Monday, December 16, 2019

Egg prices set to rise because of drought

It will be a tough year for egg farmers with feed prices going through the roof because of drought conditions throughout Australia. Rising costs and falling sales could send some big producers broke as they rely on sales to supermarkets who set their benchmark prices. Genuine free range farmers with low stocking densities should fare better as their hens obtain around half their feed from the paddocks.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Double yolk eggs

About 20% of the eggs laid by our hens are extra large – and they mostly have double yolks. Double yolk eggs are single eggs that happen to have two yolks in them. They often occur with pullets when a hen releases one yolk soon after another, and both are in the same egg. But older hens can also produce double yolkers.   Chicks are born with about 4,000 ovum (the yolks), and they don’t produce any extra during their lives. So, the total amount of eggs a hen can lay is set from the start. Some producers use extra lighting to get hens to lay more eggs – but that doesn’t increase the total volume – it simply brings forward the rate of lay, causing each hen to age more rapidly.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Egg trading can spread salmonella

The Victorian Department of Agriculture warns that a truck from a farm in NSW contaminated with Salmonella enteriditis may be about to enter Victoria to pick up eggs, This is exactly how contamination spreads, The department warns farms not to allow the truck on site.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Fines for mislabeling eggs are just a cost of doing business for dodgy producers

The scale of profits made by industrial egg producers labeling their eggs as free range has been highlighted in Western Australia. The false labeling adds millions of dollars each year to the profits of unscrupulous businesses Speaking in parliament, Nationals agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa said WA egg producers were concerned at dodgy practices, allowing one operator to undercut competitors with prices that could not be matched by legitimate egg producers. Mr de Grassa said there was an industry estimate, that CF Farms free-range facility could produce 98,000 dozen eggs per week, yet it sells 150,000 dozen free-range eggs He said the business, previously trading as Snowdale Holdings, was fined a record $750,000 and ordered to pay $300,000 costs in 2017 after the ACCC took the company to the Federal Court for falsely labeling about five million cartons of eggs as free range. Fines for deceptive conduct and breaches of consumer law are regarded simply as a cost of doing business.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Family farming is the sustainable future for agriculture

In the short term, there may be a need for intensive agricultural production systems because of the incessant demand to stock supermarket shelves. But the unwieldy monocultures created by this processes are doomed in the long term and there will almost certainly be a resurgence in small-scale family farming with niche markets producing food for consumers who care about the food they eat and environmental sustainability. Establishing more genuine free range egg farms around the world will be a key part of the growth in clean food and a sustainable future for everyone on the planet.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Ensure pullets are properly vaccinated

When selecting pullets for a farm, it’s important to ensure they have been vaccinated against the common diseases they may encounter. Hens on genuine free range farms with small flocks sizes and low stocking densities are likely to have fewer health problems than intensive businesses running many thousands of birds, but an occasional infection may arise. When a chicken has a runny nose or conjunctivitis, you might guess that it has a respiratory illness. But which one? Avian influenza is one of the big fears - but that’s unlikely on a well managed farm. Several common chicken diseases — including coryza, infectious bronchitis and infectious laryngotracheitis — have similar symptoms, making them hard to tell apart. The treatment for each disease is different, so getting a laboratory diagnosis is essential, Coryza causes conjunctivitis, coughing and a major drop in egg production. Infectious bronchitis often affects the kidneys and reproductive system as well as the upper respiratory system. It can spread quickly, especially when hens are confined in sheds, it affects egg production but seldom kills many birds. In addition to the common respiratory symptoms, it can cause rough eggshells and uneven colouration of brown eggs. If the chickens are infected when they’re very young, the disease can destroy their oviducts.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Regenerative farming is the only environmentally sustainable food production system

Regenerative agriculture has emerged as an effective way to produce food while minimising environmental damage Sustainable is not good enough because Industrial farms have adopted the term and destroyed soil health and productivity – just like the industrial scale egg producers who pretend they are offering free range eggs. Clearly Regenerative agriculture can’t be done on a large scale, effective long term production requires large numbers of small producers able to carefully manage their inputs and outputs. Check out regenerative farming principles on our website: freeranger.com.au