Equipment
Conventional cage laying barns have always been dusty, notes Harry Huffman, an agricultural engineer based in London, Ont. “Thus, I would assume the new floor and aviary style of housing systems will continue to be dusty as well.” Huffman notes that the more important ventilation design parameters in a layer barn hinge around the number and size of birds being housed, and how airflow should occur through the airspace to accommodate the building specs.
Published in Eggs - Layers
Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. recently announced the AgriPump Rebate Program, the first program of its kind in Ontario to offer instant rebates to customers who purchase a high-efficiency pump kit.

The program is ideal for all farming applications, including livestock, greenhouse and vineyards. Upgrading to a high-efficiency pump will improve performance and could save customers up to 40 per cent of their system's energy costs.

"This energy conservation program is focused on helping our agricultural customers manage their electricity and water usage all while saving money," said Cindy-Lynn Steele, vice president, Market Solutions, Hydro One. "As Ontario's largest electricity provider to farming customers, we are committed to offering a variety of energy solutions to help them save on electricity and invest in programs that will meet their important needs while delivering a positive return to their bottom line."

"This collaborative approach with IESO and Hydro One allowed us to be very innovative with this new program," says Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. CEO and president Brian Wilkie. "We're happy to be able to cater to the agricultural sector and provide this instant rebate program on high efficiency pump sets with advanced control technology."

"Water conservation and high energy costs are a big concern for farmers in the Niagara region and across the province," said Drew Spoelstra, director for Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara North and Niagara South, Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "The Save on Energy Conservation Program and this type of cross-utility initiative to launch the AgriPump Rebate Program is great for agriculture."

To be eligible for a rebate under the program, each kit must be between 0.5 hp and 10 hp and must comprise of a pump, motor, variable frequency drive and accessories. Customers can receive up to $610 per constant pressure pump kit. The pumps are quick and easy to install and guard against wear and tear.

The AgriPump Rebate Program is only available to agriculture customers in Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) service territories. The instant rebate is fulfilled at the point of purchase.

To learn more and participate in the AgriPump Rebate program, visit: www.agripump.ca
Published in News
After a soft launch in late 2017, Marketplace-E is being introduced by Ritchie Bros. as its latest buying and selling solution.

Complementing the company's onsite unreserved auctions and online-only auctions through IronPlanet, Marketplace-E offers sellers increased control over price, location, and timing, while providing buyers access to more equipment available to purchase right away.

"With the launch of Marketplace-E we can now serve customers as a true one-stop shop, with a complete suite of selling solutions to meet every need," said Ravi Saligram, CEO of Ritchie Bros. "We have many customers who, for a variety of reasons, need more control over the selling price and process of their assets. With Marketplace-E they will get the control they need while still benefiting from Ritchie Bros.' marketing and expansive global buyer network."

Ravi continued, "Marketplace-E will also open up new customer opportunities for Ritchie Bros. In our quest to lead the industry in innovation; we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the asset disposition experience. Developing a sleek, user-friendly digital platform expands the options available to OEMs, dealers, brokers and end users."

How Marketplace-E works – three selling options:
  • Make Offer: List equipment online and let potential buyers submit offers, then negotiate with potential buyers to reach an agreement.
  • Buy Now: List equipment online at a fixed, buy-it-now price; like a basic ecommerce transaction. Once the item is purchased, the listing is closed.
  • Reserve Price: An online listing with a minimum/reserve price. The item will not sell until the reserve is met. The seller minimum is protected, but the potential highest selling price is not capped.
The selling process is also aided by an inside sales team dedicated to facilitating offline negotiations between interested buyers and sellers.

For more information about Marketplace-E, visit: ironplanet.com/Marketplace-E.
Published in News
At end of February, we had just surpassed what proved to be a big stumbling block and holdup for us...the big pour of the concrete floor.

After letting the concrete floor cure for almost a week, the pads were poured.

We decided to put cement pads under each row of hen housing and these were one-and-a-half inches in depth on the edges and two inches in the middle. This is to make it easier when the barn is cleaned each year so that the water runs away from under the housing. Also, floor drains were put in place on the far end of the barn.

