Saturday, September 07, 2019

ACT Government goes it alone enforcing proper free range egg labelling

The Government of the Australian Capital Territory has introduced laws forcing Canberra supermarkets to display signs on shelves outlining the density of free-range eggs and requires a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare. This conflicts with Federal Government regulations allowing a stocking density of 10,000 hens a hectare. This move could confuse consumers unless Federal politicians fix the mistake they made in caving in to pressure from corporate egg producers.Maybe the establishment of a Federal corruption Commission could help to solve the problem.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Sustainable farming combats climate change

The Australian Medical Association has joined other health organisations around the world – including in the US and UK in recognising climate change as a health emergency. This follows the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which 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 in Canberra 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 eggs farms.Details on the freeranger eggs website. Www.freeranger.com.au Freeranger Eggs gained international recognition in 2012 as the Australian winner of the Energy Globe Award.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

More genuine free range farms needed

Chaos in the egg industry is creating wide consumer interest in finding genuine free range eggs and driving shoppers out of supermarkets. Demand for free range eggs has far exceeded supply, leading to widespread mislabelling and deception by some producers. Egg producers in Western Australia are concerned about current prices paid to them by big retailers. They says that cheap cage-free eggs being sold by Coles are 'unrealistic' and unfair. Coles stopped selling caged eggs in Western Australia in March and have said there will be a nationwide phase-out of caged eggs by 2023. Home-brand barn laid eggs are on shelves for $3 per dozen, which Commercial Egg Producers Association of WA president Ian Wilson said did not meet the cost of production. Clear consumer demand for free range eggs has generated a strong increase in the number of people thinking about starting 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 deciding 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: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farm-management/business-management/permits/guidelines-for-rural-planning-applications. Once that is sorted, talk to your Council Environmental Health Department about any specific requirements they have before you get underway. Details: www.freeranger.com.au

Sunday, August 18, 2019

FSANZ should be scrapped

A spate of recent food recalls of eggs and milk as a result of potential contamination illustrates the failure of Food Standards Australia New Zealand to maintain food safety in this country. The poor performance of FSANZ in protecting consumers from dangerous food practices should result in cost savings when the organisation is disbanded. Politicians and bureaucrats could then start again and design a programme to actually meet food safety requirements. But, that won’t happen. At best, bureaucrats will cobble together a bunch more rules and regulations to add to the melange already created. As with all Government programmes, ad hoc regulations are imposed once failures have been recognised, there are seldom moves to review and redraft the programmes.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Techniques for boosting business in the UK could be adopted here

The UK government has implemented a major funding programme to support the improved performance of industries – including farms. Some egg farms in the North of England have jumped on board because they can see how it can benefit their businesses.Made Smarter is an investment between government and industry which includes match funding opportunities and the provision of dedicated technical and business support for SMEs adopting digital technology, to support advanced manufacturing. The initiative is the result of the Made Smarter Commission - a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the private sector. Bell Mount Farming, based in Penrith, and Eggbase, based in Sedburgh, are among 11 businesses in the North West of England which are set to introduce advanced manufacturing methods. They want to adopt data and analytical technology to boost egg production by ensuring the conditions are optimal for free range hens. It would be a welcome change if our government acted to assist businesses.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dodgy eggs sold throughout Victoria

A growing number of egg sellers have no idea about food safety requirements designed to protect consumers. Tens of thousands (or perhaps hundreds of thousands) of eggs are sold each week by people who meet no regulations or standards. In Victoria, the Department of Agriculture has clear requirements for egg producers, including the preparation of a Food Safety Management Statement for each property.But many sellers ignore the requirements. The Departments says:”It is preferable that eggs with minor marks are dry cleaned rather than washed”. But if eggs are washed, there should be good temperature control and an approved sanitizer must be used. But the requirements are often ignored as there is currently no inspection process to verify compliance with standards following the State Government decision to remove registration and inspection requirements by Shire Councils.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Freeranger Eggs showing the way on climate change

