Hendrix Genetics and Orbem have announced the successful launch of MRI-based technology for in-ovo sexing poultry eggs on a commercial scale

Hendrix Genetics and Orbem announced the successful launch of Orbem’s Genus Focus system in the Hendrix Genetics laying hen hatchery in Mûr-de-Bretagne (France).

The Genus Focus is an MRI-based high throughput non-invasive solution for in-ovo sexing of poultry eggs of any breed, MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The modular solution combines Orbem’s imaging and classification technology with automation equipment of the Vencomatic Group (VMG) to enable reliable and non-invasive real-time sex determination of poultry embryos on day 12 of incubation. The installation in their French hatchery has the capacity to analyze 250.000 eggs daily when incubating one-day-old chicks. With the implementation of this technology, the hatchery meets current French and German regulations, and thus KAT standards (the German Association for Controlled Alternative Animal Husbandry) against the culling of male one-day-old chicks.

Gosse Veninga, Director Product Excellence at Hendrix Genetics Layers said: “The successful launch of in ovo-sexing technology in our operations is an important step in our vision to set the standard for sustainable animal breeding. The system delivers a high level of automation and efficiency to ensure that the process can be completed on a large scale in our commercial hatchery. The result is a key achievement in animal welfare and overall sustainability in the industry.”

The parties are already in advanced talks for further installations of the Genus Focus and additional projects to apply MRI-based egg analytics to other applications in the poultry industry, including the breeding process (phenotyping eggs) and detecting the fertilization status of hatching eggs.

Hatchery Orbem

The Orbem Genus Focus Installed

Orbem’s team of thirty-five scientists and engineers have developed the proprietary imaging and AI technology behind the Genus Focus, including determining hardware specifications and software data flows required for high throughput analytics. The Dutch-based Vencomatic group (VMG) supplies a newly engineered handling and sorting system for moving, picking, and transporting hatching eggs with great care and throughput.

Dr. Pedro Gómez, CEO of Orbem said: “We are very pleased to see our machine now fully in operation. It is a world premiere as the first fully automated MRI system in an industrial use case based on artificial intelligence. We are grateful to Hendrix Genetics for the early support of our innovative technology solution. The fully automated Genus Focus system is a game-changer for in-ovo sexing because it is completely non-invasive and functions for all poultry breeds, including white, colored, and brown layers.”

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