Submitted to: National Poultry Breeders Roundtable
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2008
Publication Date: July 14, 2007
Citation: Branton, S.L. 2007. The USDA Poultry Research Unit at Mississippi State: Impacting the Bottom Line of the Poultry Research.. National Poultry Breeders Roundtable Proceedings pp54-61. Interpretive Summary: The organizing committee of the 56th annual meeting of the Poultry Breeders Roundtable was interested in the contributions to the nations' poultry industry made by the USDA ARS Poultry Research Unit (formerly the Couth Central Poutry Research Laboratory) since its inception in 1964. Selected historical accomplishments were highlighted, particularly those that continue to impact the industry through the present time. In addition, notable recent accomplishments (since 2000) were highlighted and finally, objectives for the Unit's mycoplasma and poultry production research endeavors were delineated through 2012.
Technical Abstract: The USDA-ARS-Poultry Research Unit at Mississippi State has been addressing environmental, nutritional and mycoplasmal research for the poultry industry since 1965. Originally, the South Central Poultry Research Laboratory (SCPRL), it has been, from its inception, staffed with individuals whose collective academic training represent agricultural engineering, poultry nutrition, poultry management, and animal health. In the laboratory’s infancy, the various expertises melded into a multi-disciplinary force whose initial efforts were directed at investigating the seasonal spiking of condemnations/mortality attributable to “PPLO” in broiler chickens. In order to address the poultry industry’s needs, the earliest structures at the research site included a main laboratory office complex together with an environmental/disease facility which housed two research chambers, one side designed to emulate a summer environment and the other a late fall/early winter environment. The environmental/disease facility failed to function as designed by civil engineers due to the impact of poultry dander, feathers, etc., on the ventilation system. The facility became a poultry holding area until 1986 when it was renovated and 32 fiberglass isolation units were installed. Ultimately, during the first five years of the laboratory’s existence, five additional research facilities – each still in use today - were designed by the Laboratory’s first agricultural engineer, Floyd Reece. These facilities included four, open-sided chicken houses and an environmental facility which housed ten environmental chambers each capable of both temperature and humidity control within + 0.5 C together with the capability of the introduction of gases including carbon dioxide and ammonia. In subsequent years a layer research facility, a 64 pen broiler nutrition research facility with closed circuit television and a feed mill complete with both hammer and roller mills as well as a pellet mill were added. In addition, USDA-ARS-Poultry Research Unit scientists have research access to two commercial chicken houses and a research-scale poultry processing plant available through Mississippi State University’s Poultry Science Department.