The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has highlighted the importance of sustainable agriculture. Freeranger Eggs at Grantville is an example of sustainable farming. At Freeranger Eggs, we are doing more than Governments to combat carbon emissions and climate change. Our 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 in Canberra 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 programme. 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 eggs farm s and we are developing a series of webinars. Crowd funding is being sought to prepare the webinars . Details on the freeranger eggs website. Www.freeranger.com.au Freeranger Eggs gained international recognition in 2012 as the Australian winner of the Energy Globe Award.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Egg substitution rife in Australia

It has been officially established by enquiries into recent salmonella outbreaks that it is common practice in the industry for eggs to be acquired from a variety of sources and packaged with a single label for distribution to supermarkets. The NSW Department of Primary Industries has revealed something that the industry has known about for years. The introduction of egg stamping was supposed to ensure the traceability of eggs back the property on which they were laid. But  after lobbying by big producers and supermarkets, politicians changed the requirement for on-farm stamping and now allow stamps to be applied at the time eggs are packaged by major grading floors. The ACCC  has a wide range of information following successful prosecutions in the Federal Court. There is no doubt that egg substitution has been rife for decades. Major sellers package eggs from wherever they can get them and sell through supermarkets. The producers justify this by saying that they are required to meet the supply demands from major retailers.  If they don’t send enough eggs each week, the producers risk losing their contracts.  That’s why no genuine free range eggs can be found in supermarkets – they simply don’t have enough volume to meet supermarket demands. The ACCC tried to solve the problems and a series of Federal Court decisions on free range production highlighted the issues to such an extent that politicians stepped in to protect producers from prosecution. The egg labelling standard they introduced endorsed deception by the industry. The WA Government is looking at tightening regulations there in an effort of protect consumers – but no other States appear to be interested. The recent Salmonella scare demonstrated the problem of traceability when producers package eggs from many places across the country without revealing the source.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Salmonella Enteritidis workshops for egg farmers - identifying the risks

A biosecurity training session for Victorian egg farmers will be held at Attwood, Melbourne on August 8. the training will focus on the recent Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) outbreak and will be run by Dr Yoni Segal, the principal veterinary officer for poultry. The NSW Dept of Primary Industries, Biosecurity and Food safety says there are theories about how SE came onto farms and a paper is expected to be written on the subject. It says farm biosecurity is critical. Sunlight kills the SE bacteria, so properly run free range farms with low stocking densities have little risk of suffering the problems encountered by industrial production systems.A biosecurity manual is available from Australian Eggs, or from the Freeranger Club page on the Freeranger Eggs website. Australian Eggs is also holding an SE workshop at Attwood, on August 27 so they are taking the issue seriously.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New egg carton supplier

We have found a new supplier of egg cartons, relatively close to the farm. Anne picked up 1500 plain cartons in Dandenong on her way to visit friends in the City. Our previous supplier had closed down in Clayton, so we thought we may have to truck cartons from Preston, Footscray or Laverton. Although cartons are a modest cost compared with all the others such as feed and compliance costs imposed by red tape, it is significant to be able to collect our cartons as we need them.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Quality eggs and size are all about nutrition and management

We are frequently asked why our eggs are so large as well as being tasty. The answer is simple, all hens start egg production laying Small eggs – around 40g or so and gradually increase to a mature egg grade size of Medium (60g) Large (80g) or bigger. They generally begin to lay 15 – 17 weeks after hatching With modern breeds, such as Isa Browns, most hens lay Large or Extra Large eggs by the time they are 40 weeks old. While there is a basic pattern of how egg size changes as hens age, feeding and management have a major impact on egg size. Management factors in controlling egg size include hen body weight. Larger eggs tend to be laid by larger hens weighing about 2 kg. Total access to quality pasture and a balanced ration of natural grains with a protein content of at least 17.5% will ensure good hen health, egg quality and size.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Victorian Government workshops to help streamline planning process for poultry and pig farms

Agriculture Victoria is hosting a series of free workshops to help new and existing small-scale pig and poultry producers prepare a land use planning permit application. participants will be eligible for the supporting grants program of up to $3,000 for expenses related to on-farm works, consultancy, or training that supports the preparation of a land use planning permit application. For details contact Ann McDowell annmcdowell@agriculturevic.gov.au

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Starting freerange egg farm webinars cancelled

