Sunday, October 02, 2022

Government 'Time thieves' at it again

 

so-called Daylight saving (Eastern Summer Time)  started today. Hard to believe that anyone thinks it's a good idea. Time marches on at the same pace whatever governments decree! Politicians just like to delude themselves and bully all of us. They are a waste of space.

The concept of daylight saving has been controversial since its inception. Winston Churchill suggested that it enlarged "the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among millions of people." Retailers, sports, and tourist businesses have historically favoured it while farmers and some religious groups have always opposed it.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Sand extraction threat to our region and our farm because of bureaucratic inaction

 

Pious declarations about action over climate change would ring more true if action was taken where it matters – such as keeping trees alive and retaining native vegetation. When we bought our property at Grantville, we quickly realised the importance of the native vegetation on the site which provided the only vegetated link between the Bass River and the Grantville Nature Conservation Reserve. We chose to opperate as a free range egg farm rather than clear all the land to graze sheep or cattle. Now our property and its resident wildlife faces the threat of the wholesale removal of vegetation on adjoining land to prepare for a massive sand extraction industry.

Bass Coast Shire supports the clearing and subsequent contamination of the Bass River and adjoining land. Its Planning Department claims “The Native vegetation removal by Barro Group was exempt from the need of a planning permit. It was undertaken for fire prevention purposes and an exemption under the Planning Scheme is afforded to them to have undertaken these works.” However, the Shire has failed to specify what the fire control measures were supposed to protect and why clearing on the river was not referred to Melbourne Water as required by legislation. The importance of the vegetation as a wildlife corridor was identified in the Regional Sand Extraction Strategy, Lang Lang to Grantille. This defined a clear biolink – all the Shire needed to do was implement (and enforce)the Sand Extraction Strategy from 1995.No one at Landcare or in the CFA has the skills required to match the work undertaken by those who developed and mapped the plan of the vegetation and wildlife corridor. Led by consultants AGC Woodward Clyde, they included Biosis Research, Andrew Paget of Ausbotany Marcus Marsden and Nicolas Day as well as countless hours put in by members of Friends of Bass Valley Bush Landcare Group.Trashing habitat in the Bass Valley demonstrates the low priority given to ecological issues. Bass Coast Shire has failed to enforce permit conditions.If the Council was serious, it would cancel the Barro Group planning permit. The importance of the area has been recognised for years, including The 1970’s Westernport Environmental Study conducted by Professor Maurice Shapiro and the 1990’s Baseline Studies of Bass River conducted by Friends of Bass Valley Bush Landcare Group for the Natural Heritage Trust in addition to the Regional Sand Extraction Strategy, Lang to Grantville.More than 375 types of native vegetation have been documented here with over 140 bird species, 17 mammal/marsupials and 22 types of reptiles.





Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Washing eggs makes them more dangerous

 

We still get questions from customers about washing eggs and if eggs should be stored in a refrigerator The answer to both is NO!

American egg farms wash eggs before sending them to market, in the mistaken belief that will minimize the spread of any salmonella bacteria on the outside of the egg. They ignore the fact that washing removes a cuticle from the surface of the egg- a natural barrier which keeps the inside of the egg free from bacteria. After washing, eggs must then be refrigerated so that any bacteria on the eggs  don't have a chance to invade the egg. In Australia and many other countries, eggs are not washed as a matter of course which means that the cuticle keeps the egg’s interiors safe from any bacterial invasion for at least a couple of weeks without refrigeration, however eggs are best kept cool rather than in a warm kitchen. Washing eggs generates more potential health problems. If eggs are so dirty that they need to be washed before sale, the producer has a flock management problem which  needs to be rectified. Nest boxes and laying sheds must be kept clean with hens on fresh pasture (rather than on mud or manure). Check out our website and read our handy eBook on setting up a freerange farm. In general,the only eggs washed automatically are from major producers who sell through stupidmarkets.



