USPOULTRY welcomes cage-free eggshell quality proposals

The USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation program is offering funding for a research grant to maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems.

Meredith Johnson Headshot
(nopow | iStockPhoto.com)
(nopow | iStockPhoto.com)

Demand increases in the cage-free market, as well as Proposition 12 implementation quickly approaching, has caused the egg industry to work to find strategies to improve cage-free egg production efficiency. Therefore, the USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation program is offering funding for a research grant to maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems.

Specifically, research proposals should be focused on identifying methods and practices to reduce microfractures in shell eggs, developing improved methods for egg management aimed at improving shell integrity in cage-free systems, and evaluating nutrition and environmental programs to maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems.

Additionally, the foundation program asks that the research answers the following questions:

  1. What management methods can be utilized to minimize eggs laid outside of the system?
  2. What novel management methods exist for handling eggs laid outside of the system?
  3. Are there nutrition and environmental program manipulations that can maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems?

Egg shell quality

Due to companies quickly converting their housing systems to cage-free, or building new cage-free systems all together, it is important for egg producers to ensure that eggshell quality is not compromised. There are still concerns about how implementation of cage-free practices will affect eggshell quality, or eggs laid outside of the system (floor eggs). Layer diets have been recognized as having a direct effect on eggshell quality. Even though maintaining eggshell quality is complex, trace minerals have been identified as a vital role in the area.

Submit your proposal

The program is accepting research pre-proposals investigating eggshell quality in cage-free layer flocks through November 1. Proposals should be submitted under the subheader “Board Research Initiatives” at https://www.uspoultry.org/research/.

The USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation research program has invested $32 million to date in improving the broiler, turkey, and commercial egg industries. In November 2020, the board of directors for both organizations approved $350,000 for five new research grants at four institutions through the full research program.

 

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