By Matt Donald, pig & poultry farmer, north Yorkshire
We have a new flock of breeders in and once they are settled it is always a relatively easy few weeks between 19 and 22 weeks until egg production starts to kick in. In this time, I was fortunate enough in May to find a couple of days to head over to the Netherlands with my brother to visit Vencomatic. It was great to look round their campus and discuss egg handling.
Following recent appraisals of all our team members, it is clear anything to save some time on weekends or to make the daily task of handling eggs simpler, will be appreciated. We are looking to build another breeder unit and in doing so we want to implement as much technology as possible that will save time when it comes to grading, handling and packing eggs.
They have numerous products now on the market for controlling belts and determining where in the sheds batches of eggs were laid, this would mean faster location of any issues that occur and damage eggs. After all, with fertile hatching eggs the only thing we can do once it is laid, is damage it, therefore attention to detail from nest to incubation is essential.
Although we operate automated packing and weight grading of the eggs we still select out the cracked and dirty ones manually, we viewed the Meggsius Select which automates this task. This is something we need to look further into and see if we can make it fit into our system as well as get a good return on investment.
The poultry industry will always need highly skilled members of staff, but with constant new technology, then we can not only make tasks more efficient, but also the working environment more appealing. For some businesses a gentle transition may not be a bad thing, as those with years’ worth of poultry experience are not always in favour of changes, especially where computers are involved.