UP Animal Science postgraduate student wins international award

Posted on May 10, 2019

Mr Stuart Taylor, a master’s degree student in Animal Science at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently won the award for the best graduate student presentation from the Southern Poultry Science Society (SPSS) at the annual meeting of the International Poultry Scientific Forum (IPSF) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

His winning presentation, entitled ‘The impact of limestone source, particle size and phytase on the digestibility of dietary calcium and phosphorous in broilers’, is based on his master’s studies and is supervised by Dr Christine Jansen van Rensburg (UP’s Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences) and Dr Peter Plumstead (Chemunique) as co-supervisor.

“Winning the award in the US on an international platform gave me great pride in the research we are conducting and made me realise that, in terms of ground-breaking information, we are not behind the rest of the world at all. Yes, we do things on a smaller scale but, in terms of technical knowledge and the ability to conduct internationally recognised research, we are up there with the best,” an elated Mr Taylor said.

His research is a collaboration between UP, the University of Maryland and Chemuniqué, a company committed to enhancing animal production in Sub-Saharan Africa. The research was conducted using the facilities on the UP Experimental Farm. According to Mr Taylor, this data not only benefits the South African poultry industry, but also forms part of the bigger global project.

“In the coming years, we will move to formulating broiler diets on a digestible calcium basis and no longer on a total calcium basis. This will allow us to improve phytate phosphorous utilisation and better meet the birds’ calcium requirements. Further, this research will culminate in moving us closer to a reality where broiler diets are formulated without the inclusion of inorganic phosphorous, meaning less waste phosphorous production on commercial poultry farms.”

Mr Taylor grew up on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal, which has afforded him many opportunities to experience varied farming systems. “As a result, I have an open mind and am receptive to new ideas and suggestions. It has also taught me to work in a team together with farmers, agricultural professionals and farm staff alike.”

Through his degree he has completed short courses in Bovine Pregnancy Testing and Artificial Insemination, as well as a Wool Classing course. He also made time during his degree studies to tutor high school children in Mathematics, Science and History.

- Author Martie Meyer

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