Full house at Poultry World event at VIV MEA

07-02-2018 | |
Full house at Poultry World event at VIV MEA. Photo: Emmy Koeleman
Full house at Poultry World event at VIV MEA. Photo: Emmy Koeleman

A full house at the Poultry World event at VIV MEA in Abu Dhabi. The seminar, focusing on poultry health and nutrition for the Middle East attracted many visitors from Europe and the Middle East.

The VIV MEA is currently being held in Abu Dhabi. It is the second edition of this event. It is co-located with the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA). On the first day, VIV MEA attracted 2,652 visitors and 368 exhibitors. People came from 46 different countries. Compared to the previous edition in 2016, this is an increase of 33 in the number of exhibitors. This year, a significantly higher number of people came from Canada, Singapore, Denmark and Austria. On the second day of this well attended event, multimedia brand Poultry World hosted a seminar on poultry health and nutrition. The room was full and lively discussions took place.

Think outside the soy box

Mohamad Farran, PhD from the American University of Beirut (AUB) kicked off the meeting with an excellent presentation about diet formulation and the quest for new protein sources in poultry diets. Mr Farran said: “We use a lot of soybean meal in poultry diets and this is costly. In addition, the variance in quality and the availability can be a problem.” In his presentation he explained that for the Middle East region, some other protein crops might be interesting to look at. He addressed that these should fall in the category of ‘rainfall’ crops and not summer crops, as the latter is heavily dependent on irrigation.

Mr Farran touched on 4 different alternative protein crops:

  1. Common Vetch,
  2. Bitter Vetch,
  3. Faba beans
  4. Safflower

Some of these crops contain anti-nutritional factors, so treatment of the seed is sometimes needed. But for Faba beans for example, tannin-free varieties are available, so no treatment is needed here. Trials at the American University of Beirut in both layers and broilers have showed excellent results in zootechnical performance or egg yolk colour for example (for safflower). Next to the nutritional value, Mr Farran explained the economical side of using other ingredients over soybean meal. “With some of the current prices in Lebanon, we see that many of the alternative crops are cheaper than soy. If we include Safflower in broiler and layer diets at a 25% inclusion rate, in theory we can save US$ 125,000 million on feed costs in the whole MENA region.” Mr Farran said, we have to think outside the box and look for different poultry sources. These crops can be grown (or are already grow) in many countries in the MENA region.

Getting diseases under control in the Middle East

Hannes Meyns, Veterinary poultry consultant at Vetworks in Belgium updated the audience on the common (endemic) disease in the Middle East and effective ways on how to better control them. “Low pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) is the main one in the category respiratory diseases. It is an ongoing challenge for most countries. At the same time, the Middle East is a crossroads for many bird migration routes. Migrating birds are a risk as they can spread the virus to commercial poultry farms.” Mr Meyns explained that Avian Influenza can be eradicated best with: High biosecurity, all-in and all-out system (if possible, although not common in the Middle East), diagnostics and surveillance and educating staff in AI control strategies. “The problem is that the Middle East faces an endemic spread of LPAI H9N2 and vaccination is expensive and doesn’t give 100% protection or control.” Newcastle Disease is also endemic in the Middle East. “An optimal protection against this disease can be accomplished by making sure that vaccination reactions are reduced (e.g. use enterotropic vaccines in younger birds, synchronise vaccinations on multi-age farms and build up protection against the disease gradually (use different methods / products in different age groups in broilers for example). Mr Meyns also touched on infectious bronchitis, and addressed that in particular IB variant 2 is a difficult strain to control, but the first homologous vaccines are now available.

Building immunity from the start

The third and last speaker of the event was Walid Al Saleh DVM, Avian technical and marketing manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. Mr Al Saleh kicked off his presentation by explaining how the immune function works and which cells come into action, when and where.

There are 4 different defence strategies:

  1. The nonspecific one physical barriers like the skin)
  2. The passive immunity (MDA)
  3. The innate immunity (monocytes, macrophage, natural killer cells)
  4. The adaptive immunity (lymphocytes (B,T & NK).

How the immunity works is key in making the right vaccines against different kinds of viruses. Mr Al Saleh explained: “Infectious bursal disease (IBD, Gumboro) is an acute, highly contagious viral infection in chickens, manifested by inflammation and subsequent atrophy of the bursa of Fabricius. Vaccination against this disease is very important and the main question is: how to catch all the birds with 1 vaccination?” There are different types of vaccines to control the disease. A vector vaccine by Boehringer Ingelheim (Vaxxite) is aimed to accelerate maturation of chicken embryo immune responses. Trials with this vector vaccine showed good results regarding the bursa lesions (histological score). Trials in layer pullets compared the Vaxxitek IBD vaccine and 2 live vaccines. “We showed that the bursa / body weight ratio at 70 days of age was best in the Vaxxitek group. All in all, this results in better profitability and performance for poultry flocks.”

Join our events again at VIV EUROPE

At the VIV Europe (and GFIA Europe), held June 20-22, Proagrica will be hosting a range of Smart Farming seminars again, focusing on pigs, poultry, dairy, crops and arable. During the GFIA Europe 2017, these seminars from Proagrica were very successful. If you like to sponsor a presentation, please contact our sales team at salesint@proagrica.com.

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor