Chris Rude, PhD
Alternative poultry productions systems give consumers and producer options. Concerns over husbandry, sustainability, and biotechnology have created new markets. Two of these markets are organic and non-GMO. Both systems have challenges with ingredient limitations. For non-GMO, the main limitation is lack of genetically engineered products, such as phytase, and limited ingredient selection. For organic, the main hurdle is the restriction on crystalline methionine supplementation for poultry. The severe restriction causes a high level of protein, as a result of the large amounts of soybean meal necessary to supply adequate methionine. These high levels of protein can lead to gastrointestinal distress and high ammonia levels. Balancing the nutrient requirements for economic poultry performance with bird health and welfare is critical when making formulation decisions. The high nutrient dense diets for broilers, turkeys, and layers create challenges and allow for decision making opportunities. A balance must be struck between what we know is the requirement and what is feasible for the production system.