Alltech European lecture tour: learn from crisis
Surviving turbulent times; according to Alltech these current rough times (credit crunch, high feed prices, feed and meat scares) are moments that we can use as an opportunity. This was said at the Utrecht meeting, part of the Alltech European Lecture Tour.
Dr Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech opened the day with some examples of the current turbulant times:
- Pilgrims, the largest broiler producer going into bankruptcy.
- Dairy farmers getting 9.5 cents per 100 weight and in reality it cost them 17 cents to produce.
- Dioxin scare in Ireland led to the slaughter of a hog population.
- Companies often have no crisis management in place
- Our students getting only $35,000 when they finish their PhD.
"When we see all of these things is there any surprise that our industry is in a bad way now", said Lyons. More than ever we need to go back to what John F. Kennedy said "The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity."
Pillars to keep in mind
Lyons explained the pillars that the feed industry needs to embrace to overcome these rough times.1. Education: We need to get involved from the ground up particularly at the PhD level. PhD's should not be poor, hungry and driven. Let's get behind the Margin of Excellence. 2. Innovation: Education will lead to innovation which leads to SSF where we can save as much as $10.00 per ton of feed. 3. Branding: This is the reason why we got involved in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This helps band our company and our industry. 4. Traceability and Quality Control: A critical part of crisis management, Alltech, within our company uses a system which involves auditing our suppliers 3x a year on an unannounced basis. Since we operate in over 100 countries we have access to all international standards and they are incorporated into the AQS; The company also has engaged local feed associations to make the AQS system avail to them and a number of them have taken it up as their own standard.
Other speakers of the day included Dr. Jules Taylor Pickard and Dr Peter Surai. Jules clearly explained the current status of mycotoxin research and the dangers involved for the feed industry. She pointed out that masked mycotoxins are a new threat to the industry. These masked mycotoxins are mycotoxins linked to another molecule (glucose for example) and cannot be detected by current mycotoxin analysis. They are however released in the animal's body and can have many negative effects on animal health and fertility. Alltech is working hard to find a solution for these masked mycotoxins.
Peter Surai – the antioxidant expert – gave an in-depth presentation about the benefits of using Selenium and why organic selenium is preferred over its inorganic sister Sodium Selenite. Nutrigenomics is a great help in this exciting Selenium research. These microchips show which genes in the animal are up regulated and which genes are down regulated after supplementation of Selenium. It will take some years before these nutrigenomics technique will actually be used in practice.
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