Expert view: ways to restore profitability in poultry farming
Over the past 1.5 years, Yousef Daoud has spoken to many people in the American poultry sector. Having analysed the situation, he has identified various solutions to restore profitability at poultry farms.
How big are the challenges in the US when it comes to investments in poultry houses?
Yousef: “Demand for chicken is rising in the US. The logical response is to want to invest in new houses. And therein lies the problem. In Europe and the US, building new houses is tricky due to policy on nitrogen emissions. However, in the past few years, the financing in the US of the construction of new houses has become more difficult. This problem grew because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic followed by the steep price increase of raw materials like steel and lumber. So, obtaining a sufficiently profitable business case for the construction of new houses is a real challenge for poultry farmers. Today, the construction of new houses has come to a halt. Also, renovation and expansion projects are having difficulties getting approved. This is a huge challenge for domestic poultry production in the US.”
What can be done to rapidly increase profits at poultry farms?
Yousef: “By comparing this situation to other regions of the world, we can uncover a few solutions. Whereas group nests are predominantly used in Europe, individual compartments are still the norm in the US. This results in average stocking densities of broiler breeders that are 10% higher in Europe. Luckily there is now a relatively simple solution which US farmers can recur to.”
How can nests improve profitability in the US?
Yousef: “If building a brand-new house is not an option, a good alternative is to invest in a more efficient nesting system. Individual nests may have a good track record, but the downside is that they do not make efficient use of the space. Less nesting space means fewer animals in a house.
“In the US, the alternative to individual nests is the Shenandoah group nest. Roxell built this nest specifically for the US market, and it looks different to standard group nests. This is the only group nest that can be installed seamlessly in a US house without any adjustments to the layout and animal management. The Shenandoah group nest provides space for a larger number of hens, which means you increase the total number of birds in the house. The shared compartments are spacious, hygienic and oxygen-rich, resulting in a high nest acceptance.
“I recommend this relatively easy ‘quick win’ to all my customers in the US. It can boost the profitability of a poultry farm on short notice.”
The Shenandoah group nest
The Shenandoah group nest is an automatic nest for broiler breeder houses with a Louisiana layout (US style). Most poultry farmers associate Shenandoah with the individual nest, which has been a market leader in the poultry world for decades. This group nest was designed by the same Shenandoah experts. They revamped the nest volume and enlarged the usable nest space by +50 %. The result: the house can handle a higher capacity, resulting in improved profitability.