DALLAS CENTER — The old question of which came first–the chicken or the egg–has a novel answer in the form the new Dr. Henry A. Wallace Farm, which opened recently near Dallas Center. This state-of-the-art poultry facility reflects a significant investment by Hy-Line International Inc., the world leader in layer poultry genetics.
“We have a substantial responsibility in the effort to feed a growing global population with an inexpensive and nutritious source of protein – the egg,” said Jonathan Cade, president of Hy-Line International. “The addition of the Dr. Henry A. Wallace Farm allows us continued innovation and genetic progress in Hy-Line layer genetics to accomplish this.”
World leaders in layer poultry genetics, along with federal, state and local dignitaries, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 27 at the company’s new facility, which will increase the population of research birds from which scientists can identify the top performing birds to populate the next generation of egg layers. Thanks to improved selection intensity, Hy-Line layer varieties are gaining increased egg numbers, persistency, shell strength, egg weight and feed efficiency.
Hy-Line supplies 40 percent of the world’s poultry genetics and serves more than 120 countries.
“This new Dallas Center research farm is a beautiful, modern facility,” said Mike Naig, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. “The layer building has an automated control system that feeds, waters and monitors the temperature around-the-clock to make sure the birds are comfortable.”
While Hy-Line International creates thousands of jobs and invests millions of dollars in Iowa’s economy, the company’s impact reaches far beyond Iowa, Naig said.
“Iowa is home to 54 million layers that produce almost 16 billion eggs per year, making us the largest egg producing state in the country. Hy-Line International is not only important to Iowa, but the entire world.”
Accelerating the rate of genetic progress
The completion of the Dr. Henry A. Wallace Farm completes another significant step in the drive for accelerated genetic progress in Hy-Line layers, which are sent to buyers worldwide.
“We are making significant strategic changes in the Hy-Line breeding program to accelerate the rate of genetic progress,” said Dr. Danny Lubritz, director of research and development for Hy-Line International. “Egg production and eggshell quality show higher genetic variation at older ages. The pedigree birds housed on the Dr. Henry A. Wallace Farm will be evaluated for these traits, among others, to help ensure continued genetic progress in persistency and shell strength.”
Hy-Line International is not only the world’s oldest layer genetics company, but it’s a global leader in the poultry genetics industry. Hy-Line produces and sells both brown, white and tint egg stock worldwide and is the largest seller of poultry layer genetics in the American egg industry and around the world.
Founded in 1936 by Henry A. Wallace, Hy-Line was the first poultry breeding company to apply the principles of hybridization to commercial layer breeding. More than eight decades ago, Hy-Line geneticists developed the world’s first hybrid egg laying chicken produced on a commercial scale.
Since then, Hy-Line scientists have maintained and improved the genetic product through the use of time-tested breeding techniques in combination with blood typing and other new genetic innovations to guarantee ongoing genetic superiority and consistency — bird to bird, variety to variety, generation to generation.
Hy-Line International remains an innovator and industry leader. It’s the first company with its own in-house molecular genetics team leading the poultry industry in application of DNA-based technology to its breeding and genetics program. Hy-Line International’s dedication to genetic excellence for 83 years has produced revolutionary breakthroughs in poultry breeding that have benefited egg production worldwide.
With an eye on the future, Hy-Line International continues to invest heavily in the modern tools of genetics. Hy-Line molecular geneticists are studying the chicken genome to mark and use genes of economic significance. These studies have tremendous potential to yield major genetic breakthroughs in chicken performance in the years ahead.
“Hy-Line International began as a pioneer exploring the unknown potential of genetics,” states the company’s website. “We still possess and cherish that same spirit of discovery. We’re committed, prepared and ready to be the pioneers in the poultry genetics of the new millennium.”