Friday, September 02, 2022

World Egg Day October 14

 World Egg Day is here again, October 14. Check some one-pan recipes here


Freeranger Eggs is still only able to supply our local,regular customers. A combination of  Government restrictions over the Covid pandemic and fox attacks has limited our production.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Egg shortage in some supermarkets

 

Shortages of eggs labelled as ‘free range’ have been reported in some supermarkets.

The seasonal reduction in daylight hours plus Government imposed disruptions in response to Covid19 infections are blamed for contributing to supply chain issues .


A spokesman for Woolworths said that reduced production on a number of farms had affected the supply of eggs in some regions.  Reduced daylight hours have no impact on egg production in caged flocks where lighting in sheds is always consistent. That shouldn't be a big deal as almost all eggs in supermarkets are from intensive facilities with many thousands of hens in climate-controlled sheds including permanent lighting.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Food safety videos for egg producers

 Agriculture Victoria has developed online videos covering the Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Products., to support food safety . The rules apply to anyone who sells eggs -but are usually ignored by backyarders who claim to be exempt even though some sell many eggs each week.


Each video outlines a specific section of the Egg Standard to assist producers and staff to better understand their obligations.

Ten new videos are recorded in both English and Mandarin and are available to watch on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Eagles and land clearing

 Ptotecting a flock from predators is a major issue on free range farms – which is one reason many egg producers keep hens locked in sheds.


Maremma guardian dogs are a great help against foxes but not so good against wedgetail eagles which can swoop in before the dogs see them. Thankfully eagle attacks are not common but it's still sad to see  a pile of feathers at the point of contact. The Victorian Government and Bass Coast Shire Council may solve the problem with their drive to exterminate local wildlife by failing to enforce planning permits and allowing the destruction of vast areas of native vegetation.

Monday, July 04, 2022

Trading eggs for side of pork

 We’ve just packed a side of pork in a freezer to supplement the lamb we grow on farm. Anne exchanged some of our eggs for 41 kg of pork from a neighbouring farm/butchery. Great roasts chops and sausages.


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Vitamin D in eggs

 Almost a quarter of all Australian adults live with a mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency. This increases in the winter to about one third of the population. Research at Deakin University shows that a serving of eggs contains 82% of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin D as well as other vitamins and nutrients. Eating at least one egg each day can help lessen the large drop in vitamin D levels that commonly occurs during months of lower sunlight.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Alternative feed may cut emissions

 Greenhouse Gas emissions on poultry farms are largely a result of feed production, with the manufacture, handling and transportation of feed equating to about 70% of the sector’s carbon footprint, according to UK researchers.

Research into a number of carbon-cutting solutions was carried out by a group of scientists for The Centre of Innovation and Excellence in Livestock.

Feed was a key focus area for reducing poultry emissions, there was evidence showing that getting the protein source wrong can lead to more infighting within the flock, which then impacts meat or egg production.

Replacing soy meal with rape meal, sunflower meal, lupins, triticale and even insect protein can help to reduce emissions. In theory, using alternative protein sources has the potential to make a huge difference on the carbon footprint front, but it is important to ensure they stack up economically too. Targeted changes in feed indicated a potential reduction in emissions of 60%. Farms utilising good pasture management have far less emissions than intensive production facilities.


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Egg imports on horizon?

 Egg industry lobby group, Egg Farmers of Australia says that consumers will need to pay more “if they want their food. Such as eggs, to be grown in Australia."


Retail giants claim that axing the caged egg sector is what consumers want. However, if you visit a major supermarket, take a good look in the egg shelves. The shelf with caged eggs (the cheapest of all eggs to produce) is usually the emptiest. This is because cheap eggs are what many families want.

EFA executive officer, Melinda Hashimoto said that unless higher prices are paid, rising costs will put Australian egg farmers out of business. The costs include feed. The price of replacement pullets, packaging. Government regulations and levies. Genuine free-range farms don’t sell through supermarkets, so although we also have similar cost pressures, we have better control over our marketing.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Every day is Earth Day on the farn

 Yesterday was Earth Day, an annual event   to demonstrate support for protecting the environment. It was first held in 1970 and includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org.



