Sunday, August 02, 2020

Bird Flu will hit Australian egg exports

South Korea has banned poultry and egg imports from Australia following an outbreak of avian influenza at a poultry farm in Victoria. The ban could cost the industry $20 million this year. Under the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Australian egg exports were expected to reach at least $20m partly because of Korea’s preference for brown shell eggs, rather than the white shells commonly produced in Europe and North America. Avian influenza was detected this week at a free-range egg farm near Lethbridge, western Victoria. Agriculture Victoria announced that the farm tested positive for the H7N7 avian influenza virus. The property has been quarantined and all 43,000 birds are being destroyed to stop the spread of the virus. Movement controls are in place throughout Golden Plains Shire.H7N7 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus, in the Orthomyxoviridae family.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Fight for Planet A

Free range farming can help to mitigate the effects of climate change.

A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the importance of sustainable agriculture. Freeranger Eggs at Grantville is an example of sustainable farming.

Freeranger Eggs is doing more than Governments to combat carbon emissions and climate change.

The Freeranger Eggs farm management plan takes a three pillars approach to how the farm operates. Animal welfare is one pillar, but equally important are land sustainability and food safety. Growth is not a part of our philosophy. we need to encourage people to set up more farms, not upscale existing farms. We believe that will support more people working the land fairly and will ensure long-term food security.

Despite all the political bickering over emissions trading scheme targets, some small businesses have been playing their part in addressing the problem. Freeranger Eggs has been getting on with mitigating the impact of carbon emissions. The farm's carbon footprint is limited by imposing a food miles policy for deliveries, using recycled materials and equipment whenever possible, utilising solar power and mechanical processes and an effective waste reduction program.

As a result, the 1200-chicken farm generates only about 60 tonnes of CO2 each year.

But it is better than carbon neutral, it is carbon positive. The average organic matter in soil tests was 4.1 per cent in 2004, in 2006 it was 6.0 per cent, and in 2009 it was 7.9 percent. Calculations based on 2-inch deep samples, show that over those five years the farm sequestered about 14 tons of CO2 per acre or four tonnes of carbon per acre on the grasslands. Further testing and calculations have not been carried because there has been a total lack of interest in the results.

The farm applies no chemical fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides and this policy increases the biological life in the soil and increases the rate of carbon sequestration. Rotational grazing is practised on the pastures – taking advantage of photosynthesis to pull CO2 into the plants and then into the roots from where it transfers to the soil.

In addition, every year at least another tonne of CO2 per acre continues to be sequestered by the regular regeneration of Kangaroo Apples (
Solanum laciniatum) in the main paddocks.

Native vegetation has been protected on approximately 100 acres of the property and regeneration there sequesters a further tonne of CO2 per acre.

This brings a grand total of 1500 tonnes of CO2 sequestered on this property over five years – an average rate of 300 tonnes per year compared with the farm's carbon output of around 60 tonnes.
On days of full sun the solar panels on the farm shed generate 13 - 17kW of electricity a day and as on average the farm consumes just 9kW a day it helps the bottom line.

Loss of biological diversity in agriculture is a growing global problem. The lack of diversity created by monocultures and a dependence on costly agrochemicals, fertilisers and seeds, is resulting in the loss of genetic heritage in agriculture.

The Freeranger farm is a true free range operation with small flocks of chickens in separate paddocks with mobile roost houses where eggs are laid. An eBook is available on setting up free range egg farms

Freeranger Eggs gained international recognition in 2012 as the Australian winner of the Energy Globe Award.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Ranking well on Google is good but what benefit in being No 1?

In this modern age, electronics play a key role in life, a website is essential for any business – but there is no need for it to be a costly undertaking. We set up our own website using the Weebly platform and have undertaken Search Engine optmisation ourselves. A professional SEO operator may have done a better job but it probably would not have been cost effective. Our eggs already regularly sell out so there is no economic benefit in being number1 on Google – which the SEO people say they can do for us. A higher ranking cannot inctrease our sales because each week we have nothing left to sell..

