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IPE platform for progress

The International Poultry Expo (IPE) recently took place in Atlanta, US. Most visitors and exhibitors were in a relatively good mood, despite the current uncertain economic conditions. They prefer to focus on long-term ambitions rather than on what looks like tough months ahead.

By Ad Bal and Dick Ziggers

Almost every major poultry supplier made their way to the IPE in January. At last year’s show, quite a number of equipment exhibitors were not on display, but this year’s show in Atlanta offered a wide array of technology for the entire industry throughout the entire production chain from feed to meat. Close to 900 exhibiting companies displayed their latest equipment, supplies, and services used in the production and processing of poultry, eggs, and feed. All segments of the industry were represented, from live production and processing to further processing and packaging. 

This year’s show attracted more than 18,000 industry leaders from throughout the US and around the world, with particular interest coming from Latin America. The total number of visitors was less then the 2008 show, but the overall impression was positive. Both visitors and exhibitors wish to be prepared for the future, rather than just for tomorrow, and they understand the need for looking ahead.

Merge in egg handling

Egg handling giants Diamond and Moba joined forces for the Americas in January, only one year after Moba owner FPS acquired US-based Diamond System. "Our objective for this acquisition was to get strong access to the American market," says FPS president egg handling systems Kees Hage. "Moreover, our strategy was to step into the egg processing business. Through the acquisition of Diamond, that was the case. It all went very quickly. The egg processing division became a separate FPS company under the name “OvoPro”. On the grading side, initially nothing changed. Both Diamond and Moba moved on like they had done before, but signals from the markets in both North and Latin America were crystal clear. The best thing would be to create one strong sales and technical support organisation for both brands, and so we did. At the IPE, visitors could see our stand with both brands under the umbrella of “Diamond Moba Americas” (DMA-group). Such a huge stand is only for this occasion to make clear to the public that the new company was launched, and our expectations were met. In the long-term we will size our presence on shows like these of course depending on the innovations that we will be showing," he said.

Hage went on to say that the company has not divested any facility or office, but on the contrary will expand the business, specifically in Latin America. "We wish to be in very close contact with our customers, both from the sales side as well as from a technical support point of view. It is not just the equipment that customers are looking for. A responsive service organisation and well-trained technicians add just as much to the success and continuity of our customers operations, and all this preferably in their home language. This is where our focus is, and we are investing heavily in securing and expanding our service activities. It is amazing to see our staff now working with full dedication for both brands," he said, adding that up until just one year ago the two brands were strong competitors. Diamond Moba Americas will be guided by newly appointed CEO and president Doug Mack. "We have full confidence in the dedication and motivation of Doug and his team and that our customers will benefit from this new organisation," Hage said.

Aviary systems ahead

As far as housing trends are concerned, it seems like US poultry producers have begun thinking about switching to alternative cage systems. "The public opinion is forcing us in that direction," said an egg producer from Georgia, currently keeping 1.5 million laying hens and supplying to supermarket chains that tend to demand “free movement” eggs. For some of his houses he needs to invest in new cages and he therefore does not see another way than choosing for alternative systems such as the Big Dutchman Natura series. Other cage manufacturers are also offering such systems, particularly the ones from Europe, as the traditional cage type will be prohibited in the EU as of 2012. The egg producer from Georgia also expects the US to move in this direction in the coming years. "There is no federal law for a ban on cages yet," he said, but adds that he expects this to come soon, as in California a state law has been accepted already, also banning traditional cages. He expects this to happen for the entire North America in the near future.

ISA searches alternatives

ISA, the layer division of Hendrix Genetics, announced that they have gone into a consultancy agreement with ABC Holding Group LLC in the US. Their objective is to improve ISA’s market position in the US and Japan. "And we see our chances grow," says ISA MD Servé Hermans. "Traditionally Hy-Line has a strong position in North America and Lohmann in Japan. Particularly their W36 layer thrives very well in cages with only 40 square inch (260 cm2) of floor space per bird. However, because there is a tendency toward more space (60 square inch, or 390 cm2/bird), this advantage has disappeared. We are trying to benefit from that situation, as the ISA layer will lay substantially more eggs with similar feed consumption and mortality. We also notice that there is a tendency among major egg producers and hatcheries in the US and Japan, to see ISA grow its position and market share. ABC will help us to set up this structure, as an addition to our current distribution through Centurion Poultry and MFA in the US and through Japan Shaver in Japan."

Hubbard goes for “Yield”

Hubbard launched their “Hubbard Yield”, a new product for the broiler industry. Over the past two years this bird has been tested extensively by several main producers in North America. Following the positive feedback from field trials, Hubbard decided to upgrade this into a commercial product, thus making it an “official” member of the Hubbard product range under the new product name “Hubbard Yield”.

According to marketing director Paul van Boekholt, the Hubbard Yield combines optimum hatching egg production with competitive broiler results. Field results in North America have confirmed that the breeder produces around 161 hatching eggs and, when mated to the Hubbard M99 PS male, about 137 chicks per hen housed at 65 weeks of age. Also, the broiler is said to be competitive through good growth rate, liveability and feed conversion combined with good leg strength. Finally, the carcass yield, white meat yield and uniformity seem to be good. The Hubbard Yield is mainly targeting the “heavy weight” market (>6 lbs / 2.7 kg live weight for the big bird, de-bone and large whole bird markets) as well as the “medium weight” market (5 lbs / 2.2 kg live weight for the tray pack and cut up markets).

Tetra revives in the Americas

Bábolna Tetra is making a revival on the American continent through a new distributorship with Tetra Americana LLC, an initiative of Bastiaan Schimmel.

