THAILAND - Zoetis Inc. announced Adrian Knoetze, from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is the 2014 winner of the World Veterinary Poultry Association (WVPA) - Zoetis Young Veterinarian of the Year award.
He was presented with the trophy at the WVPA Asia meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on 11 September 2014.
Mr Knoetze, aged 30, is a divisional veterinarian for Rainbow Chicken Farms and Cobb South Africa. A panel of global poultry experts selected him from numerous applications from all around the world.
"It’s an honour to receive this award and be recognised by colleagues in the industry," Mr Knoetze said.
"A strong focus on personal relationships with staff on all levels has been the cornerstone of my work to date," he added. "I have offered training to veterinary students, as well as on-going service and training to rural communities with a focus on improving poultry profitability."
As the Divisional Veterinarian for Rainbow Chicken Farms, Mr Knoetze is responsible for the health management, diagnostics and welfare of flocks across multiple operations including: 150,000 grandparent broiler breeder birds per annum; the KwaZulu-Natal parent operation of 650,000 birds per annum; parent and broiler hatcheries and broiler operation of 1.4 million broilers per week.
In addition to those responsibilities, Mr Knoetze oversees and manages the ISO 17025 veterinary laboratory and autogenous vaccine production unit, which offers farm–to-fork testing with a focus on poultry.
Working with the production team, together they achieved the best annual broiler performance of Rainbow Chicken Farms (the largest poultry integration company in South Africa) in 2013/14. These results are the best Cobb results throughout Africa this year.
Nigel Horrox, vice president of WVPA said Mr Knoetze was chosen for his excellent diagnosis and management of various diseases including avian influenza, salmonellosis and infectious bronchitis; his ability to work at all levels from laboratory to the farm; and his commitment to teaching others about the industry – including younger veterinary students and children in the local community.
"Adrian is a great example of the calibre of young veterinarians entering the poultry sector; with his expertise he is likely to become a leading light in the years ahead," Mr Horrox said.
Other duties have involved numerous internal projects including the development of a shuttle litter beetle control strategy and improved broiler performance through various nutritional supplement strategies.
For the third year running the award has been supported by Zoetis, and Mr Knoetze will receive a grant to attend educational poultry meetings of his choice anywhere in the world.
"This year the WVPA was pleased to have had a truly global response for the Young Poultry Veterinarian of the Year award. We appreciate the support from Zoetis, which gives encouragement and recognition to individuals who are a credit to their profession and are likely to play a key role in poultry production over the next two to three decades," said Mr Horrox.
Hector Badillo, group director, global marketing for Zoetis said, "The award attracts the highest level of entries, and as a company we are proud to support young poultry veterinarians who are the future of this industry. The commitment of young veterinarians like Adrian Knoetze must be encouraged and rewarded."
Mr Knoetze graduated from the University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa in 2009, after which he joined Rainbow Chicken Farms. During his time with the company he has completed an MSc focusing on veterinary tropical diseases.
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