This year, Chemuniqué is proud to support two of our young scientists as they presented their research at the 2021 Poultry Science Association (PSA) Annual Meeting. This prestigious meeting, which was held online for the first time this year, offers attendees exposure to the latest science and research within the poultry science field, with presentations from both industry and academia.
Anneleen Swanepoel is a junior nutritionist on our poultry team. She completed a BSc(Agric) degree in animal science at the University of Pretoria, and folllowed it up by earning a master’s degree from Auburn University in the USA. For the past two years, Anneleen’s key role has been egg quality analysis for breeder and layer farming operations. She is passionate about laying hen production, nutrition, and research and is planning on soon starting a PhD in laying hen nutrition.
Anneleen will be presenting research on the assessment of the variation in limestone grit originating from North and South America and implications for laying hen nutrition. Limestone is the primary source of calcium in laying hen diets, contributing as much as 94% of the calcium consumed by a hen. A large portion of the limestone in commercial diets is supplied as large particle grit that is expected to be slowly soluble to provide calcium in the intestine at the time of shell formation. Previous research has shown limestone particle size and solubility to be negatively correlated with eggshell and bone quality in laying hens, so it was of interest to understand the variation in grit limestone used in commercial feed mills and this project yielded some interesting results. The poor correlation between particle size and solubility, as well as large observed differences in the 30-minute solubility of limestone with similar particle size, emphasises the shortcoming of only using limestone particle size as the sole criteria to select the grit used in commercial laying hen diets. It seems that not all grit is created equal!
Gareth Wilks joined the Chemuniqué team at the beginning of 2020 as part of our intern programme after completing his bachelor’s degree in animal production with distinction at the University of Pretoria. The research project for his master’s degree is focused on improving phosphorus utilisation in broilers by comparing the efficacy of novel phytase enzymes in young broiler diets using different sampling and statistical methods. Along with currently completing his MSc degree, he is also the head limestone research coordinator at Chemuniqué and is obtaining valuable commercial experience in broiler nutrition and production.
They say variety is the spice of life, but what happens when variation occurs in an ingredient that contributes more than half of the total analysable calcium (Ca) in a broiler diet? Furthermore, should we only be analysing our limestone for calcium? These are just some of the questions that Gareth will be tackling in his presentation. His finding suggest that, although there is a strong negative correlation between particle size and limestone solubility, this can only explain some of the variation observed in limestone solubility and that other factors also play an important role. Analysis of 200 samples from across North and South America suggests that considerable variation in particle size, solubility, and mineral content exists between limestone sources. “A proper understanding of the factors that influence the rate of limestone solubility can lead not only to increased flock performance, but also a reduction in environmental pollution and improved bird welfare,” he says.
For more information about these young scientists and how their research will positively impact the South African poultry nutrition industry, please contact our innovation director, Dr Peter Plumstead at 071 679 6809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.