Unfortunately the series of webinars on starting free range egg farms has been cancelled. The first was scheduled for World Egg Day this year - October 10, but has been halted by the failure of a crowd funding campaign. It was hoped to raise $8000 to prepare the webinars to a professional standard with effective graphics and video content. It was planned to develop webinars suitable for a range of climatic conditions and regions to encourage the establishment of small scale poultry farms across the globe.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Australia's food standards need to improve

Australia’s food safety standards are being questioned. World Food Safety Day was held on June 7 and the Food Safety Information Council released a report card detailing Australia’s food safety record. There are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year, which translates into about 16 out of every 100 people The 4.1 million cases result in an average of 31,920 hospitalizations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors. Recent recalls of milk and eggs from supermarkets has added to consumer problems. There is a clear need for an overhaul at Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Food safety risks increased by intensive production

Current egg farm problems in Australia and some other parts of the world are a direct result of adopting intensive production methods. An article in the UK Smallholder magazine in June 1934 acknowledged that “mass production is not only here to stay, but it would be adopted more and more; much of the troubles of the industry were due directly to mass production. "To make a success of mass production permanently, it follows that a revision of methods will be necessary. In the hands of careless or unscrupulous men it is a menace but in the hands of the careful and honest it will be the only means of making a good profit.” In Australia,recent serious food safety incidents involving egg recalls have demonstrated that the careless and unscrupulous have been hard at work counting their money.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Salmonella contamination 'stabilised'

The Managing Director of Australian Eggs, Rowan McMonnies, says Government authorities and the egg industry have stabilised potential food poisoning issues from contamination by Salmonella Enteritidis. He has said that the emergence of SE in Australia was caught early and all contaminated sites were limited to a cluster of ‘interconnected farms.’ Farm management practices are the focus of on-going investigations.

Friday, May 24, 2019

new egg labelling and stamping requirements in Western Australia may spread to the rest of the country

Western Australia seems to be moving towards introducing effective labelling and stamping requirements for eggs. WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan described the system of labelling of eggs and traceability as a ‘joke’. She said “WA is the only State that doesn’t have a proper egg traceability system, there is no regulation and we need to modernise that and introduce more discipline.” Commercial Egg Producers Association of WA president Ian Wilson said an industry-led committee would work with the State Government to deliver tighter standards and procedures. He said while most eggs were stamped on farms before sale and it accurately reflected where they were laid, a weakness in the system meant the eggs could be bought from elsewhere and stamped as though produced on that farm. Mr Wilson said better traceability standards, identifying the origin, flock and system, would also help in situations such as the recent Eastern States recalls for salmonella. Unfortunately egg stamping in the eastern states does not provide adequate traceability, because exemptions mean that many eggs are not stamped on farm.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Email problems with Live Mail and Thunderbird

WE are having problems with our farm emails - we receive them OK, but we can't reply or send new nessages. We were using Windows Live Mail but when that started playing up we were advised that as microsoft no longer supported live mail, we needed a new email programme. So I downloaded Mozilla Thunderbird. But that hasn't helped - we still can't send emails on our farm account.It doesn't recognise the password with our ISP's outgoing server so the connection fails. Thank goodness we also have gmail and Facebook which allow us to keep in touch.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

UN 'wake up' call on climate change - our webinars will help

The latest United Nations report on the implications of climate change for all life on earth is a serious ‘wake-up’ call for everyone to do their bit in the drive to halt pollution and global warming.Species extinctions are a huge threat. The impacts of industrial agriculture on the environment, public health, and rural communities make it an unsustainable way to grow our food over the long term. Scientists recognise that better science-based methods are available. At Freeranger Eggs, we believe the report validates the importance of our our proposed webinars to encourage the establishment of more freerange farms. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range egg farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved. The webinars will encourage hundreds more farms to be established.An eBook on starting a free range farm is also available through the Freeranger website. There isn't much time to reach the crowd funding target Of $8000 as the first webinar is scheduled for World ERgg Day, October 11. The webinars will be free and all participants will receive a copy of our eBook.The Crowd Funding appeal is at:https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c

