Project Number: 6040-32420-003-009-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Oct 1, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2024
The overarching goal of this Phase II project is to demonstrate that Orange Corn can provide economic benefits to poultry producers through a number of different means. The first is by demonstrating that Orange Corn can produce significant improvements in animal well-being that translate into both improved animal welfare metric measurements and economic returns. The second is by demonstrating that Orange Corn can improve animal product quality in ways that are both attractive for consumers and enhance profits for producers. Third, NutraMaize must demonstrate that Orange Corn can be produced at a scale and cost that makes its adoption economically beneficial to producers. Below is a summary of the technical objectives planned to achieve these goals, the research activities planned to reach those objectives, and the deliverables that we expect to produce from those activities.
A 90 week laying hen study will be conducted to assess the impact of Orange Corn on hen welfare and productivity throughout their life. This study will compare the impacts of Orange Corn vs conventional yellow corn from day of hatch until termination at 90 weeks. This study will also include a diet crossover at 17 weeks of age to ascertain if there are additional benefits of feeding Orange Corn from day of hatch vs starting at the transition into the laying phase. Egg physical and functional quality assessments will be conducted throughout the laying phase of the flock. The timing of egg collections for egg quality determinations are based on previous research and hen dietary changes recommended in primary breeder management guides. Eggs will be collected at: early lay (24, 28, and 32 weeks of age) to ascertain the impact of orange corn on the period of rapid changes in egg size; post-peak diet change (45 weeks of age, day immediately prior to diet change; 47 weeks of age, which will ensure all yolks matured after diet change); late-cycle diet change (67 weeks of age, day immediately prior to diet change; 69 weeks of age, which will ensure all yolks matured after diet change); and end of cycle (90 weeks of age). At each collection time, 180 nest box eggs from each treatment combination will be collected from 3 production rooms (2 pullet feed x 2 laying feed x 3 production rooms). Eggs will be placed in a less than 7 ºC ambient temperature within 36 h of lay in accordance with FDA requirements (FDA, 2009) and will remain there until egg quality assessment are conducted. Eggs quality assessments will occur at 0 (after overnight storage at 7 ºC since egg quality is impacted by egg temperature), 3, and 6 weeks of storage to determine the impact of orange corn on physical and functional egg quality during storage.