Results from a five-year, 54-nation study of broiler enteric health trends indicate that improvements in the Intestinal Integrity Score of a flock can translate into financial benefits for the business concerned.
This is one of the headline messages delivered by study leaders, Elanco, during the Poultry Science Association (PSA) annual meeting which is taking place in New Orleans, USA, this week.
The presentation, made by Elanco Knowledge Solutions’ Dr Kristi Baker, highlighted key findings from the study of the most common enteric health issues facing the broiler industry across time and geographic regions.
Conducted between January 2011 and December 2015, using data from Elanco’s Health Tracking System (HTSi) to calculate an Intestinal Integrity Index, the study looked at broiler flocks in five geographic regions: Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, North America, South America, and Turkey/Middle East/Africa (TMEA). The index, which is a composite score drawn from taking account of multiple clinical conditions, was used to compare the intestinal health of producers’ flocks across the different regions.
“While the enteric health study yields insight into the presence and severity of intestinal conditions, considering the study findings in the context with previous studies suggests that data-driven analysis can benefit producers’ business from a financial perspective,” said Dr Baker.
In that context PSA delegates were told that poultry producers can benefit from the results of the study in three key ways:
- The index score of an individual poultry operation can be compared with global and regional averages for benchmarking.
- Tracking the index score over time may help producers understand the impact of changes in poultry health protocols on intestinal integrity.
- It has also been shown that the index score correlates closely with live performance parameters, such as daily weight gain and feed conversion. For example, previous data analysis has found that as the index score increases by one point, average daily gain increases by 0.04g. Additionally, a one point increase in the index score has been shown to improve the feed conversion ratio by 0.0013 (or 1.3 points FCR).
“Through insights yielded from analytic, data-driven resources such as those collected during the study, producers are able to apply a much more micro-focused approach to monitoring flock health and intervening when necessary,” said Dr Baker.
Study findings, to date, show that gizzard erosion is the most common intestinal health condition, followed by cellular sloughing, excessive intestinal fluid and E. acervulina.
In addition, the study has also shown that the enteric health of producers’ broiler flocks varies across the selected regions. For example, producers in North America, Europe, South America and TMEA regions all had relatively stable index scores between 93 and 94 during the five-year study. However, producers in the APAC region had a lower index score of 91, although scores in this region improved significantly over the monitoring period.
“As data continues to produce health and performance insights for producers using analytic products and services like HTSi, poultry producers continue to investigate how intestinal health impacts performance, animal welfare and food safety,” said Elanco. “To that end, we are partnering with a leading poultry company in Europe to evaluate how the index score correlates with yield and carcass quality in the processing plant. The results of this investigation are expected to be available in 2017.”