The British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association (Bfrepa) has launched a study intended to reduce the number of “seconds” in the egg supply chain, and so improve producer margins.
With a 60p/doz price differential between first- and second-quality eggs, it is estimated that a reduction in seconds of just 1% could improve income by 15p/bird.
The work, being carried out by Adas, will assess the possible causes of seconds from layer farm to packing centre.
“The co-operation of the packers will be needed so that Adas can follow the egg all the way from the hen to the box,” said Robert Gooch, director of policy with Bfrepa. “It will be interesting to see where breakages occur and whether we can reduce them.”
Bfrepa is calling for free-range egg producers to take part in the study, ideally in the Shropshire/Welsh borders area.
“The researchers will aim to go on farm when the layers are 35 weeks old and look at the systems being used, the equipment on the unit and how the unit is being managed,” said a statement.
“The researchers will do test gradings and suggest ways in which practices can be improved to reduce the level of seconds. They will return four weeks after an initial assessment to see whether the suggested changes have made any difference to results on the farm.”
Funding for the study, which is expected to take five months, will be provided by sponsors, including Noble Foods, Stonegate, L J Fairburn, Newquip, Potters, Hy-Line, Joice & Hill, Humphrey Feeds & Pullets, Country Fresh Pullets, Bumble Hole Foods, Oaklands, Chippindale Foods, Farmlay and Vencomatic.