nutritionists or use the nutrition services offered by their suppliers (premixes, additives, etc.). An effective medium-sized broiler producer who appreciates the value of nutrition (60 to 70 percent of total cost) will trust this sensitive aspect of business to the hands of a qualified nutritionist. These broiler producers tend to work with nutritionists who think conservatively when it comes to setting up a farm-wide nutrition program, but at the same time insist on being given the ability to test certain ideas (additives, nutrient levels, feeding schemes, etc.) on a smaller (test) population of one of the buildings or farms. Challenging nutrition principles is one of the characteristics of any successful nutritionist.

3. Speaking of professionals, we must also address the issue of health/diseases, and for that we need veterinarian. Seeking the advice of a local veterinary clinic or shop might be a good starting point, and an inexpensive one if you also buy some medicines from there, but this is not what top producers do. They usually work with a specialized professional or clinic that works habitually with similarly sized producers. This helps them to know and expect problems so that they focus more on prevention rather than treatment. Top producers pay more to vet services, but less on treatments, hence their total health bill is low. Plus, healthy birds grow faster and super efficiently!

Seeking the advice of a local veterinary clinic might be a good starting point, but this is not what top producers do.

4. As broilers require the simplest in terms of facilities, compared to other farmed animals, buying the least expensive or the most durable is something seen equally among top producers. What I can say is that those buying on the low tend to factor in the fact that such facilities and equipment will last less. In my opinion, this separates them from unsuccessful producers who tend to overuse low-cost facilities and equipment, spending at the end more money, energy and time in repairs and, of course, lost productivity and profitability.

5. In terms of personal time, top producers don't focus on everyday routine items, not even in solving crises that happen every day that become routine. Effective producers tend to look at the forest, not at the tree β€” they review annual performance data, make long-term agreements on supplies, investigate their market and concentrate where their business will be in five to ten years from now β€” not unlike any successful CEO of most top companies worldwide. If you must work all day to find a plumber to fix a broken water supply system, then there is little energy left to attend a webinar about the future market of grains, or what the market will require in terms of welfare in the coming years.

6. The following habit is universal, and it applies equally to broiler growers. Those that succeed consider every justified expense as an investment and measure the return on that investment. The rest consider expenses as inevitable evil happenings (like a volcano erupting next door) and money lost for good. Looking at the bank account balance at the end of each month might be rewarding in the seven years of fat cows, but what about the next seven years of lean cows? Investments are made in times of good profits, not when profits are starting to dwindle.

Who are the top broiler producers in the world? Check out the Top Poultry Companies database to find out.

7. If there is one single aspect that top broiler producers must pay the most attention to, litter quality is their top priority. Litter quality can be considered the outcome of combining proper nutrition, facilities management, health and pretty much everything else that happens on a daily basis. Top producers will ensure personally that their birds enjoy the best possible quality in terms of bedding material and resulting litter quality. If their birds are not growing in a comfortable environment, then top producers will not rest until this problem is resolved.

Being successful in business takes a lot of knowledge, skill and even some luck. But, from a production standpoint, the above seven habits/aspects can be identified among top producers. Most of them apply equally well to other animal growers, but broilers have such short market life that broiler producers must remain on top of their game on a daily basis. When profits per bird are so low, messing up a batch can result in losing profitability for the whole year.

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