Research promotes healthier poultry and environment

Using a forest industry waste product improves health, lessens reliance on fossil fuels
calendar icon 3 December 2021
clock icon 5 minute read

The promising research revealed the system dries the litter and improves bird health, which was evidenced by improved foot pad scores.

“The birds raised in those dry conditions had much better-looking foot pads,” Moritz said. “Aside from health, that’s also an economically-important product that sells to different Asian markets.”

Researcher Wang is looking into energy efficiency and emissions of a variety of wood products, including chips, pellets and sawdust.

"Wood is a strategic replacement as an energy fuel source because of the vast availability of wood residues from timber harvesting that can be used for wood boiler fuel,” Wang said.

While the propane may have a higher efficiency, the downfalls are higher humidity and ammonia levels. Both are bad for bird health, said Wang.

"Wood energy conversion offers a cleaner and renewable fuel that maintains a high-energy efficiency while creating healthier conditions for growing birds," he said.

The researchers hope, if the study is successful, that state farmers will eventually be able to replace their propane heating systems with a wood boiler system.

“We’ve been looking at expanding the market for wood products,” Grushecky said. “The idea is that more and more farms would use this as a source of heat in their facilities. It’s another market for wood products that wasn’t considered before.”

But before farmers can make the switch, the wood boiler system must first be tested in colder temperatures.

The promising research revealed the system dries the litter and improves bird health, which was evidenced by improved foot pad scores.

“The birds raised in those dry conditions had much better-looking foot pads,” Moritz said. “Aside from health, that’s also an economically-important product that sells to different Asian markets.”

Researcher Wang is looking into energy efficiency and emissions of a variety of wood products, including chips, pellets and sawdust.

"Wood is a strategic replacement as an energy fuel source because of the vast availability of wood residues from timber harvesting that can be used for wood boiler fuel,” Wang said.

While the propane may have a higher efficiency, the downfalls are higher humidity and ammonia levels. Both are bad for bird health, said Wang.

"Wood energy conversion offers a cleaner and renewable fuel that maintains a high-energy efficiency while creating healthier conditions for growing birds," he said.

The researchers hope, if the study is successful, that state farmers will eventually be able to replace their propane heating systems with a wood boiler system.

“We’ve been looking at expanding the market for wood products,” Grushecky said. “The idea is that more and more farms would use this as a source of heat in their facilities. It’s another market for wood products that wasn’t considered before.”

But before farmers can make the switch, the wood boiler system must first be tested in colder temperatures.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.