Aviagen upgrading UK breeding program   

Aviagen recently completed the first phase of a more than 35-million-euro investment in its UK breeding program that includes upgrades and expansion of pedigree facilities, further R&D, a new GGP farm and additional hatchery capacity.

The company’s infrastructure is being strengthened to meet growing demand, said Alfons Koerhuis, chief technical officer, Aviagen Group.

The company’s pedigree farming base in the UK, which is one of two breeding programs at the core of Aviagen’s operation, now has 40% more space as a result of a series of farm expansions. This allows for even higher selection pressure and associated delivery of genetic progress for customers worldwide.

The expansion and upgrades to existing facilities have brought with them increased space for state-of-the-art technology to aid Aviagen’s balanced selection process. This includes further expansion of transponder-based feed intake data capture as well as novel selection techniques for leg health, yield and meat quality.

“With feed being the largest poultry production cost, improved FCR brings huge economic and sustainability benefits. We have always put FCR at the top of our agenda for our selection, and this increased investment allows us to deliver even higher amounts of progress to the field,” comments Magnus Swalander, general manager.

All farms feature the latest design features, including cross-ventilated buildings, high insulation, efficient heating and temperature control with the construction of covered walkways providing industry-leading biosecurity and welfare.

Long term commitment to UK as supply base

In addition to the investment at pedigree level, a brand-new GGP farm has been built with one of Aviagen’s contract farmers.   The 20,000-bird facility worth 1.75 million euros adds another 5% production capacity to the company’s high-generation facilities in the UK.

Also, a new high-generation hatchery is currently under construction. Located at Rugby in Warwickshire, UK, it will commence operation in early 2019. With a setting capacity of 180,000 eggs/week, the new hatchery will be built to the highest industry standard and will incorporate state-of-the-art equipment to operate under the most exacting welfare and biosecurity conditions.

“With the Rugby operation added to our UK hatchery portfolio, we can ensure the safe, continuous supply of Aviagen chicks from prime British locations that are strategically placed for export to international customers as well as for deliveries to the domestic market,” said Mr Magnus.