Field day draws from 11 counties
DELMAR, Del. — More than 450 people attended an Extension poultry field day at a newly built production farm on March 4.
Attendees came from 11 Delmarva counties: Each of Delaware’s counties, Accomack County, Va., and seven from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The event was organized by the Extension services at University of Delaware, University of Maryland and University of Maryland Eastern Shore with Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. and dozens of industry sponsors.
“When you have an on-farm field day, there’s opportunities for growers to get some tips on maintenance and techniques to better manage their equipment,” said Georgie Cartanza, poultry Extension agent at the University of Delaware.
Set inside two of Yahya Farm’s chicken houses in Delmar, Del., presentations covering several aspects of commercial broiler production were given throughout the day. Topics included controller operation, litter amendments, lighting, water systems and maintenance for cool cell, heaters, generators and fans.
Dr. Jon Moyle, poultry specialist for University of Maryland Extension, said the event was a “great success” in connecting growers to experts and manufacturers of a lot of the equipment they use or could use on a broiler farm.
“Many growers took advantage of the learning opportunities and reported that they learned ways to help improve their farms,” he said. “We will continue to look for ways to help growers and offer a variety of ways for them to learn.”
Data from a survey of participants show presentations on litter amendments were the most attended at 69 percent, followed by that of controllers (58 percent), fan maintenance (41 percent) and generator maintenance (37 percent).
In naming their greatest challenge to their farm operation, 62 percent said it was regulations, 52 percent cited input costs, 44 percent chose environmentalists and 41 percent said pests and diseases.
Cartanza said another big part of the field day is to give growers a chance to network with each other, discuss issues and problems and share information about solutions. With enhanced biosecurity measures in place for the event, it was still able to take place weeks before statewide orders canceled all gatherings of groups larger than 10 people and closed all non-essential businesses due to the COVID-19 precautions.
“To be able to bring people together like that, there’s a great social aspect to this,” Cartanza said. “That’s something you appreciate now that we’re going through what we’re going through.”