Aviagen Turkeys utilises a diverse range of genetic lines for development of its turkey breeds. In addition it holds a large gene pool capable of meeting future needs. The company uses a balanced breeding goal, including health and fitness traits, alongside selection for key production traits such as reproduction, growth, feed conversion, and yield.
Commercial FCR selection
Improvements in feed efficiency (measured as FCR or Feed Conversion Ratio) are of major importance in our selection strategy to further improve the profitability of turkey meat production. Investment in ground-breaking feed station technology has enabled the electronic capture of every meal eaten by each pedigree bird in the selection program. Individual bird FCR can be measured in a multi-bird (group) environment, under conditions reflecting the commercial farms, promoting natural feeding behaviour. The system consists of feed stations (individual eating stations) equipped with the transponder technology for bird identification and weighing technology to accurately and reliably record feed intake.
Breast Meat Yield
Investment in a program for breast meat yield selection combines direct yield testing on brothers and sisters of pedigree birds with morphological measurements on selected candidates from the farms, to improve the meat yield selection. In addition, development of imaging technologies provides a powerful tool for direct selection for yield that can be carried out on the live bird and used in conjunction with information from relatives.
Aviagen Turkeys utilises an X-ray unit (Lixiscope) that can be used to identify clinical and sub-clinical TD. This is an effective tool to select against, TD in turkeys and improve overall leg strength and health. The implementation of the lixiscope, in combination with walking assessments or gait scoring, has significantly improved leg strength of all Aviagen Turkeys breeds.
Aviagen Turkeys maximises genetic progress in livability through direct selection under conditions reflecting real commercial environments combined with state-of-the-art technology to measure robustness and physical competence of turkeys. Aviagen Turkeys selects using a targeted approach incorporating livability as well as key components affecting livability.
The Power of Selection
BLUP (Best Linear Unbiased Prediction) is a powerful statistical modelling method that provides more accurate estimates of genetic potential. BLUP provides breeding values that give a highly accurate description of an individual's genetic merit, making it an ideal tool to achieve balanced genetic progress between commercial and reproductive performance traits. The powerful computing capabilities make it possible to take into account in excess of 150,000 records at selection, maximizing genetic progress.
Verification of genetic progress in the final commercial cross and development of new management advice is performed at our commercial trial facility. This allows our geneticists, nutritionists and management specialists conduct evaluations of commercial breeds, nutrition and management, under controlled and replicated conditions, helping develop advice on best practice for turkey producers.