Wayne Farms LLC, one of the top-six poultry producers in the United States, has chosen SmartPro NF incubators from NatureForm and Pas Reform for its hatchery upgrade project in Decatur, north Alabama.

With its headquarters in Oakwood, Georgia, Wayne Farms is also amongst the world’s 10 largest producers. Established in 1965, the company has evolved significantly from its origins as a spin off from the Continental Grain Company. Today it employs 9,000 staff and has a production capacity of close to 15 million broilers a week and annual sales of poultry products worth US$2.2 billion.

The Decatur project is the first in a planned company-wide overhaul of its 10 hatcheries to install state-of-the-art equipment, which is expected to take five years to complete. Renovation will include 23 SmartPro NF 18-54 setters and 12 SmarthatchPro NF 6 hatchers, to bring total weekly capacity up to 684,288 hatching eggs. The installation will also include Pas Reform’s SmartCenterPro™ hatchery management system, which will seamlessly connect incubation, climate control and hatchery automation systems and capture data from every layer of hatchery operations.

Wayne Farms has a strategic focus on RWA (raised without antibiotics) production and the latest GAP2 animal welfare standards. This has triggered a complete shift towards single stage incubation, which results in a much shorter hatch window and lower first-week mortalities. Innovative, post-hatch feeding practices are also under consideration for the hatchery upgrades.

Wayne Farms believes in upholding a set of rigorous standards to deliver exceptional products for some of the largest branded food companies across America, assuring strict product quality and food safety from the farm to the kitchen. This is thanks to a completely vertically integrated process, which gives control over every step of the process and provides a level of traceability and accountability unparalleled by the majority of food production.

Wayne Farms’ decision to invest in the SmartPro NF product line at Decatur followed rigorous, year-long comparative testing across the entire range of competitor single stage incubation systems. At the end of these side-by-side comparisons, SmartPro™ NF ultimately emerged victorious. Superior hatchability versus the competition and overall improved results versus the existing multi stage equipment justified the renovation investment.

Randy Caudill, Live Production Manager for Wayne Farms’ north Alabama operations says: “Not only were the results of the side by side tests better with NatureForm and Pas Reform, we also found that the NatureForm team was highly engaged with us throughout the entire process. They were always present at the trial hatches, assisting and verifying, working side-by-side with Decatur staff.”

Steve Warren, President at NatureForm Hatchery Technologies, comments: “We are very glad to see such an important company as Wayne Farms starting to overhaul its hatcheries with us. Our team of combined Dutch and American specialists has been instrumental in working with the client together.

“We are now looking towards further strategic collaboration with Wayne Farms in post-hatch feeding and a further overhaul of its hatchery operations.”

The entire Decatur project will be delivered and installed over the summer of 2018 and will produce its first day old chicks in September 2018.