Here at Freeranger Eggs, we treat every day as Earth Day and run the farm in a fully sustainable manner. Check out our website: www.freeranger.com.au





Monday, April 18, 2022

Bacon egg and kale pizza

 

Mix water, sugar and yeast together in a small bowl. Set aside to activate for 5 minutes or until foamy.

Place flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the foamy yeast mixture and the oil. Process to combine, then knead the dough before placing in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Briefly knead the dough then divide into 4 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a thin circle or oval and transfer to lightly oiled baking trays; cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 225°C.

Arrange bacon in rings on the bases and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and break an egg into the centre of each pizza (the bacon should form an edge to hold the eggs in place). Bake for 8 minutes.

Scatter with kale and bake for 2-3 minutes more until the eggs are cooked and the crust is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.


Welcome rain

 

Steady rain overnight continues this morning (30mm) and looks like it will keep going for most of the day. It will be a great opportunity for indoor activities like baking and jam making.


The rain is great for pasture growth and the veggie garden. An added benefit is that it has improved air quality by eliminating smoke from the mindless planned burns by the CFA and the State Government’s Forest Fire Management team of pyromaniacs.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Avian influenza causes havoc

 At least 5% of egg laying hens in the United States are reported to be infected with avian influenza; The infection, which affects hens in 29 states is cutting production and will result in increased mortality.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Egg traceability webinar

 

Following reports of large-scale deception by some egg businesses, Australian Eggs is hosting a webinar at 11.30am on Tuesday 14 June to launch its new egg industry traceability tool. All egg farmers are invited to take part to learn more about the tool and how it can be implemented on farm. Many free-range egg producers warned some years ago that egg stamping, and labelling requirements imposed by politicians were inadequate to meet customer expectations and the requirements of consumer law.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

We all need to tackle Climate Change

 The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrates the importance of the farming techniques and lifestyle choices we have undertaken at Freeranger Eggs


the report concentrates primarily on mitigation or reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  the world’s leading climate scientists identify pathways to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C, it says that we can’t just leave the issues for Governments to solve – we all must play our part in reducing our impact on the natural environment

Check our website to see many of the steps we have taken, www.freeranger.com.au

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Big producers keep expanding

 The US financial analytical and data business, Bloomberg, says that consolidation in the egg industry is driving small farmers out of business.

Deadly avian influenza is spreading across the U.S. and is hitting commercial egg farms, forcing farmers to kill millions of hens. Feeding the birds is also costly, with grain prices high, partly due to supply chain shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result, ​​​​​the U.S. industry is  shifting to producing mostly cage-free eggs


Economies of scale mean that the higher costs have little effect on major corporate producers such as Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. producer, which has 20% of the market. It’s been buying smaller operators in recent years. The company is spending $82 million on acquisitions to increase its cage-free operations. Similar cost pressures are being experienced here and the big corporates are planning major expansions – particularly as politicians  trashed labeling standards, allowing intensive production to be described as 'free range'.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Hard to find genuine free range eggs

 Check out our website www.freeranger.com.au to see why our eggs are so tasty and why the farm has a carbon-neutral footprint. Freeranger Eggs is one of only a handful of real free-range poultry farms in Australia. Genuine free-range eggs will never be found in a major supermarket. Labels are meaningless on eggs in stupidmarkets.




Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Making hot cross buns

 



Combine a cup of water and a cup of milk in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat until about 100 degrees F Remove from heat and after cooling, sprinkle 2tsp dried yeast and 1tsp sugar and a pinch of flour over the surface of the liquid. Set aside without stirring, until foamy and rising up the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Whisk 6 cups of flour, ½ cup of sugar, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½tsp cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon to make a thick, shaggy, and slightly sticky dough. Stir in 1 cup currants. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 8 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter. Put dough in bowl, turning to coat lightly with butter. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour 30 minutes. To form the rolls: Butter a 9 by 14-inch baking pan. Turn the dough out of the bowl and pat into a rectangle about 16 by 8 inches. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, about 2 ounces each.

 place them in the prepared pan, leaving a little space in between each roll. Cover the pan with buttered plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the rolls have more than doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg. Bake rolls at 375 until golden brown and puffy, about 25 mins. For the glaze: Stir together icing sugar, milk, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth. Transfer icing to a zip-lock bag or pastry bag and make a small cut in the corner of the bag. Ice buns with a thick cross on the warm buns.





Sunday, March 20, 2022

Farmers don't need daylight saving

 Despite all the chaos in modern life caused by bureaucratic bungling, having less income than needed, inadequate health services etc politicians are now spending time discussing the extension of daylight saving so we don’t have the inconvenience of adjusting our clocks twice a year. Politicians really have a fixation with population control rather than letting people get on with their lives. Now they want to expand their roles as time thieves.


The answer is very simple – scrap daylight saving and maintain uniform time throughout the year. If people want more daylight at the end of their working day, Start work earlier, instead of working 9 to 5. work from 8am to 4pm - problem solved. Our hens don't need watches to tell them when to start laying eggs. Activity on the farm is dictated by the natural cycles of daylight and seasons – not by the arbitrary decisions of inept politicians and fat-cat bureaucrats. The lost hour of morning light makes it difficult for farmers to get crops to market and livestock adjusted to changes in schedules.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Grain prices will push up farm costs

 Increasing world grain prices following retaliation by Russia against western sanctions will almost certainly add to living costs in many countries. It will force up the price of many foods including eggs and meat. Egg prices are already rising in some states because local weather conditions hit grain yields.


Russia’s action banning wheat, rye, barley and maize exports to Eurasian countries is currently in place until June 30. It is the latest consequence of restrictions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine.The invasion is devastating Ukraine's cities – and also its rural areas and industries, Cuts in food production will have impacts throughout Europe and further afield. One of Ukraine’s largest agricultural companies, Ukr Land Farming, said several company managers had been killed in northern Ukraine, and in Kyiv. Ukr Land Farming has lost at least 120,000 hectares (297,000 acres) of land as a result of the Russian invasion. It has been forced to shut three egg farms including Europe’s largest, the Chornobaivka factory where, the company says 3.1 million laying hens are dying.

summer crops such as corn could be severely affected with only about half the normal area planted because of the fighting.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Egg snacks for Labour Day Holiday

 There are many simple egg dishes which can be served as snacks on the Labour Day holiday. Pancakes with various toppings can be a good start.

How about Chinese Egg Tarts. Using shortcrust or puff pastry, cut the pastry to fit into each mold. Fill the tart bases with beaten eggs and a little butter.

Bake at 200 degrees C for 15 minutes, then 10 minutes at180 degrees C.


Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Hens locked up in UK

 Free-range eggs could soon start disappearing from supermarket shelves in the UK because of restrictions imposed last November to stop the spread of avian influenzaFarmers say the move could ruin them.

Bird flu restrictions were strengthened on November 29, when a housing order was brought in. Since then, farmers have been required to keep their birds indoors.

If the housing order remains in place after March 21, it will mean birds have been kept inside for more than 16 weeks, preventing their eggs from being sold as free-range.


Unless restrictions are lifted, free range egg producers will need to add stickers to their packaging explaining why the eggs are now classed as barn eggs.

Jane Howorth from the British Hen Welfare Trust said: "Although it might seem a little contrary to be buying a free-range egg from a hen that hasn't been free-ranging, it's all the more important that we do still support those British free-range farmers that have invested in that system. It's the best welfare for the birds. Keep buying those eggs because soon, in a few weeks' time, hopefully the migration season will have gone and it will all be back outside again, hens having a nice time scratching around," she added. If such restrictions were imposed here, genuine free-range producers would be decimated but there would be little impact on eggs in supermarkets because all eggs sold there are from intensive farms, even those labelled 'free-range'.




