The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) is to conduct a study to look at ways to reduce wastage and improve income for producers by cutting the number of seconds.
There is a GBP0.60 (US$0.92) per dozen price differential between first and second quality eggs in the U.K., and it is estimated that a reduction in seconds of one percent alone could improve egg farmers’ income by 15 percent per bird.
BFREPA has commissioned agricultural consultancy ADAS to conduct the work, which will involve studying possible causes of seconds in the production unit, in transit and also in the packing center to which eggs are sent.
“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 to see whether we can reduce them.”
As far as producers are concerned, the researchers will visit farms when the layers are 35 weeks old to look at the systems being used, the equipment on the unit and how the unit is being managed. They will conduct test gradings, and suggest ways in which practices can be improved to reduce the level of seconds. They will then return four weeks after the initial assessment to see whether the suggested changes have made any difference on the farm.