May 24, 2004

A new research partnership between the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and Alltech will further advancements in environmental nutrition and management for poultry producers in Kentucky, and around the world. The Alltech/UK Nutrition Research Alliance at the Coldstream Campus is a new concept in university-industry research partnerships.

Alltech is a Kentucky-based multinational biotechnology company that provides natural solutions to the feed, food and alcohol industries.  Funded by Alltech, the collaborative alliance will involve broilers, egg-type pullets and laying hens. 

“The Alltech Alliance is an excellent addition to UK's activities at Coldstream.  The link of agricultural and industrial interests is very important for the university and the state of Kentucky,” said Wendy Baldwin, UK executive vice president for research.

“We’re excited about the opportunities this partnership creates – opportunities to use the best scientific minds and the very latest technology to solve industry problems, increase producer profits and protect the environment,” said Karl Dawson, Alltech director of worldwide research.  “This alliance represents a unique method of fostering very high quality research and moving that into application in the agricultural industry.”

For many years UK has fostered collaborative relationships with Alltech and many other companies to address animal nutrition issues. Research at UK’s poultry unit, for example, provided data for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of organic selenium in the diets of broilers and laying hens.  UK also was among the first research institutions to work with phytase as a way to reduce phosphorous levels in manure, and currently is collaborating with industry on ammonia control in poultry houses. 

This new alliance will establish an even closer partnership between UK and Alltech scientists because they will be working together in a shared facility. 

“Alltech’s investment of financial resources provides stability to research for an important part of Kentucky’s agricultural economy,” said Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture.”

“This alliance allows expansion of an excellent research relationship with a trusted corporate partner,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research of the UK College of Agriculture.  “We are committed to continuing these kinds of collaborations with private industry to bring solutions to Kentucky’s agricultural producers.”

Researchers will study innovative ways to decrease ammonia production in poultry houses, decrease nitrogen content of litter, reduce phosphorous excretion through the use of enzyme phytase, and evaluate dietary changes for poultry that could have wide-ranging benefits.

The alliance also will support studies on the use of Sel-Plex (selenium yeast) to increase selenium content of eggs and meat; the benefits of adding enzymes to feed; and the use of other organic trace minerals to reduce excretion and thereby minimize environmental problems. 

In addition to advancing knowledge helpful to poultry producers, the alliance will improve the opportunity for scientists to share ideas, increase the College of Agriculture’s ability to educate graduate students and enhance opportunities for collaborative exchanges with scientists from different countries.

Poultry is a rapidly-expanding, $680 million industry in Kentucky, second only to horses among the state’s top agricultural enterprises.  Nearly 7,000 people are employed in the state’s poultry industry, with a total payroll of $200 million.  The state has more than 700 poultry farms located in 40 of the state’s 120 counties.  In 2003, Kentucky produced 277 million broiler chickens and more than 1 billion eggs.


Source: Nancy Cox, 859-257-3333