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Novel Poultry Diet Proteins Savannah Crafton-Wells, Research Fellow

Savannah Crafton-Wells, a research fellow at the University of Arkansas (U of A), discovered while attending college at Arkansas State University that pursuing agriculture as a career was like coming home. That wasn’t unexpected, though. She grew up on a farm in Northeast Arkansas where 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans are grown each year.

What drew her to the University of Arkansas was her passion for animals. She’s currently researching poultry diets as a doctoral candidate with funding through a fellowship with the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Her research is focused on obtaining precise poultry nutrition needs and identifying the best source to fill those needs in the future. Soybeans are one source she is studying.

“As our population increases, we’ll also need to increase our poultry production to feed that population,” Wells said. “With increased poultry production, we’ll also see an increase in soybean production.”

Wells studies whether full-fat soy meal, which is a byproduct of the process that obtains oil from soybeans, will help the poultry industry increase the quality they produce for consumers. She looks at the birds’ feed intake, body weight gain, and how efficiently each feedstuff converts to body weight to measure the total impact of soybean-based feed on poultry. She is also measuring whether or not more parts can be taken from the bird during processing.

Wells conducts all of her research at the Poultry Pilot Processing Plant on the U of A campus, which is set up to mimic industry operations. This ensures her results will be applicable to the industry. Her research shows that, so far, the only large numerical difference can be seen in the feed-to-weight conversion ratio when the birds eat soybeans bred to produce more oil due to the increase in amino acids found in the plant.

“I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board for funding this research as well as providing me with this fellowship,” Wells remarked.

Watch the full Field to Film: Featured Research video series here to learn more about current checkoff-funded research projects. Find the podcast version of this series for on-the-go listening here.

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