Friday, May 03, 2019

SEO conmen

Anyone with a website is probably fed up with a barrage of emails from people claiming to be SEO experts(Search Engine Optimisation). We get at least four or five every week. One of the latest ones claimed they could get our site http://www.freeranger.com.au onto the first page of Google. They also said we should Canonicalize our IP address. I contacted our site host, Weebly, who said that was rubbish. The junk mailbox is pretty full!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Starting Your own free range farm

Clear consumer demand for genuine free range eggs has generated a strong increase in the number of people thinking about starting 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: www.freeranger.com.au . 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: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farm-management/business-management/permits/guidelines-for-rural-planning-applications. Once that is sorted, talk to your Council Environmental Health Department about any specific requirements they have before you get underway. We are planning to hold webinars to spread the word about freerange farming.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Eggs safe from salmonella enteritidis contamination

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has tracked the risks of food poisoning from Salmonella enteritidis in eggs.The lowest risk of illness is predicted when prevelence in a flock is 5% and storage times and temperatures are reduced. In this scenario, the calculated risk is 2 illnesses in 10 million servings. The highest risk is predicted when salmonella prevalence in a flock is 50% and storage times and temperatures are elevated. The findings show that consumers have little risk of illness if flock health is good, the hens are in clean conditions,eggs are stored at correct temperatures and consumed soon after being laid.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

No lights in our laying sheds

Our flocks of Isa Brown hens lead a natural lifestyle – as close as possible to the way of life of their ancestors - jungle fowl. Each flock size is less than 300 birds and every hens has unrestricted access to paddocks with pasture, shrubs and trees. This provides an ideal environment for foraging. The hens are never locked in sheds – not even at night. They are protected from predators by Maremma guardian dogs. Roost houses with nest boxes are provided for each flock with only natural light in the sheds. Most egg producers maximise egg numbers by installing artificial lights in sheds to trick the birds into maintaining their lay rate at times they should be moulting and resting. We prefer to let our hens follow their natural life rythms which means they stop laying once daylight hours are reduced.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Farmers and salmonella victims may consider legal action

Farmers and victims of salmonella contamination in eggs may follow the example of Dutch egg farmers in taking legal action for their losses. Some 124 poultry farmers and a farming lobby group are taking the Dutch state to court following the 2017 contaminated egg scandal, which led to millions of eggs and 3.5 million chickens being destroyed. The poultry farmers say the government’s food and product safety board was negligent in dealing with the 2017 fipronil crisis which resulted in hundreds of poultry farms being closed. The salmonella scare here is not as widespread, but it appears to have resulted from the direct actions of politicians in approving a dangerously high stocking density on free range farms, and inaction by Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other regulatory bodies in not preventing the standard.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Electric egg delivery van

Freeranger Eggs plans to be the first free range farm to use an electric delivery van. The move will enhance our environmentally sustainable business, Ace Electric vehicles is building its cargo van in Brisbane and Tesla is expected to introduce a small van soon. We currently use a Holden Combo for deliveries and it will be great to use an Australian-built vehicle to reduce our environmental footprint even further.The Cargo has a 500kg carrying capacity with a range of 150 -200kms on a charge.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Food poisoning from dodgy "freerange' eggs

A spike in food poisoning as a result of salmonella in eggs is hardly surprising given the intensive stocking densities approved for free range egg production in Australia. So far, politicians and bureaucrats have ignored implications for food safety. Animal health and land sustainability from such high densities. A laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. So with a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare farmers who follow the advice will see their land covered with 5000 cubic metres of manure per hectare every year. As chicken manure has high levels of nitrogen, 1.5%,phosphorus,0.5% and potassium 0.8%, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely. But the implications for consumers are also serious with a range of pathogens to which the laying hens are exposed by reckless high density production. Dangerous pathogens include Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and Campylobacter.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Australian Eggs holds crisis meetings over salmonella

Australian Eggs is desperately trying to restore some consumer confidence in the Egg industry after food poisoning issues from eggs contaminated with salmonella. In an email to members, Australian Eggs says “It is critically important that everyone is aware of the risks and takes the necessary precautions to protect their business and the industry's reputation. In addition to supporting the industry with resources, Australian Eggs is engaging with authorities to ensure any incident response is coordinated and has the benefit of industry input. Australian Eggs has coordinated a meeting next week between egg industry representative bodies and health and agriculture authorities in each state to ensure a productive engagement process can be developed." It’s a pity Australian Eggs allowed this problem to occur by conning politicians into approving a dangerous outdoor stocking density for laying hens. The previous code of practice limited stocking density on free range farms to 1500 hens per hectare but in a profit chase the industry demanded approval for 10,000 hens per hectare – a dangerous and unsustainable figure.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Egg industry agrees that high poultry stocking densities pose huge food poisoning risk for consumers

