Gerhard Claasen on the road to improving poultry sustainability

Posted on December 18, 2023

Gerhard Claasen, an alumnus with a master’s degree in Animal Nutrition, not only graduated cum laude in September 2023 but was also the overall winner of the AFMA Intervarsity Writers Cup.

Winning this proved his skill in communicating complex concepts through literature. This competition allows students from various universities to write short articles supported by literature. These articles aim to share scientific knowledge with everyone in the animal feed manufacturing industry.

Gerhard’s commitment to his field was further evident as he presented his postgraduate research on an international platform at the Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting, which was held in Philadelphia, USA, in July 2023. His presentation earned him a Certificate of Excellence in the student competition.

"The experiences of this year have been overwhelming. The platform and opportunities provided by Chemuniqué and the University of Pretoria (UP) have been instrumental in making this possible”, says Gerhard. “I am deeply thankful for the support I've received from everyone, and I am especially grateful towards everyone at UP and Chemuniqué for their continued support and guidance; without them, none of this would have been possible.”

Gerhard completed a BSc(Agric) degree in Animal Science, and his postgraduate research explored the relationship between a vitamin D metabolite and an exogenous phytase enzyme on calcium and phosphorus digestibility in broilers. Guided by the expertise of Dr Christine Jansen van Rensburg (UP's Department of Animal Science) and Prof Peter Plumstead (Technical Director: Chemunique and Associate Professor at the University of New England), this research carries the potential to drive sustainability, profitability, and animal welfare within the poultry industry.

After joining the Chemuniqué internship programme in 2022, Gerhard has recently assumed the role of research supervisor. In this capacity, he is contributing to innovative research to improve the efficiency, sustainability, and profitability of animal production systems in South Africa. Looking ahead, Gerhard envisions pursuing a PhD in animal science, hoping to contribute further to animal science and the animal production industry.

- Author NAS

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