Saturday, December 28, 2019

Risk of Infectious Bursal Disease

Deadly Infectious Bursal Disease Virus has been detected at two egg farms in New Zealand, which will threaten Australian farms if it reaches here. The virus is highly contagious and spreads quickly though flocks kept in high densities, but Clinical disease is associated with bird age and mainly affects young hens 3 – 6 weeks old so the pullet rearing sector of the industry is at risk. Chickens that are immunosuppressed by early IBD infections do not respond well to vaccination and are more susceptible to other diseases. Strict biosecurity needs to be practiced, including not allowing anyone on farm who has recently visited New Zealand.

Fine for not stamping eggs

Consumers are being put at risk by some egg producers who ignore regulations covering food safety, labelling and egg stamping. Many still do not stamp their eggs, and even more mislabel cartons. Most get away with deceiving consumers because enforcement is almost non-existent. Occasionally there s a prosecution. The latest involves an egg producer in Western Victoria. A Heywood egg producer has been fined $2,500 for selling unstamped eggs at local south-west supermarkets and from a farm-gate stall. It is a legal requirement that egg producers only sell eggs that are individually marked with the producers’ unique identification code. Some producers take advantage of slack enforcement and loopholes in the regulations. Agriculture Victoria authorised officers detected unstamped eggs at multiple retailers and from the farm-gate stall between December 2018 and March 2019. A Department spokesperson said “With recent Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria, it is a reminder of the importance of food safety and the need to trace food products efficiently and effectively.”

Friday, December 20, 2019

Low stocking density is essential for sustainable land management

Drought is just one of the ongoing hazards faced by farmers. It affects farms of all types – poultry, sheep, cattle or any livestock. We chose to limit the problems we could face by not overstocking and allowing pasture to regenerate naturally. We run chickens for egg production as well as some sheep and we encourage others to set up their own freerange egg businesses. It works well as long as numbers are limited. We run about 1000 hens on our 80 hectare farm. The income pays all the bills and puts food on the table although there’s nothing left over for holidays or buying a new car every couple of years.

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 as a result of drought conditions throughout Australia. Rising costs and falling sales are likely to send some big producers broke as they rely on sales to supermarkets who set their own benchmark prices to maximise returns for their businesses. Genuine free range farmers with low stocking densities should fare better as they usually sell direct to customers and set their own prices.Also, hens able to range freely obtain around half their feed from the paddocks where they roam.

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.