This year’s NFU poultry research seminar took place online on 31 March 2022.
The event, which was the fourth annual seminar of its kind, brought together mire than 60 people from across the poultry supply chain including producers, veterinarians, processors, packers and academic researchers.
Chaired by NFU Poultry Board member Thomas Wornham, the event featured an informative programme of topics and a keynote address from the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL). Each subject area was followed by a panel Q&A session.
“Our industry continues to evolve as businesses invest in new facilities and infrastructure. This seminar aims to enable poultry businesses to keep pace with new and upcoming trends, practices and even some blue sky thinking for the vision of the future, and we hope that you will join us.”
NFU Poultry Board member, Thomas Wornham
Watch the seminar
You can watch a video recording of the seminar at the bottom of this page. The time stamps in the section headings below will help you find your way through the various sessions. We've also provided a brief summary of what was discussed below.
Introduction and keynote address
- Thomas Wornham, NFU Poultry Board
- Phil Bicknell, CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock)
Phil introduced a series of opportunities available to poultry farmers to collaborate with researchers and provided a detailed breakdown of the financial support available from the government to support this work.
Net zero, land management and sustainability (0:17:00)
- Dr Lindsay Whistance, The Organic Research Centre
- Will Bisset, Entocycle
Lindsay's presentation on sustainable feed and planting design for organic poultry ranges encompassed a review of the OK-Net EcoFeed project, which is a three year, pan-European analysis of feed innovation across the pig and poultry sectors. She also introduced delegates to a range of online tools to help aid management decisions, such as ration planning. Lindsay ended her jam-packed presentation by providing an introduction to novel tree planting approaches, honed on the continent and ready for application in the UK.
Will introduced us to innovations in insect farming using black soldier flies and shared his vision for the future in terms of sustainable alternatives to traditional poultry feed ingredients. He walked us through the environmental benefits at both ends of the insect farm, with inputs constituting a novel destination for food waste and outputs capable of alleviating dependence on crops for feed protein.
Food security and trade (1:25:51)
- Dr William Clark, Zero Waste Scotland
- Professor Louise Manning, University of Lincoln
William's presentation explored the role of poultry and its affiliated by-products within the circular bioeconomy and the implications for long-term food security as well as sustainability. He gave examples such as alternative uses for feathers and eggshells and introduced the audience to new concepts such as robotic trees.
Louise joined us to discuss food security, the supply chain, and implications for poultry. She introduced attendees to the notion of food insecurity and its connection to national debt and poverty statistics, before asking what the role of poultry meat and eggs were in delivering food and nutritional security for the nation. This was a truly thought-provoking presentation, particularly in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the consequential impacts on global food resilience.
Animal health and welfare (2:13:38)
- James Smaldon, Nuffield Farming Scholar
- Dr Helen Roberts, Defra
Our final session looked at the latest innovations in animal health and welfare. James, a broiler breeder from Devon and former Poultry Industry Programme member, discussed precision technology and its implications for bird welfare. He endorsed the value of virtual stockpersonship to effectively dovetail physical flock maintenance for the betterment of both bird and farmer welfare, and ultimately business productivity.
Helen brought the day to a close, mapping the situation as it stands regarding avian influenza vaccination. She spoke about the enduring difficulties surrounding the implementation of an effective vaccination programme but pointed to positive shoots of growth in relation to trials ongoing in France and lessons learned from the vaccination response to the Covid-19 pandemic.