Major egg farmers in Australia recognise that the high outdoor 'freerange' stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare approved by politicians puts consumers at risk as well as threatening the health of hens. Victorian Farmers Federation egg group president Brian Ahmed  agrees with us that intensive farms should not be described as free range. He used the salmonella scare in Victoria which resulted in a national recall as the basis for saying “Free-range sounds good but it was never meant to be a mass-produced farming system. It was only ever meant to be on a small-scale level.” Mr Ahmed also said he was not surprised that there was an outbreak in the industry.“ We knew this was going to happen, it was a matter of when not if, because the more chickens we put on the ground and the more we run free-range, the higher the risk." At Freeranger Eggs we have always argued that free range is a niche market and requires low stocking densities. John O’Hara, managing Director of Sunny Queen - one of this county’s largest egg producers is on record saying that the maximum allowable outdoor stocking density for free range egg production should be 1500 hens per hectare. Mr O'Hara is a former board member of the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd.(now Australian Eggs).

Friday, March 22, 2019

Salmonella contamination caught some producers by surprise

The recent outbreak of salmonella enteritidis on a farm in Victoria, caught egg producers by surprise. This particular version of the food poisoning bacteria has not been endemic in Australia - until now. Other forms of salmonella contamination are a result of poor egg handling procedures.There are several ways that hens in laying flocks can be infected with Salmonella enteritidis. There is often a low level of infection at the start of the laying period which indicates that contamination from breeding stock is minor. It is not yet known how this contamination happened but laying flocks seem to become infected mainly from the farm environment including not properly cleaned and disinfected poultry houses and infected vermin present on the farm.Major egg producers operate as a grading floor and purchase eggs from many sources throughout Australia, so it can be hard to trace the origin of any contamination. Australian Eggs, the body which represents egg producers in the country is desperately trying to hose down food safety issues after the recent salmonella enteritidis scare. Managing Director Rowan McMonnies said, “We will continue to work with authorities to Avoid SE becoming endemic in Australia and protect our longstanding reputation as a producer of clean safe eggs.” The industry body is scrambling to resurrect the reputation of farmers after the damage caused by a string of intensive producers who labeled their eggs as free range and politicians protected them by approving an intensive 'free range' definition.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Farm back on line after NBN fiasco

The National Broadband Network fiasco keeps rolling on. Following three days of chaos after being connected to the NBN and VOIP, we are now back on line. We had to take our wireless router back to our ISP, DCSI in Warragul to be reconfigured - even though it was bought from them as NBN ready. Then we had to buy a wi fi USB adapter for the farm PC because the NBN unit was installed in a different room.It all seems to be sorted now - fingers crossed. With all the negative publicity about NBN we were not willing participants - but we were told that the old telephone and ADSL2 system would be cut off so we had no choice!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Full range of eggs available at the farm and outlets

A full range of eggs is available at the farm gate, and most sizes are stocked at our outlets, Macca's Farm, Glen Forbes, Grantville Pantry, Corinella Store, San Remo Butcher and Angels Health Foods Cowes.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Delayed response to fire emergency

The afterrmath of a bushfire is never pleasant but hopefully we will get some answers about the delay in responding to emergency calls for the Grantville fire, if an independent inquiry is conducted. Two police officers and three CFA incident controllers came to the farm today at the start of their investigation. The farm survived unscathed by the wildfire at Grantville on Friday. Anne rang 000 at 11.34 when she noticed a wisp of smoke in the bush at Glen Forbes. She was told that the fire had already been reported - so we assumed that fire crews would be on the scene within minutes. But no. Instead of dealing with a small scrub fire, it was allowed to rage unchecked while the local brigade tried to find a way to the fire even though they were fully aware that a fire track had been constructed for the purpose of accessing a fire within the Grantville Nature Conservation Reserve. The delayed action resulted in a major fire which required additional resources from other brigades, helicopters and water bombers. We expect a full investigation to determine the cause of the delayed response and changes to the system to prevent it happening again but there will probably be just q cursory review by a bureaucrat. More details and pictures are on the farm facebook page.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hot weather has not affected the hens 90% lay rate

