On 12-14 June 2023 Hubbard organised its biennial Hubbard Premium Forum. About 150 attendees came from 29 countries all over the world to the beautiful area of Evian on the southern shores of Lake of Geneva in France. During this very well-received forum Hubbard experts and external speakers shared their experience with the Hubbard Premium breeds with the audience and gave insights into different types of slower growing chickens markets and management practices. In addition to the “Social” component of sustainability, by using slow(er) growing Premium chickens, also the other two elements (“Economics” and “Environmental footprint”) were addressed.
At the start Jean Lebec (Hubbard Sales Manager France) introduced the attendees to the current organisation and situation of the French broiler market before Bruno Briand (Hubbard Global Sales Director) explained the large Hubbard Premium product range serving a wide variety of markets covering Dual Purpose, Label Rouge, Organic, 56-day Free Range and the more recent indoor systems such as Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). An update on the development of the BCC was then shared by Paul van Boekholt (Hubbard Business Manager Northern Europe). Olivier Rochard (Hubbard MD) and Frederic Fagnoul (Hubbard R&D Director) highlighted that Hubbard continues to invest heavily in the Premium selection centres and technologies to lower the carbon footprint of the Hubbard Premium lines by further improving robustness, FCR and meat yields using the most modern selection techniques. James Bentley (Hubbard Global Technical Director) focused on Hubbard’s experience with the use of alternative feed ingredients and optimised feed formulations for our large Premium product range to support Hubbard customers to reduce their carbon footprint. At the same time he concluded that there is a big need for more specific research with slower growing chickens and to use a standardised model to compare the environmental footprint between production systems and countries. Claude Toudic (Hubbard Premium Product Manager), Mathieu Lardiere (Hubbard Technical Transfer Manager) and Victor Lesigne (Hubbard Technical Manager EMEA) respectively shared detailed information about how to move away from fossil fuels in the near future, how well the Premium Parent Stock are performing in the field, and how to further optimise breeder performance using Hubbard’s husbandry and management recommendations. Mathieu Lardiere also introduced the updated Performance Objectives for the Hubbard JA87 and REDBRO parent stock females.
Of the external speakers François Cadudal of GIRA Food kicked off with a very comprehensive summary on the dynamics of the broiler chicken meat segmentation in Europe. Peter van Horne of Wageningen University then presented one of his recent papers comparing the production costs between conventional broilers and ECC chickens in The Netherlands, Poland, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. He showed that ECC chickens can be produced at an additional cost of 15-20% compared to conventional broilers at higher stocking densities. Vivienne Harris of UK retailer Marks & Spencer shared their positive experience in introducing Oakham Gold, slower reared higher welfare fresh chicken in September 2022, making 100% of M&S’s fresh chicken BCC compliant, the first and only UK retailer to do so. She also addressed how they communicated about it with the UK consumers and summarised the achieved benefits for the birds, farmers, consumers and M&S. Maureen Stickel, director of the World Poultry Foundation (WPF), touched on a completely different subject while presenting about sustainable local poultry production in developing countries. It is WPF’s mission to improve lives globally through engagement with poultry value chains with a heavy focus on training, on social impact and on sustainability of models with giveaways. One of the solutions is to set up distribution channels with micro-brooders using dual purpose breeds replacing the village birds and to show how much productivity gains are possible. David Pitman of Pitman Family Farms in California (USA) lead the audience through his numerous trips to Europe, starting in 2008 when he was looking at slower growing chickens for the first time. Nowadays the family company is offering a range of high-quality welfare chickens, including Mary’s Heirloom Chicken, and coming soon Mary’s Legacy Chicken following the BCC requirements. Ruedi Zweifel of AVIFORUM in Switzerland gave a brief of the structure of the Swiss poultry industry, which with many small farms is completely different to many other European countries. He also showed the results of research done on nutrition of the Hubbard S757 free range chickens, and the ranging behaviour of the Hubbard JA987 and Hubbard REDBRO chickens which has led to the acceptance of both breeds, plus the JA957, for the Swiss private label guidelines “IP-Suisse”.
Laura Warin of ITAVI in France presented the results of research done on the use of environmental enrichments and what this can bring to Premium chickens, in which she compared the different behaviour of conventional broilers and Hubbard REDBRO chickens.
Listening to the very positive reactions of all the attendees, the 4th Hubbard Premium Forum has been a great succes and therefore we are already looking forward to meeting our customers at our next Hubbard Premium Forum in 2025.
For further information, please contact your regional sales representative or:[email protected]