Poultry Management Workshops
Hot and Cold Weather Poultry Management Workshops
Environmental control within poultry houses is an important factor in poultry production. Ventilation is a key component of poultry house environmental control in maintaining conditions conducive to achieve optimum bird health and performance. Grower income is reduced as energy costs continue to rise. Understanding how to ventilate and operate poultry houses to achieve and maintain optimum environments is crucial for both the grower and the integrator. Two workshops are offered annually (May for hot weather and November for cold weather). During these workshops, broiler flock supervisors, farmers, allied industry personnel and veterinarians were trained on ventilation principles, poultry environmental needs and ventilation system design and operation.
Broiler house design has improved greatly over the last 35 years to meet the requirements of modern broilers. As a result, environmental conditions can be controlled much more closely with outside weather conditions having less of an effect. Management of these houses is complex and a lack of understanding of basic principles invariably has a negative influence on broiler flock performance and results in higher operation costs. A need for training flock supervisors who in turn will pass information on to the growers continues to be of high demand. With increases in costs of travel some companies are having difficulty justifying the cost of send people to attend the workshop in Athens making it difficult to educate the flock supervisors.
Poultry ventilation workshops for new and experienced broiler flock supervisors have been held for two and a half days on a biannual basis. The cold weather workshop focuses on cool weather ventilation to maintain optimum air quality and minimize fuel usage and electricity expenditure. The hot weather workshop focuses on optimum ventilation rates to reduce energy costs while providing conditions for broiler comfort and growth during hot weather. Attendance in 2018 for the hot weather workshop was 141 people from 18 states and 10 countries. The attendance for the 2018 cold weather workshop was 138 participants from 15 states and 10 countries. A webinar of the workshop is provided real time and included both national and international participants. In 2018 approximately 346 people from 20 states and 24 countries participated in the hot weather workshop and 242 people from 21 states and 16 countries participated in the cold weather workshop. Many of the sites had multiple people partaking as a group.
Approximately 40% of the flock supervisors in Georgia have been through both of these workshops. It is a continual process as people are promoted or move to work in other areas of the poultry industry. Several poultry companies have had all of their flock supervisors attend. After receiving this training, flock supervisors who may have 20-25 farms each are better equipped to address their growers' issues and questions. In addition, they have the knowledge and materials to educate their growers on optimum poultry house environmental control. Depending on the management practices, savings of 10 to 35% in fuel usage have been observed. Conservative estimates of the economic impact that have resulted from lower fuel and electricity usage plus improved livability, growth, feed efficiency and yields exceed $ 2 million annually. It has been necessary to establish waiting lists for people wanting to attend the workshop in person due to demand for this training. The addition of the webinar component has made the workshop available to a larger audience.