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Poultry Tech Support Routine

Technical Corner

Latest insights and information from our Technical Director

By Nigel Strain

 Today I have provided poultry tech support to clients across four continents, without the need to leave my home here in beautiful North Wales! 

My day started by providing ventilation support to a good client based in Sydney Australia, where they were having issues with their tunnel inlets (yes – it’s lovely and warm over there currently!) It is vital that tunnel ventilation is operating correctly when it’s needed, allowing it to provide the necessary cooling effect and prevent heat stress on the birds. 

 

Water reduction investigation

My second task of the day was to investigate the reason for a reduction in water consumption in a broiler house for our good client in Thailand. It’s always a concern when water consumption is off-trend and a sure sign that something is amiss either in the environment or the health status of the birds.

“Optifarm is a truly global business. We are proud to provide a cost-effective and time-efficient service and care to each of our clients all over the world.”


High levels of CO2

Next request was from our good client in Johannesburg South Africa who had issues with high carbon dioxide levels in their houses. In South Africa, it’s common to use coal furnaces to heat their poultry houses. It’s important to ensure adequate ventilation; minimum ventilation is key to removing toxic air and excess moisture from the house, providing the birds with good quality air.   


Overnight temperature variations 

Here in the UK we’ve recently experienced cold overnight temperatures and windy conditions. A good client asked for advice to prevent their houses getting cold overnight. Heating capacity is so important during the winter months, and this client has the advantage of gas heaters to support their biomass system. However, minimum ventilation shouldn’t be set too high and it’s worth considering increasing set temperature slightly in the evening when you know it’s going to be a particularly cold night.  


Understanding expectations

And there was still time in the afternoon to onboard a new client via a virtual meeting! Our onboarding process is key in understanding each client’s needs and expectations, which allows us to provide a great service from day one! 

Optifarm is a truly global business. We are proud to provide a cost-effective and time-efficient service and care to each of our clients all over the world. We take great responsibility for our carbon footprint and sustainability. Innovative technology, including artificial intelligence, allows our poultry technical support team to virtually globe trot, remotely supporting clients with their technical issues without any risk to biosecurity – a great advantage given the increased threat from avian influenza, viruses, and diseases.  


A little rumination

Our new world certainly brings challenges, but there are many good opportunities too. Whilst there’s absolutely a need to be face-to-face sometimes when conducting business, we can also take advantage of remote and virtual working, and not only during a pandemic! Sitting here at my comfortable home office, I’ve embraced my new way of working and the positive changes that it brings – fewer hours wasted in traffic jams, less time away from family and friends, not having to stress about delayed flights and missed connections! Positive change is good for the soul, good for the environment, good for the pocket! 



Avian Influenza’s back with a vengeance!

Technical Corner

Latest insights and information from our Technical Director

By Nigel Strain

I’m sure we are all sick of hearing about viruses over the last year or two (no pun intended!), but Avian Influenza is a major challenge for our customers and a real threat to our industry. In the notsodistant past AI would be a threat for one in three or four winters, but last few years the virus has gained strength, spreading further and hanging around much longer. Last year the poultry industry was hit hard by ‘bird flu’ which arrived early and kept going well into Spring. Unfortunately, this season’s AI has arrived on our shores even earlier than last year and has spread across Europe and Great Britain very quickly. There has already been twice as many outbreaks detected in wild bird across Europe in 2021 than there was in 2020, and new cases are being reported almost daily now. 

“Chicken farmers are facing a perfect storm – high feed costs, increasing energy costs as well as the threat of AI.”

AI is a viral infection that is spread among birds. Fortunately, it very rarely affects humans and there have been no cases of humans affected here in the UK. What is particularly worrying this year is that so far the large majority of cases have been identified as the more serious Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 strain. This does not mean that the virus is more infectious and does not increase the risk to humans, but being highly pathogenic rather than low pathogenic does mean that it has much greater potential to kill chickens. Focusing on the UK, HPAI H5N1 cases have been confirmed in many counties including Angus, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Wrexham, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Essex. These cases were identified in wild birds, captive birds and non-commercial flocks mainly, but also in some commercial flocks.  

There’s never been a more important time to support and empathise with our customers. Chicken farmers are facing a perfect storm – high feed costs, increasing energy costs as well as the threat of AI. It’s not going to be an easy winter!