Scottish egg producer, James Baxter, will set out the bleak reality of dealing with a bird flu infection to farmers attending Europe’s largest free range egg show in November.
Baxter, who farms near Stranraer and is also the chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), will speak publicly for the first time about losing almost 200,000 hens to a mandatory cull following a positive test in January.
He has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at BFREPA Live 23, which will be held on Wednesday 15 November at the Telford International Centre.
Baxter’s talk will cover his experience of avian influenza, from losing an entire flock, to how he sees his business recovering, as well as the lessons learnt.
This year’s BFREPA Live event will see a number of other talks and discussions throughout the day, including a panel on AI vaccination, hosted by BFREPA chief executive Robert Gooch with APHA’s Gordon Hickman, Dave Hodson from Rosehill Poultry, and Crowshall’s vet Ian Lowery joining as panellists. A debate will be held on whether there should be a Great Britain-wide vaccination programme, the pros and cons of having one, and how it might work if it became a reality.
Later in the day there will be series of technical presentations. AD Harvey’s Oliver Harvey will give technical and practical advice on preparing for end of lay, while Premier Nutrition’s Ralph Bishop will be talking about nutritional strategies for extending the laying cycle. Charles Macleod, from St David’s vets will be debating if water is an unavoidable necessity or a vital nutrient for free range flocks.
The day will conclude with a 4.30pm talk held by Nick Bailey from Joice & Hill, who will be covering the latest in genetics, the latest breeding developments, and the benefits of breeding white hens.
“BFREPA Live’s speakers will offer an insight from all aspects of the free range egg sector, from the producer in the shed, to the officials making decisions on behalf of the whole industry,” said Kate Dickinson, BFREPA Events Manager. “We believe that we’ve struck a great balance between the two, and that those in attendance will learn something valuable to take back to their farms.”
BFREPA Live 23 has been reformatted into a one-day show featuring a sold-out exhibition and the Free Range Awards dinner taking place on the same evening. The awards dinner, which will be hosted by comedian Al Murray, will have a record number of attendees, with over 600 people already booked to attend the evening.
Tickets on sale at www.brefra.co.uk and are open to anyone with an interest in egg production.