PHA Ideas Exchange 2017 was held in October in Brisbane. A new venue and a new team, PHA successfully carried on the Poultry CRC’s legacy providing researchers, students, industry leaders and farmers with a pleasant and cohesive environment to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the Australian poultry industry.
The two-day event included presentations on Industry Insights, New Ideas on the Horizon, Biosecurity and Bridging the Gap. PHA Director Associate Professor Tamsyn Crowley kicked off the conference with a talk to welcome delegates and to share her vision for PHA going forward. In addition to sharing her family history in the poultry industry and her love of Lego, Tamsyn explained the three main objectives of PHA, 1. Sharing Knowledge, 2. Building Capacity and 3. Creating Connections. Tamsyn concluded her talk by challenging the audience to get involved by sharing knowledge and making new connections. This introductory session was followed up with a series of presentations from industry representatives including Mr John Dunn, Mr Michael Beer, Dr Greg Parkinson and Professor Peter Groves. Each of these speakers gave their unique and often passionate view of our industry, providing a plethora of discussion points to explore during the morning tea break.
New Ideas on the Horizon included a wide array of fascinating and exciting presentations. Dr Valeria Torok introduced a new and innovative way of detecting foodborne pathogens using biosensors. Mr Michael Atzeni spoke about shade balls and their potential use in the poultry industry to address water quality and biosecurity issues. Michael provided samples of the shade balls for the audience to interrogate and highlighted the need for further research in this area. This theme of interacting with the audience was continued when Ms Julie Koss shared her story about smoked eggs, providing the audience with a new taste sensation “smoked egg ice-cream” this was followed by smoked eggs in the salad at lunch, yummy! The next three talks included some very promising young researchers in the poultry industry namely Dr Ben Wade, Dr Natalie Morgan and Dr Rebecca Forder. These talks focused on cutting edge science in the area of welfare and nutrition. Dr Ben Wade detailed a new stress test for poultry stating “while we can’t measure if a chicken is happy we can determine their levels of stress”, providing a new test for use in our industry.
A session on Biosecurity proved very informative with presentations on AMR and Managing Biosecurity, presented by Dr Anthony Keyburn and Dr Margaret Sexton respectively. This session also included Ms Bridget Peachey representing the Sheep CRC who introduced us to their amazing web resource ParaBoss, a one stop online resource for management of sheep parasites and diseases. Bridget’s presentation emphasised the possibility of a similar resource for poultry stating that they were open to future collaborations.
Following a great first day all the delegates made their way down to Brisbane River for a fantastic dinner cruise. This event provided an opportunity to continue discussions and make new connections in a relaxed setting. The next morning there were a series of talks focusing on litter and odour. Dr Ben Wells updated delegates on litter reuse promising “no data” but lots of viable solutions. Mr Peter Gamble and Mr Stuart Arthy continued this theme discussing some new ideas in combating odour. Professor Steve Walkden-Brown continued the session with an update on his research investigating a vaccine for haemorrhagic enteritis in turkeys. The session was completed with an insightful and very personal journey through the poultry industry from Ms Emma Sanders.
The final session of the conference was entitled Bridging the Gap and began with a fantastic talk about data visualisation. Dr Kylie Hewson provided a host of examples of how scientists can enhance their presentations and make them more appealing to industry and the general public. Kylie showed an amazing graphic that demonstrated the potential to tell a clear story with graphics (check it out here). Dr Hewson challenged all the researchers in the room to apply this line of thinking to their own research and talked about an upcoming data visualisation workshop for researchers that will be held following APSS in February next year (contact email@example.com). The conference concluded with another presentation from PHA Director, Associate Professor Tamsyn Crowley providing a guide for researchers who would like to get involved in PHA and share PHAs vision of wanting to have “impact in industry”.
All in all, Ideas Exchange 2017 was well received by attendees, who expressed their happiness with the continuation of this event past the life of the outgoing Poultry CRC. They all agreed that the continuation of this event is imperative to our industry as it is a forum where researchers, industry leaders and students mingle together to share their ideas in a relaxed environment. This year’s event saw a few farmers attend however, we are aiming to build on this and would invite more farmers to get involved. Lastly PHA would like to thank all the speakers, session chairs and organisers for what was a highly successful event.