Currently, Bastiaan is still working as an export manager for Dutch feed manufacturer De Heus-Koudijs, but being the son of Gijs Schimmel, owner and president of Georgia-based Centurion Poultry (and distributor of Bovans laying hens in the US and Canada), he says "I always wanted to be in the poultry business, and with Tetra I have the chance to start a business of my own."

Since mid-January he has established a distributorship for the laying hens of Bábolna Tetra, a renowned breed of layers from Hungary. In the years that Bastiaan travelled in the Middle East he already came into contact with Tetra layers. Some five years ago Hungarians Zoltàn Dudai en George Buza purchased the breeding company from their government and began to further develop the genetics.

The Tetra brand of egg layers has been available in different parts of the world for several decades, but until recently was a rather unknown brand in the Americas. "With the appointment of Tetra Americana as the new American distributor we are looking forward to capturing a bigger piece of the world market for egg layer genetics," says Zoltán Budai, MD of Bábolna Tetra.

Several types of layers are available:
• Tetra SL, the well-known brown layer
• Harco, a black feathered layer, which is the remaining type from Babolna's relationship with Arbor Acres
• Amber, a white feathered brown egg layer
• Tetra H, a dual purpose breed, and a heavier hen for special niche markets.
• Tetra Blanca, a white egg layer, which is still in development, but that will take another two years before it is ready for the US market
• Super Harco, a black feathered layer, which is not only a good meat producer, but also a good brown egg layer, and suitable for family farms.

Tetra Americana will initially start the distribution of Tetra Brown, Harco and Amber. Until now, parent stock is supplied from Hungary, but grandparent stocks have been established in Georgia to kick off the business. "At the end of this year we hope to sell our first layers. We hired Bob Tsukada, who has worked for Dekalb in Latin America for many years to develop that market for us. We will aim at niche markets at first and then slowly try to further develop the business. I am sure there is space for new breeds, and we have time," says Bastiaan. "With the consolidation in the egg layer genetics business in recent years there is a need for more choice when it comes to suppliers of breeding stock for egg layers. We want to fill that need and with our close association with Babolna Tetra we feel we can make a difference."

Centurion Poultry buys PureLine

Centurion Poultry from Lexington, Georgia, US, has purchased all assets and breeding stock from PureLine, the meat poultry bird once established by Henry Saglio. PureLine fell into heavy debt overtaking profits and not able to make their promises come true. On 30 December, 2008, the contract with Centurion Poultry was signed. This purchase will mark a return to the broiler business of Centurion Poultry. In 1991, Centurion briefly entered the broiler breeding business when it took over the assets of Hypeco USA Inc. and continued to market broiler genetics under the Avico trade name until the company decided to concentrate on the further development of its markets for layer breeding stock and exited the broiler business in 1993.

"I am pleased with the quality of the people that are working at PureLine and I am also confident about the quality of the products," says Centurion owner and President Gijs Schimmel. "It is a perfect fit with the plan adopted in early 2008 to further diversify within the feather branch."

PureLine has been reorganised into a rather lean organisation, where only the pedigree stock is owned and located in Connecticut and research has been outsourced to contract farms. There will be very few operational changes at its base in Preston, Connecticut, where Dominic Saglio continues as location manager and Harris Wright, director of genetic research will continue to manage operations. However, there will be an overhaul in the domestic and international marketing and customer support departments, which is expected to be completed by the summer of 2009.

PureLine also had a European division, which was located in the Netherlands and had gone bankrupt before the takeover. From there, export of parent stock to Eastern Europe and the Middle East was established. This group was not included in the takeover.

Will Schimmel be able to compete with the large established brands in the poultry meat sector? "We have a
low ego," he says. "We first want to see what we have, how it performs and test our end products with those of the competitors. Only then can we sell the products with confidence, and I am sure there is space in the market. In Canada, for example, the large companies do not find it economical to spend large sales efforts for relatively small flocks. There we can find our chances. We cannot go for the large integrators in the beginning anyway, because we simply will not be able to supply. We will go for the crumbs that others leave behind."

PureLine was established in 1999 by Henry Saglio when he was 89 years old. He took a flock of chickens and selected only the healthiest, raising them the old-fashioned way, without antibiotics and in a real farm environment. From those healthy birds he built PureLine, the only breeding company who never gives their chickens antibiotics. Today, PureLine can supply two types of birds; the Early bird, which is a relatively light bird for broilers up to 1.8 kg, and the 3D, which is a heavier bird up to around 2.2 kg. "We purchased a very interesting male," Gijs explains, "which has very good reproduction records without losing too much on weight gain. It is already being used on other breeds."

Merial distributes AviTech

Merial has grown its avian business by becoming the exclusive distributor and technical service provider of the “in ovo” injection systems of AviTech. As a result, Merial can now offer worldwide poultry customers its portfolio of avian vaccines, together with in ovo technology.

Merial is a major global producer of vaccines for the treatment of prevalent diseases, such as Marek’s Disease and Infectious Bursal Disease, and especially suitable for in ovo administration. Merial already supports its vaccine operations through the development and service of administration devices, and these activities are now complemented by its exclusive distribution of AviTech’s IntelliJect and ManualJect in ovo injection systems.

IntelliJect is for large-scale operations, whereas more hand labour is needed for the ManualJect line. The in ovo route is becoming ever more important in poultry vaccination. The advantage of offering the AviTech technology will be combining vaccines and delivery technology in one package. According to Merial, a major factor for success will be the ability to provide a single interface for technical aspects of vaccines and the equipment that administers them.

World Poultry Vol. 25 No. 3, 2009

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