Sunday, March 06, 2022

Chickens happy after rain

 

Our Isa Browns are really enjoying themselves following the last couple days of rain which laid the dust and made it easy to scratch for worms.




Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Internet and phone service failed here today

 The farm NBN service wasn't working all day today, so we had no internet or phone. Thankfully it's working now, which is not as bad as the last time when we also lost power as a result of storm damage and spent many days without communication.

Unreliable telecommunications services following the construction of the National Broadband Network and the forced removal of landline telephones are a threat to Australia’s economy as well as lives. Not only is the whole system vulnerable to deliberate cyber attacks, it is often crashed by technical and weather-related issues. When the internet is down, home and business telephones as well as computer services and electronic payment systems stop working. It is understandable for major outages to happen during catastrophic storms or bushfires but even occasional fixed wireless maintenance work on a tower many miles away shuts down all communications here in Grantville and Glen Forbes. Lives are at risk when an emergency arises during a communications failure. Perhaps the Government feels secure in the knowledge that even when phone and internet work, emergency services are unable to find us because bureaucrats changed the physical address of our property from Grantville to Glen Forbes even though there is no access to us from Glen Forbes.



Sunday, February 27, 2022

National Pancake Day

 

Pancake Day is celebrated on March 1 this year (Tuesday). A thin flat cake prepared with a batter made with eggs, milk flour, and oil or butter, the pancake and its variations are found in almost every culture.

this batter breakfast staple dates back more than 30,000 years and may be the oldest breakfast food.  With toppings, you can make it sweet or savoury.



Sunday, February 06, 2022

Only a matter of time before we have avian influenza here again

 It will be only a matter of time before we have another round of Avian Influenza in Australia once residents return home from overseas and tourists are allowed in. Waves of avian influenza in China,  other Asian countries,the US, the UK and Europe have a greater risk of spreading to humans because of a high number of variants, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has said. The Director General Monique Eliot announced that “the situation is more difficult and more risky because we see more variants emerge, which make them harder to follow."

"Eventually the risk is that it mutates or that it mixes with a human flu virus that can be transmitted between humans then suddenly it takes on a new dimension, "she added.


More than 15 countries have current infections.The last avian influenza outbreak here, in 2020 disrupted the industry because of the widespread practice of moving eggs and staff between corporate egg businesses. There were nseven previous outbreaks between 1076 and 1997. As we have advised previously Factory farms have been incubating the next outbreak of Avian Influenza in this country since Ministers approved an intensive stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare. They put the entire Australian egg industry at risk. Such high densities allow any disease outbreak to spread rapidly. One gram of droppings from a chicken infected with bird flu contains enough viruses to infect the entire flock.It also promotes the spread of other problems, such as salmonella.

Of the current 1,568 human infections with avian influenza A(H7N9), 33 have reported mutations in a gene indicating a change to high pathogenicity in poultry. These 33 cases were from Taiwan, China and  Mongolia.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

welcome rain at the farm

 

With 10mm of rain overnight and so far today, the farm is looking good and the chickens, sheep and other animals are grazing happily. The sheep have done well and a few went off to market this week. Egg production is excellent although it's never enough to keep up with demand.    we only have enough eggs to supply regular customers which means we have to say "No" to people who rock up wanting eggs for themselves, their shop or restaurant.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Australia Day egg specials

 While lamb is regarded as traditional fare on Australia Day, eggs can also feature. How about starting the day with pancakes or muffins!


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

 Pancakes are great for breakfast anytime. Just about anything can be added to vary the taste. Lemon and honey or maple syrup is an option. Berries and cream is another With Shrove Tuesday approaching, here’s a simple recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup flour

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (leave out for savoury pancakes)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 eggs beaten

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or a knob of butter