New material regulates heat in poultry sheds

UK developers are looking at rolling out a smallholder version of a new material that controls temperatures in poultry housing, thereby cutting brooding costs, increasing stocking, cutting electricity bills and halving temperature-related illnesses and deaths.

Over the past year, Valéron AVA, a lining material with two highly reflective aluminium surfaces that optimise energy and enables pressure cleaning, has been rolled out in six African countries as a durable tool to convert heat in a hot climate and conserve heat in cold seasons.

"Producers are experiencing increased productivity, reduced brooding costs of around 25 per cent and in some cases the ability to increase stocking rates by more than 20 per cent," said Food Chain Innovation director Allan Meldrum.

The cross-laminated coated multi-layer structure secures brooding temperatures by reflecting more than 96 per cent of all radiated energy. "We now have repeat business from many of our clients. The latest sales are to Kenya, South Africa, DRC Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana," said Meldrum.

According to Food Chain Innovation, the current material is ideal for use in refurbished or new poultry buildings, allowing an even spread of light and reducing energy consumption of interior lighting by up to 10 per cent.

This is a step ahead of previous technologies employed to regulate temperature, like the pressure lamp or electricity, which only keep the poultry warm, but cannot regulate excess heat during hot spells.

However, the cost of the technology is still beyond the reach of many farmers. But the rapid response by especially large scale poultry keepers in the 3 months since the launch of the material in Kenya, is now inspiring the Food Chain Innovation to launch a smaller-scale model.

“We know the size of the small scale poultry farmers in Kenya, and we also know that this would be music to their ears, if we brought in miniatures technologies, so we hope to roll them out at a very affordable rate in the next six months,” said Meldrum.

Written by Bob Koigi for African Laughter