Demonstration Poultry Facility Moving Forward

W. Allen Nipper, Whitmire, Johnnie G., Morrison, David, Lavergne, Theresia  |  5/18/2007 12:21:08 AM

The broiler houses being completed at the LSU AgCenter’s Hill Farm Research Station will be used to test and demonstrate different types of equipment. Operation of the two houses is intended to support the state’s poultry production industry by providing valuable information to growers.

News Release Distributed 05/17/07

A poultry demonstration facility at the LSU AgCenter’s Hill Farm Research Station at Homer is moving closer to completion as equipment is arriving and being installed in two new commercial-sized broiler houses.

The houses are being built and equipped with funds from the LSU AgCenter, as well as donations from poultry companies and those involved in the industry in North Louisiana, according to AgCenter officials.

The broiler houses will be used to test and demonstrate different types of equipment, said Dr. Allen Nipper, north central region director for the LSU AgCenter and resident director of its Hill Farm Research Station.

"We actually are getting the same birds, following the same guidelines and obeying the same rules as commercial producers," he said. "Then we can say, ‘This is our result. This is what we did.’"

One of the first comparisons will be between two types of heaters for chicks, said Johnnie Whitmire, an LSU AgCenter extension agent who will manage the facility. One house will be equipped with radiant tube heating, and the other will be heated by standard brooders.

"This will provide information on how the two systems compare in terms of cost of operation and health of the chicks," Whitmire said.

Among the production practices evaluated will be feed conversion rates and litter treatments, along with monitoring ammonia and odor levels. Each building will house 26,000 to 28,000 broilers, Whitmire said.

The LSU AgCenter operation will contract with the two major poultry companies operating in Louisiana – Pilgrim’s Pride and House of Raeford. The AgCenter will alternate between the two companies every 12 months.

Service technicians from the appropriate company will visit the LSU AgCenter facility regularly and evaluate it just as they would do for other growers – to assure the operation is following the company’s management guidelines, Whitmire said.

When birds are marketed, the LSU AgCenter’s Hill Farm Research Station will be paid in the same manner as all local growers for that week, said Dr. David Morrison, AgCenter associate vice chancellor. Hill Farm’s results will not be included in the formula used for the settlement prices to other growers, however.

"This is so the Hill Farm’s production doesn’t skew how other producers are paid," Morrison said.

A poultry house steering committee was established to guide the project, according to Dr. Theresia Lavergne, associate professor of poultry science in the LSU AgCenter. Members of the committee include representatives from the House of Raeford, Pilgrim’s Pride, Louisiana poultry growers, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Poultry Advisory Committee and the LSU AgCenter’s faculty, she said.

"This committee made the decision of what type of houses would be constructed and what type of equipment would be used in them," Lavergne said. "This is the committee that planned the project.

"Also, this committee will work to determine the type of demonstration work that is done with the houses," she said. "They make the important decisions for the houses."

Benoit Holloway Jr. of Peck Construction Co. of Marion donated the site preparation work. In addition, local financial institutions, including Peoples State Bank of Many, Louisiana AgCredit of Arcadia, First Guaranty Bank of Homer, Louisiana Federal Land Bank and Gibsland Bank and Trust Co. provided financial support to the project.

The two 42-foot-by-500-foot broiler houses were constructed by Latco of Downsville. Rodney Banks, division manager for Latco, worked closely with LSU AgCenter facilities planning engineers and Hill Farm Research Station personnel to coordinate the construction of the houses.

Companies that contributed equipment for the facility include American Manufacturing and Textiles, Cumberland Poultry Systems division of GSI, Georgia Poultry, Hired Hand, Industrial Generators and Engines, Latco Equipment, O’Neal Gas and Southwestern Curtains.

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Contacts:
Allen Nipper at (318) 644-2662 or anipper@agcenter.lsu.edu
Johnnie Whitmire at (318) 927-2578 or jwhitmire@agcenter.lsu.edu
David Morrison at (225) 578-4182 or dmorrison@agcenter.lsu.edu
Thersia Lavergne at (225) 578-2219 or tlavergne@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:
Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or rbogren@agcenter.lsu.edu

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