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Following on from the success of the trial work completed in the 2019 season, we are expecting another progressive season of trial work this year. Trial work is important in allowing us to ensure that the Sportsman range is moving with the times and providing the best for our customers.
This season, we plan to repeat the grower and breeder trials to build up our database of information of the products being trialled. Depending on the outcome of all the trial work over the two seasons combined, we may then be able to extend the benefit to all of our customers. The results from the 2019 season have been very positive.
A grower trial evaluated the addition of an alternative protein source in the place of fishmeal. With increasing pressure over the environmental and sustainability impact of using fishmeal across the whole of the industry, it is important we have the best product available to us to provide protein in the diet. The product trialled is a processed soya meal with an additional yeast component. The processing reduces the variability of protein in the product, whilst the yeast component helps with immune stimulation and the removal of salmonella from the gut. Initial results have indicated a reduction in mortality and an increase in 8-week body weight.
We also evaluated the addition of super doses of phytase in the growing bird. Regular doses are used as standard in the Sportsman range, but with the use of 3x the standard level, further benefits can be seen in poultry. This is common practice in the broiler industry but is unreported in pheasants. Our trial showed a reduction in bird mortality and an increase in 8-week body weight.
The breeder trial demonstrated the impact of increasing the fibre component of the diet to increase gut fill and nutrient digestibility. The results showed a beneficial increase in the fertility of the pheasants and an increase in hatchability, increasing the overall number of chicks produced.
As you can see, our initial work has shown some very favourable benefits. We hope to achieve similar results this season and to progress in our knowledge of feeding game birds.
We are extremely grateful for all the hard work which goes into collecting the trial data by our customers. Their willingness to go that extra mile in these challenging times is critical in allowing us to make evidence-based decisions on creating the optimal diets for game birds.