September 14, 2017

In the last edition of BVS Poultry Talk, I looked at Paying Attention to Detail from the perspective of silver bullets and how new products are coming out of the woodwork in the wake of ABF and organic production, as well as the loss of useful antibiotics in conventional production. With the wave of new products entering the market, it is important that we use products that have guaranteed analysis attached to them and they go through a sound vetting process. Once we find these products, how do we evaluate their efficacy.

Too many times I have seen customers and have done this myself in production – we try a new product on one flock or for a very short period of time, and then throw up our hands and give up on it because we didn’t think it did anything to improve performance or cost. Unfortunately, in today’s competitive market, there is not enough time and money to invest in trialing products on a large scale and long time periods. For turkey producers, this can be particularly troublesome because of the long life cycle. And when the allied industry sends a salesperson into a turkey live production manager’s office and presents broiler data (or vice versa for that matter), it really does not add anything to the credibility to using that product.

Field testing products that have a guarantee, that have been vetted, and are represented by a salesperson with some production experience representing a company that can get me answers, that will be the program or products I will try to help within my operation.

As I noted in the last edition of BVS Poultry Talk- “For years, the turkey industry has relied on feed additive antibiotics that are no longer available - Penicillin, 3-Nitro and Histostat are the first three that come to mind. The industry needs to learn how to live without these products that tended to handle protozoa and bacteria that were common struggles – cochlasoma, trich and clostridia are the first three that come to mind. Alternative products must be evaluated and used to help reduce the load. BioSupreme yucca product (feed and water administration) and Gut Pro (bacillus and lactobacillus) probiotic in combination have been field tested over time (along with sound water sanitation listed above) with some effectiveness in improving gut health. In the next article of BVS Poultry Talk, we will look at a specific program, the effect on performance and the cost analysis.” I will now try to do this in a very simple way (that at least I can understand) to show how to evaluate a return on my investment and time or at least understand what performance I will need to achieve to pay for that investment.

The tables below are an example of a turkey operation that has decided to evaluate a system to reduce Bordetella challenges (BA) and improve gut health. The salesperson has semi-convinced this producer that improving water sanitation between and during the flock will reduce the BA challenges. Using a probiotic (Gut Pro) on a regular basis during the flock, along with yucca (BioSurpeme L and BioSupreme G feed grade) which both have guaranteed analyses attached to them, will also help with gut health challenges, and since the gut controls much of the immune function in the bird, according to this salesperson, overall performance should improve. So, what are the costs of doing this? What performance advantages do I need to realize to pay for it, or hopefully improve beyond cost for a real payback?

In table 1 below, the supportive care program added to the water and using the AANE chlorine dioxide system for water sanitation were the primary differences between the two programs. BioSupreme G was added to the feed, but replaced a competitor product that does not have a guaranteed analysis at similar cost. This table shows one way to analyze the additional cost – what does my feed conversion need to improve to pay for the additional $939.00 in supportive care cost and $960 in AANE system chlorine dioxide cost. In this case, it is 2.5 points (actually 0.025 FC) improvement to pay for the difference. We covercould also look at what improvement I need in weight gain and/or livability.

In table 2, the actual performance change is documented for all flocks over a 6-month period and the cost is compared looking at the advantage in weight gain, feed conversion and livability. This does not consider adjusted conversion for weight, which would be even more significant, as we will see.

The supportive care and water sanitation cost a total of $1,899 to administer to flocks for a 6-month period per 10,000 bird placement. Advantages can be seen in weight gain, feed conversion and livability. The actual live cost advantage was $0.0106/lb or $3,939.00 for a flock of 10,000 placed. That is a pretty good return on investment.

The adjusted feed conversion on the supportive care flock is 2.30 or 10 points better than the non-supportive care flock. When you look at adjusted conversion, return the average weight to 40 lbs and allow the livability advantage to remain, table 3 shows the cost advantage when you look at adjusted conversion. It is now $0.0135/lb or $4,865.00 per flock for the same $1,899 investment. This is really the way I like to look at my investment in time and money.

Clearly, based on this example, it pays to add cost for gut health supportive care with Gut Pro probiotic, BioSupreme L and BioSupreme G. Water sanitation with the AANE using ProOxine and LpH100 acid is obvious in reducing BA challenges and improving livability. In this case, the interventions and investment returned a significant financial advantage to live. We did not even consider what the improved weight to the plant meant.
But, it is part of the gear system where all parts must be present.

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John Menges

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