Advances in Broiler Nutrition:
Four fewer days to target weight, one more flock per year

Dr. Dave Albin

With all of the gains in broiler productivity and efficiency over the years, you’d be excused if you believe that most or all of the progress in this industry has been achieved. With tens of billions of chickens right now on Earth, it would seem that our work is done. What more can we do?

The goal of any nutrition program is to supply more nutrients, in the right proportions, to enhance performance while controlling feed costs. There are two main ways to do this – increase nutrient digestibility (i.e., the amount of a nutrient that is absorbed from the intestine and is then available for growth) and increase feed intake (i.e., supply more total nutrients, some of which are digestible, and some are not). Well, what if you could use better, higher-quality ingredients and get both?

A recent study at Iowa Study University has shown the way for how to further advance broiler nutrition and improve performance. High-shear dry extrusion of ingredients, in particular soybeans, followed by oil pressing to reduce the residual oil content to 6-8%, has been used for decades to make a higher-quality version of soybean meal (ExPress® soy meal). More recently, high-shear dry extrusion of corn has been used. These two ingredients were used in combination to replace the commodified versions in a broiler performance experiment. The results were quite remarkable. Feed intake was increased dramatically (12.4%), while body weight gain increased even more (12.9%) – indicating a numerical improvement in feed conversion ratio. This makes sense because, in addition to increased intake, it’s been known for decades that ExPress® soy meal exhibits greater amino acid digestibility and metabolizable energy compared to both commodity, solvent-extracted soybean, and other types of mechanically processed soy meals.

Given that a certain target weight is required to go to market, using high-shear dry extruded ingredients in place of commodity corn and soy resulted in four fewer days to achieve this goal. Over the course of a year, a production unit would be able to achieve one additional flock.

There are additional performance gains to be had in broilers with the use of better ingredients – ExPress® soy meal and high-shear dry extruded corn. The enormous gains in broiler productivity up to this point have been achieved, in part, to advances in genetic selection. The results of the Iowa State study indicate that broiler nutrition has not kept up with advances in broiler genetic improvements. This means there is still room to improve with better-quality ingredients!

Speak with an Insta-Pro representative to learn more about these results and how they can benefit your operation.