A two-day workshop on the use of the EFG Broiler Growth Model and Optimiser was held at the Coorong Wilderness Lodge in South Australia in February 2013. This followed the Australian Poultry Science Symposium held in Sydney, at which Rob Gous gave an invited presentation on predicting food intake in broilers and laying hens.
Twelve participants, mostly Australians, but two of whom were from Japan and one from New Zealand, enjoyed the experience of learning to use the EFG feed formulation program (WinFeed) and the Broiler Model and Optimiser in the beautiful surroundings of the Coorong.
Learning and experimenting
Participants were given the opportunity of learning about the theory of food intake – this being the basis of the Broiler Model – and the consequences of using feeds of different composition when fed to broilers of different genotypes and sexes kept in different environmental conditions.
Not only is food intake accurately predicted by the Model, but so too are the growth rates of all the revenue-generating parts of the broiler, thus making it possible to evaluate ‘what-if’ scenarios by varying the wide range of input variables.
Interesting ‘experiments’ conducted by the group included:
- balanced protein responses,
- comparing performance under different environmental temperatures and humidities,
- comparing past, present and future genotypes,
- evaluating the benefits of separating the sexes and feeding and housing them differently,
- different day old chick weights and stocking densities on performance, and
- altering the feeding programme to evaluate the consequence on performance and body fat content.
Optimising feed for varying circumstances
The EFG Broiler Optimiser provided the group with the opportunity of allowing the program to find the optimal feed composition and/or feeding programme under different economic circumstances and even to determine the optimum composition of a feed to be used as a balancer with wheat when these two components are blended during the growing period.
The Coorong Wilderness Lodge, which is run by the Trevorrow family from the Ngarrindjeri community, proved to be an ideal environment for the participants to learn and to relax.