On our latest check of search engine optimisation, appears to be ranking well on Google for keywords such as freerange eggs. Analysis suggests we need to increase the number of referring domains – we currently have just 58 compared with 972 for Australian Eggs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How to keep up vitaminD levels in Covid 19 lockdown

The Covid 19 pandemic has increased the problem of vitamin D deficiencies. As people have been more confined indoors, they have been cut off from the beneficial effects of sunlight. It is common for vitamin D deficienies to range from 20 to 36%. Food high in vitamin D are essential to maintain health, and eggs are at the top of the pile. Especially free range eggs laid by hens with unrestricted access to sunlight as they roam over pasture. protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 iodine and selenium. They also contain vitamin A, calcium, phosphorous, folate, biotin, choline, thiamine and pantothenic acid as well as beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and very little damaging cholesterol.
A couple eggs a day for an adult provides over 80% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D as well as many other essential minerals and nutrients,protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 iodine and selenium. They also contain vitamin A, calcium, phosphorous, folate, biotin, choline, thiamine and pantothenic acid as well as beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and very little damaging cholesterol. More information on our website

Friday, July 17, 2020

Lobby Groups' push for more cuts in farm animal welfare standards may pose food safety issues for consumers

Changes are being drafted to national standards and guidelines for farm animal welfare. New standards will replace current Model Codes of practice for many farm animals. The Model Code which covered free range poultry has already been thrown out by politicians and replaced with an absurdly high stocking density standard. Under the Code, Free range density was limited to a maximum of 15,000 hens per hectare but politicians trashed that and approved 10,000 hens per hectare to be classified as free range – putting hens and consumers at risk through the build up of pathogens. Despite their victory on conning politicians lobby groups and industrial-scale producers will push for an even more extreme relaxation of standards. This may be the last opportunity to return sanity to the issue of stocking density as there was  no scienece behind the move to allow an intensive density. It's not just a  welfare issue. Such high stocking rates contaminate soils and waterways.
The standards and guidelines are being developed under the direction of an Animal Welfare Task Group, which includes representatives from each of the departments responsible for animal welfare, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries. standards and guidelines currently under development, public consultation and endorsed standards and guidelines for farm animals are available at

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Setting up a free range farm business

Anyone thinking about making a career or lifestyle change should think about free range farming.
Clear consumer demand for free range eggs has generated a strong increase in the number of people wanting to start their own free range egg business.
A good starting point is reading the eBook on starting a free range farm available on the Freeranger Eggs website: . Detailed information is available on the Freeranger Club downloads page about things like shed requirements, food safety, egg packaging and labelling.
When you decide to set up a free range egg farm, take the time to plan it properly. Find out the zoning of the land and talk to your local Council planning department about their requirements. It’s also worth contacting the State Department of Agriculture. You can find on-line resources in most states. In Victoria, contact: Once that is sorted, talk to your Council Environmental Health Department about any specific requirements they have before you get underway. However, don't even think about it if you want a business to provide you with a Mercedes every time a new model is released and you expect an overseas holiday every year or two - open a Mcdonald's franchise instead.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

free range hens lay more eggs

Researchers at the University of New England have confirmed that free range hens are more productive and lay more eggs, compared with hens kept in cages or locked in sheds. They found that ranging hens produce more eggs not only because they range, but because they seem to have a more vigorous approach to life. The academics confirmed knowledge gained by free range farmers everywhere. The research seems to suggest that even hens kept in intensive conditions on dodgy free range laying facilities with 10,000 hens per hectare lay more eggs. The University of New England researchers, led by Dr Isabelle Ruhnke tracked over15,000 hens on five production sheds from the time a flock was placed at16 weeks old to when they were removed at 74 weeks of age. The researchers said the first major finding to emerge from the resulting data was that those hens who preferred to range outside began laying earlier. They also produced about 15 percent more eggs at 22 weeks of age than those who prefer to stay inside. For the intensive operations, the increased output can translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra revenue each year. Part of the reason for bigger profits is that feed costs are reduced. Feed represents up to 70 percent of the cost of egg production and when hens are confined they are only able eat feed available in the shed, but when outside they can also eat their natural diet of other seeds, grasses and insects. To see how a real free range farm operates, check out the freeranger Eggs website