How to decide if poultry equipment will work for you

While new poultry equipment can solve problems for producers, the pros and cons need to be considered before incorporating products into a house.

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The poultry industry is continuously advancing with new technology and innovation for growers to integrate into their houses. However, a new piece of equipment may not be the best fit for a house depending on the equipment already installed, house age, location of the house or other variables.

When the industry is presented with new products or research on how to make poultry production more efficient, and producers more profitable, Jess Campbell, Ph.D. Auburn University Assistant Extension Professor, National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC), recommends asking questions and warns against quick fix products or solutions that seem too good to be true.

The questions that Campbell advises asking include:

  1. Where did the product come from?
  2. Where was it tested?
  3. When was it tested?
  4. Who conducted the research?
  5. Show me the data and is it repeatable?
  6. How long was it tested?
  7. How long will it last?
  8. What is the maintenance?
  9. Do I want it or need it?
  10. What is the cost to purchase, loan and operate?

According to Campbell, when looking at new products, one of the first questions that a producer tends to ask is, “Will this improve my cashflow?” However, there is a balance between buying products for a poultry house that show longevity and will improve bird health, and products that will increase a house’s cashflow.

For example, while variable speed exhaust fans are known for alternating between their minimum and maximum ventilation rates to reduce house energy costs, producers need to consider whether this will work for their house. If the house is older, and it will be difficult to retrofit a product like this, it may not be this best option, he explained at the Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing and Live Production.

“With variable speed fans, you save money, but have the least amount of airflow. I support saving electricity, but not at the sacrifice of air exchange or pressure through a house,” said Campbell.

Additionally, combining two products that have variables, such as variable speed fans, can create a lack of control, proving the importance of considering other factors in a house before adding in a new product, he explained.

“Ask a lot of questions,” he added. “If it takes a loan to purchase it, an engineer to run it, a service call to do maintenance and repair and an accountant to see if and when it will cash flow, then spend more time thinking about the pros and cons.”

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