With today's hot weather, 36 degrees C on the farm, the hens still managed an excellent lay rate of over 90%. The flocks don't spend much time in the sheds - preferring to stay out in the pasture and in the shade of trees and shrubs like kangaroo apples. But the sheds are designed with cross-flow ventilation which keeps them cool.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Things which affect the quality of egg shells

Many factors affect the quality of an egg shell prior to the egg being laid. The thickness of the shell is determined by diet plus the amount of time it spends in the shell gland plus the rate of calcium deposition during shell formation. If the egg spends little time in the shell gland, the shell will be thin. Also, the earlier in the day the egg is laid, the thicker the shell will be. Diseases like infectious bronchitis (IB), Newcastle disease (ND), avian influenza (AI) and egg drop syndrome (EDS) affect the shell quality. IB virus causes soft/rough shelled eggs, discolouration and wrinkling of the shell. EDS virus affects only the shell gland but with ND or IB, every portion of the reproductive tract can be affected. Poor housing and high ambient temperatures can also affect shell quality. Full details are on the Freeranger Club downloads page of our website.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Extra large eggs for farm gate sales

Despite a healthy level of production, the hens are barely able to keep up with demand for our eggs. We have an extra young flock but major demand at Macca's Farm, Glen Forbes, the Grantville Pantry and our usual outlets, Corinella Store, Angels Health Foods, Cowes and the San Remo Butcher ensures that our eggs don't hang around. They are delivered within hours of being laid. Farm gate sales are important to us and we may restrict sales of our extra large Megga packs (950g) to the farm gate.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Bass Coast Shire bungles again

Bass Coast Shire must be the most incompetent council in Victoria. Surely none can be worse? Every year we have paid an exorbitant business registration fee to the shire. Last month they sent a notice saying that the shire no longer had any role with the registration of egg farms. “All businesses that sell eggs now fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources”. They advised to disregard the registration notice which had been sent and a refund would be arranged if payment had already been made. This morning we received a text from the Shire demanding payment of the business registration fee! Councils, State and Federal Governments all go out of their way to make life hard for small business.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Webinars on setting up a free range farm

Everyone can help to set up local small farms and secure sustainable farming, providing access to local food,while combating climate change Every community should be able to buy food from farmers in their area rather than rely on produce trucked from warehouses across the country Free range webinar participation The first webinar on setting up a free range farm is scheduled for World Egg Day, Friday October 11. A crowd funding appeal has been established to ensure a top quality presentation for participants. Anne and Phil Westwood at Freeranger Eggs are encouraging people to set up more free range farms to help meet strong consumer demand for genuine free range eggs. They are receiving local and overseas enquiries about the suitability for different climates of an eBook and webinars being developed for egg production. The answer is Yes, the information in the webinars and the eBook is applicable virtually anywhere. The only significant differences are in local regulations and climatic conditions. Clearly extreme weather will require special attention – as will potential predators. It’s rather different protecting chickens from wolves, Grizzly bears, lions or tigers compared with protecting them from foxes or Tasmanian Devils. A growing number of people realise that all eggs on supermarket shelves are from intensive production systems – no matter what the labels say. Details about the eBook and a crowd funding appeal for the webinars can be found on the Freeranger Eggs website. www.freeranger.com.au Please share the crowd funding appeal which is at: https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

We sell out every week

We are packing the last of today's eggs for our main delivery day tomorrow. As usual, there won't be an egg left on the farm after the delivery run to Phillip Island. We sell out every week even when the terrorists (tourists) stay home. Our eggs really are laid to order. At this time of year - no matter how many hens we have, there are never enough eggs to meet demand. Up to Christmas we were able to supply another farm with two boxes of eggs (30 dozen) a week to help him meet his orders, but since Christmas we not only don't have any spare eggs, the shops and restaurants are asking for more - which we can't supply. It's never easy meeting demand at this time of year.