Study aims to reduce impact of poultry

Researchers will be looking at how diet, animal husbandry and new technologies can reduce the environmental impact of poultry production in the latest stage of a multi-partner industry project.

The project – which is funded by Defra, LINK, Scottish Government and DARD Northern Ireland – is looking at how the poultry industry can continue to produce food while reducing its environmental impact. Researchers are using computer modelling to produce an accurate ‘lifecycle assessment’ of poultry production.

The first stage of the project analysed both broiler meat and egg performance across a range of production systems. The second stage is looking at possibilities for reducing environmental impact, such as by replacing imported soya feed with home-grown protein.

Partners involved in the project include Newcastle, Cranfield and Nottingham Universities, Moy Park, O’Kane Poultry, Noble Foods, Aviagen, Harbro, DSM, Waitrose, the Soil Association and the NFU.

Nigel Joice, vice-chairman of the NFU poultry board and member of the project steering group, said: “This exciting project will provide invaluable information to the industry on how it can reduce its impact on the environment – something that is of increasing importance to consumers as we strive to produce tasty, high-quality affordable protein for a growing global population.

“One of the key outputs from the project will be the development of a user-friendly calculation tool to allow poultry farmers to estimate their environmental impact, and model how this would change with adjustments to their husbandry or system.”