Thai Company Achieves Success with its Cool Ducks

THAILAND - STD Charoen Farm, a duck farm supplying Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), has installed closed houses and evaporative cooling systems to raise biosecurity and improve performance.
calendar icon 23 June 2009
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To reduce the risk of disease outbreaks, STD Charoen Farm (STD), a duck-farm operator in Prachin Buri, has spent 85 million baht (THB) to establish a closed farming system using an evaporative cooling system (Evap) to achieve biosecure production and a high return on investment, according to The Nation.

Supported by Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), Evap, which CPF developed to manage chicken farms more than 30 years ago, has been applied to a duck farm for the first time by STD.

The system not only allows farmers to feed more ducks but also to implement biosecure production, aimed at ensuring a high survival ratio and overall food safety. The farm's management will be controlled via a special computer system that can be operated by just one employee.

STD comprises 16 units feeding 192,000 ducks but the units employ only 24 people.

Despite the high investment cost, farmers using the system enjoy an attractive return on investment through a high duckling survival ratio, said STD director, Duangrat Jirayusakamol.

Lower mortality, higher output

Of the closed farming operation's total production of 192,000 ducks, Mr Duangrat said, losses are small at about 1,000 ducks, representing a mrtality rate of less than 2.5 per cent, compared to a typical farm's losses of five per cent. In addition, the farming period has been reduced from 55-60 days to 40-45 days.

A comparable open house would allow a company to feed just 5,000 to 6,000 ducks but this system has a capacity of 12,000 ducks. STD's average production cost is THB 95 to 105 per duck.

The firm will directly supply CPF at a guaranteed price of THB 47.60 per kilogram. As a result, STD will receive THB 140 to 150 per duck.

"We hope to recoup our investment within seven years," Mr Duangrat said.

The company's total revenue is more than THB 20 million per year.

The company plans to expand its use of the technology to a Nakhon Ratchasima facility. The total investment required was not disclosed.

Anucha Jirayusakamol, president of the company, told The Nation that the system has made farm management easier for the company, particularly in terms of risk reduction. Initially, the company was afraid to invest in the new technology, Mr Anucha said.

"We had no experience with the technology but were familiar with open farming. After we saw the demonstration farms and learned more about the technology, we decided to turn the old farming system implemented by my father into a modern operation," he added.

Farmers should focus on farm management to reduce business risk, Anucha said, adding that the closed-farming system allows farmers to control disease outbreaks, limiting them to specific compartments.

Duangmanu Leelavanich, senior executive vice president of CPF, said the enclosed operation allows farmers to have high production quality, particularly in terms of food safety and biosecurity requirements.

CPF tries to convince its local partners, who supply both ducks and chickens to the company, to operate more closed-operation farms. These contract-farm partners ensure that safe materials are supplied to all of its processing lines.

Thailand's total duck production is upto one million birds a year. Of the total, 60 per cent is exported and the remainder goes to the domestic market.

However, Thailand exports only processed duck goods, as fresh duck is not allowed by importing countries, concludes the report in The Nation.

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