NSW Farmers Association Poultry Field Day 2011

On Wednesday 14 September, the NSW Farmers Association held its annual Poultry Field Day at Sydney Showground’s Howie Complex. Chief Executive Officer of the Poultry CRC, Professor Mingan Choct, joined Education Manager, Liz Roan, and Communication Officer, Mick Warner, at the event to promote the CRC’s research and education activities and resulting services to the Australian poultry industry.

The event was well attended by poultry meat and egg producers from across the nation. Workshops conducted throughout the day covered updates to Workplace Health and Safety, Ventilation, Energy Efficiency, Food Safety/Quality Assurance and Environmental Management. The day was also a chance to garner information on products and services from the many suppliers and distributors on-site.

CRC staff spoke to a number of people new to the industry, and with many of these enquiries relating to education and/or training opportunities it provided an excellent platform to promote our recently developed Commercial Meat Chicken Management series of books. Surrounded by a wealth of experienced industry representatives, including many participant organisations in the CRC, the CRC staff also directed enquiries to relevant experts. The CRC staff also took the opportunity to promote Bioproperties recently released Vaxsafe™ PM. Developed in conjunction with the Poultry CRC, this vaccine controls fowl cholera in chickens due to infection with virulent homologous or heterologous strains of Pasteurella multocida.

Poultry Field Day at Howie Complex

A hot topic discussed among many attendees’ across the day was the mid-September release of Australian Egg Corporation Ltd’s Draft Egg Standards of Australia. The Australian Egg Corporation Ltd is attempting to give consumers a ‘line in the sand’ that acts as a minimum benchmark that egg farmers must meet in commercial production (i.e., backed by legislation). Much of the debate surrounding this release has been the proposed stocking density of up to 2 birds per square metre (20,000 per hectare) for producers being able to claim free-range in product marketing (see AECL Media Release). Organisations such as CHOICE have challenged this in the face of other, existing standards ranging from 75- to 2500 birds per hectare (see RSPCA’s Approved Farming SchemeFree Range Egg and Poultry Association Inc. and Primary Industries Standing Committee’s Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals). With all this attention of late; hopefully this healthy debate will aid development of measured standards in the near future, allowing clear understanding for both producers and consumers alike.

Poultry Field Day attendees

Events of this nature reinforces the value of meeting people face-to-face. The opportunity to ask a few quick questions, or to exchange views and ideas is extremely valuable in this context. Thanks must go to the NSW Farmers Association for a worthwhile and well organised event.

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