We are excited to announce that Willmar Poultry Innovations (LSI R&D) has signed an exclusivity deal with HatchTech, out of the Netherlands, to the be sole distributor of their HatchCare technology in the U.S. and Canada. This is a big milestone in the “HeadStart Project” that our R&D arm has been focused on for the past 1.5 years! You can read an initial story in the press here:
Our next goal is to measure the amount of extra value a poult will deliver to a customer when marketed if started on feed, water, and light immediately at hatch. The HatchCare machine is the only product on the market that can accomplish this service. If you’re curious to see how this works, you can view videos on the system (currently used with chickens). Here’s a link to one example:
You may be wondering…if these HatchCare machines have been used in chickens all these years, why hasn’t it been used in turkeys? Turkeys and chickens are pretty similar right? Surprisingly, they are much different in anatomy and behaviors. Turkey poults (baby turkeys) are larger and more fragile than chicks (baby chickens) and are more sensitive to temperature and light changes. Poults need a little extra encouragement to drink water at the beginning of their life whereas chicks have an easier time finding water. Because of these differences between the two, there is a need for modifications to the process/machines and extra testing to ensure the best solution is created for these newborn poults.
Our first HatchCare machine has been powered up and is working! We have been receiving remote support from HatchTech in Holland via augmented reality cameras, teaching us how to build these machines correctly. The team is currently in the process of building the second of these machines and remodeling the NB1 building to deliver this service on an introductory scale. The Nursery Brood facility (NB1) was built in 2016 next to the water treatment plant west of Willmar, MN, used for poult research through the fall of 2018.
We will start running large-scale test hatches in late October or November with a partner. Once we measure concrete benefit out of this new custom hatching system, we intend to launch a new custom hatching business for the organization to serve this unique niche and revolutionize turkey hatching!
Our organization’s core value of stewardship is central to this project. Without this mindset that drives our decision making, we would not have these innovative research & development projects that will keep our organization around for generations to come. Our definition of stewardship is, “Our investment of time, talent, and treasure will do great things in the long run. We make decisions based on our responsibility to our employees, our customers, our stakeholders and our community.” Not only will this project help our organization grow, but it will increase the quality of life of the turkeys in our care, create value in our community with more job opportunities, and increase the quality of poults that our customers receive.