Ag-engineer seeks to improve profitability for poultry industry

By Peter Kent

chickens; Photo by Peter KentLayers, broilers and turkeys are a big business in South Carolina. The poultry industry provides about $1.5 billion a year to the state’s economy.

Clemson agricultural engineer John Chastain consults with poultry producers to help lower their energy costs and improve operations.

“I look for ways to save them money,” said Chastain. “I typically evaluate the operation for ventilation, insulation and lighting. Those factors have a big impact on animal growth and health as well as operating costs, especially fuel expenses.” Savings can be 40 percent or more on heating, cooling and lighting costs.

He also has studied using chicken and turkey house litter to fertilize pine trees that produce pine needles for landscaping. The outcome was a win-win, with poultry growers finding a way to dispose of manure and pine-needle producers finding a low-cost, natural fertilizer.

For information: John Chastain, 864-656-4089,