A few days of curing occurred for the pads, and we were eager to get the construction of the Farmer Automatic Enriched Housing started.



We had a couple different work stations—constructing frames, assembling plastic housing doors, and all of the webbing inside the frames was put together.

We have lead man, Dennis and another employee, Josh from Clark Ag Systems.

Nick has been the general contractor for the building of the barn and has good knowledge of the conventional housing that is in our present barn. He has been an asset with his experience. We also have the rest of the family to help when available and some other workers.

The construction of the housing is a huge job and there are many layers to the process. Frames are constructed and assembled with vertical braces that end up being the skeleton of the row. The dividers between each colony are put place and the floor clips and perch holders.

The wires for the cage doors, middle divider, and thicker cage floor support wire are fitted out next. Our nephew Jason was wired for these tasks. We decided to use stainless steel wire instead of the galvanized that was supplied, as Nick found that this was a weak area in our present conventional housing.

The cage floors, white PVC perches, white PVC waterlines, water cups, re-plastic scratch pads, and nesting boxes with curtains are installed a systematic order. I nicknamed our daughter Stephanie, “Scratch Pad Steffy” as she efficiently put in all the red plastic scratch pads in the first and second levels of rows one and two.

Farmerette can proudly say that she put all the perches in for the first and second levels, with some help from daughter Stephanie and Jake, and glued the joints and caps for the ends. I prefer to leave the third and fourth level work to others!

We were able to get lots of work done on the Saturday and Easter Monday with it being a school holiday.

I hung red nest curtains around the next boxes. There are four nest boxes back-to-back as the nest areas have no lights. The hens prefer to lay their eggs in a dark, sheltered area.


Manure ends are of course extremely important as the removal of manure keeps the air quality good for the hens and ourselves, keeps the eggs clean, and provides a good environment for the hens. The Clark guys handle these areas.

Another area that is a little more complicated is the egg elevators that will take the eggs from the egg belts and transfer them to a conveyor that will go into the egg packing room.

There were still a few skids of equipment outside and these would have to be brought in the barn when needed. Also, there is room in the barn for a fourth row of housing, but this is not being done now, and is there for any future growth of the egg business. This area has actually turned out to be very beneficial for storage and assembly of parts before they are installed on the housing.

Construction of parts also occurs as many of these parts come in pieces that need to be put together. For example, the cage doors have a white plastic centre, then a red left and red right hinge that must be hammered in with a mallet. We need approximately 1,800 of these. Our daughters Nicole and Charlotte did many of these. I also put together the 24 egg belt rollers that go at the far end of the barn.

We took black plastic waterline connectors to the house and put a clamp on each end in the evening with the TV to break up the monotony of the job. The warmth of the house made the plastic more pliable when putting the clamps on.

March turned out to be a very busy month. We were relieved and happy to see the construction team finish off a back area beyond the main barn that is manure storage as they were here since November. Yippee!!!

We have made it to Easter with the hen housing well underway and will hop into April being able to see the finish line for this stage of the process.

CLICK HERE  to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
Published in Blog
Dalaine Farm
Sector - Broilers
Location - Shakespeare, Ont.
Published in Companies
The recently updated Canadian code of practice for the care and handling of broilers includes new requirements regarding lighting. The code takes into consideration expertise from a committee of researchers and specialists, and also considers several studies out the University of Saskatchewan, conducted by poultry researchers Karen Schwean-Lardner and Henry Classen in collaboration with Aviagen. Schwean-Lardner presented her findings at a recent Poultry Industry Council broiler meeting.
Published in Meat - Broilers
While on a recent farm visit, a poultry producer said something that really resonated with me. We were talking about lighting and he referred to the use of incandescent bulbs as “the good old days.”
Published in New Technology
Nesting behaviour in laying hens is complex, and according to poultry scientists such as Dr. Michelle Hunniford of the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, there’s a lot left to discover.
Published in Eggs - Layers
Archer's Poultry Farm Ltd.
Sector - Layer, hatchery
Location - Trenton, Ont.
Published in Companies
As the Canadian egg industry phases out conventional cages, most farmers will decide to install free-run or enriched cage housing. For its part, poultry housing maker Big Dutchman is presently seeing a 50/50 split on its Canadian sales of the two housing types, but sales lead Ron Wardrop says he’s recently seeing a little more interest from producers in enriched cages.
Published in Eggs - Layers
The updated National Farm Animal Care Council code of practice for laying hens contains many specifications for foraging, perches and nests – enrichments that allow the hens to engage in natural behaviours. These enhancements vary to some degree among housing providers. Here’s what some of them offer and why.
Published in Eggs - Layers
As it marks its 75th year in business, family-owned and operated Sargent Farms is investing $10 million to enhance and retrofit its halal chicken processing facility in Milton.

