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MSU poultry science provides key research
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Poultry’s spot as the state’s No. 1 agricultural commodity is due in large part to a strong relationship between the poultry industry and Mississippi State University.
MSU’s poultry science department assists the growing industry through education, research and outreach to help improve production. Sanderson Farms, the fourth-largest U.S. poultry producer and processor, has been located in Laurel since 1955. The company has a longstanding relationship with MSU researchers.
“MSU’s poultry science department has been integral in helping us make decisions of major significance,” said Sanderson Farms corporate nutritionist Carla Price. “We can go to them at any time and make requests for research that can aid us in production decisions.”
She said Sanderson Farms always aims to provide their consumers with the highest quality product. When looking for broilers that produce the highest amount of meat per bird, they turned to Alex Corzo, assistant poultry science research professor at MSU.
“To help Sanderson Farms find the right type of broilers, we evaluated the genetic strains and feeding regimens of all the birds they were using,” Corzo said. “Through this, we were able to find the type of bird that would produce the highest yield of meat.”
Corzo said there are many different broilers on the market, and producers are often in search of a specific type. One bird is not superior to another, but producers look for types that best fit their marketing strategies.
“Dr. Corzo produced the research we needed to choose the right type of broiler for our consumers,” Price said. “We have several different types of birds, and we appreciate the perspective on which types best fit the varying needs of our customers.”
Price also looked to MSU on choosing feed ingredients for the broilers being raised at Sanderson Farms.
“We helped find them a feed that was cost-effective while also contributing to the best performing bird,” Corzo said.
Price said the research helped her and her colleagues make big decisions about changing their feeding programs.
“The benefit of pulling in MSU researchers to our operation is that they help us examine issues on a smaller scale,” she said. “From what the research shows us, we can make major decisions that provide us with cost-saving benefits while still delivering a quality product.”
MSU poultry science department head Mike Kidd values the relationship his department has with Sanderson Farms.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to provide scientific advice on breeding and nutrition to Sanderson Farms,” he said. “The production decisions they make are of large magnitude, and we are proud to be a part of that.”
Corzo and Kidd strive to keep good communications with all poultry nutritionists in the state. One way of doing this is through an annual meeting held during the first week of December. At the meeting, nutritionists get a first-hand look at the newest research being developed at MSU.
“We let them know what we are working on and how it might benefit their operations,” Corzo said. “The attendees also bring us their research needs so that we can incorporate them into our plan for the following year.”
Price said the ongoing communication between MSU and the industry is a two-way street. The accessibility to expertise is what keeps the relationship so strong.
“They bring us research ideas that we can incorporate into the work we are doing here. Similarly, we go to them with our ideas and requests,” Price said. “It’s a fantastic relationship, one that we’ve been building together for years.”
Contact: Dr. Alex Corzo (662) 325-2853