The upgrade project, scheduled to begin this spring, will ensure the third-generation business will continue to deliver the highest quality, fresh products to a growing base of loyal customers in the retail, food service and restaurant sectors for decades to come.

“Milton has been an important part of our history and our home base for three quarters of a century,” says Bob Sargent, Vice President of Sargent Farms. “We’re committed to making the investments needed to continue growing our operation, provide our customers the best possible products and help make our community a great place to live and work.”

The footprint of Sargent Farms’ processing plant in Milton’s downtown core will remain the same, but all processing equipment inside the facility will be replaced with the latest, state-of-the-art technology. The retrofit will be carried out in stages over three years, primarily during off hours, allowing the plant to continue operating throughout the project.

Sargent Farms, which produces 100% Halal chicken processed by hand, has experienced significant growth over the past decade, driven in part by two retail stores it recently opened in Milton and Mississauga.

The new processing equipment will increase the plant’s efficiency, allowing it to satisfy growing consumer demand by processing more chicken in a shorter amount of time. Greater efficiency will also contribute to the processing plant’s overall profitability, increasing stability for its workforce of almost 300 employees.

Among other benefits, the project will help Sargent Farms continue to enhance its animal care standards and diversify its line of top-quality, local chicken products.

This latest upgrade for the Milton plant follows an investment of approximately $4 million in 2014.

“It’s important to us to continue to build on our long-standing reputation as a progressive and innovative processor. The investments we’ve made in recent years and will continue to make in this project will help us make good on that commitment,” says Kevin Thompson, CEO of Sargent Farms.

In addition to its Milton headquarters and processing operation, Sargent Farms also operates a further processing facility in Mississauga.
Published in News
The 2018 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) had more than 31,000 poultry, meat and feed industry attendees from all over the world, approximately the same as last year. In addition, the show has more than 521,000 square feet of exhibit space and 1,218 exhibitors. Sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, American Feed Industry Association and North American Meat Institute, IPPE is the world's largest annual feed, meat and poultry industry event of its kind.

“This year’s exhibit floor and attendee and exhibitor numbers are a compliment to IPPE’s extensive education sessions, invaluable networking opportunities and diverse exhibits showcasing innovative technology, equipment and services. The excitement and energy displayed by this year’s attendees and exhibitors will continue to ensure the success and growth of future IPPEs,” remarked IPPE show organizers.

The central attraction is the large exhibit floor. Exhibitors displayed the most current technology in equipment, supplies and services used by industry companies in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products. Numerous companies highlighted their new products at the trade show, with all phases of the feed, meat and poultry industry represented, from live production and processing to further processing and packaging.

The wide variety of educational programs complemented the exhibits by keeping industry management informed about the latest issues and events. This year’s educational line-up featured more than 140 hours of education sessions, ranging from packaging trends and technologies, to feed production education, to researchers presenting findings on poultry disease, quality and behavior.

Other featured events included the International Poultry Scientific Forum, Beef 101 and Pork 101 Workshops, Pet Food Conference, TECHTalks program, Event Zone activities and publisher-sponsored programs, all of which have made the 2018 IPPE the foremost annual protein and feed event in the world.

Also, remember to save the date for the 2019 IPPE. With the Super Bowl coming to Atlanta in 2019, the IPPE show dates have been moved to Feb. 12 – 14, 2019.
Published in News
In caged housing, laying hens respond well to artificial lighting. But as producers transition from traditional cages to aviaries, enriched colonies and free-range systems, questions about lighting will surface.
Published in New Technology
February 8, 2017, Victoria, B.C.  British Columbia's privacy commissioner says a chicken-catching company was not authorized to use video surveillance on staff in response to an animal cruelty investigation.

Elite Services in Chilliwack said in June it would require one supervisor and two staff members to wear cameras on their vests after an animal advocacy group released an undercover video that allegedly showed workers hitting, kicking and throwing chickens.

Drew McArthur, the province's acting information and privacy commissioner, says he launched an investigation following media coverage of the case over concerns the video surveillance was being used as a ``quick fix'' and could violate privacy rights.

The investigation found that Elite Services implemented the video surveillance to prevent employee misconduct and restore the company's reputation.

``But video surveillance should only be used as a last resort, not as a substitute for ineffective recruitment and training protocols,'' McArthur says in the report released Wednesday.

He says the company did not consider the privacy risks involved in collecting the video, and the employees who were under surveillance were not the same workers who were allegedly responsible for the original misconduct.

Elite Services said in June that six staff members were fired as a result of the undercover video, including two who were let go before the footage was released.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but McArthur's report says it stopped video recording its employees once it was aware of the privacy commissioner's investigation. McArthur's report recommends the company stop using the video cameras.

McArthur says his office found the company was collecting personal information from individuals without consent, including from farmers, truckers and contractors.

The investigation found the collection and use of the personal information was not reasonable.

``Too often, organizations like this one turn to surveillance believing it will fix their crisis or problem. Organizations need to understand the privacy risks associated with surveillance and take all reasonable efforts to avoid them,'' the report says.

McArthur's report makes seven recommendations, including that the company destroy all existing surveillance video and develop formal procedures to make sure personal information is protected in the future.
Published in Bird Management
August 30, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Nestled in the red Farm Country livestock barns is a display set up by B.C. Eggs, the provincial egg-marketing board, of a new cage system for non-free-range or organic birds.

Within the next two decades every caged chicken on a B.C. farm will be re-housed. Just over five per cent of chickens in B.C. are already in the new cages, while 23 per cent of B.C. chickens already live cage-free, in free-run or certified-organic conditions. The board says B.C. has the highest percentage of cage-free hens in all of Canada. READ MORE 
Published in Eggs - Layers
August 28, 2017 - Cage-free egg farming experts suggest ways to avoid negative behaviors that reduce bird health and productivity.

With more egg producers switching to cage-free production, farmers now need to understand and manage the dynamics of hen socialization and behavior in order to consistently achieve the healthiest and most productive flocks.

Keeping birds in cages limited activity and allowed the establishment of a social hierarchy inside the cage. Now, birds are free to interact with a larger group and are exposed to a wider range of conditions, which can cause antisocial behavior and lead to lower productivity.

Bird experts say the transition requires farmers to spend more time observing the flock’s behavior, understand what conditions are causing negative behaviors, and make the necessary adjustments to the environment.

Egg farmers are faced with three key behavior challenges: hens laying eggs outside of the nest, hens piling in one area or smothering one another, and generally aggressive behavior.

These negative behaviors often don’t manifest, or can’t be observed and understood, when walking the house during routine management. Farmers need to sit and watch for a few minutes to see how the birds behave and interact on their own. That way, farmers can better understand the specific challenges, what in the environment may be causing them, and how they can change the conditions to control them. READ MORE
Published in Eggs - Layers
For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns. “My mom introduced me to the barns before I was two years old,” the Abbotsford, B.C. turkey and egg farmer recalls.
Published in Producers
August 18, 2017 - Perches are a necessity in cage-free housing systems, but changing them may be necessary, too.

As cage-free egg farming is expanded around the world, some in the field are asking if the current round, metal tube perch design is the best for bird performance and welfare. On the welfare side, perches fulfill the hen’s natural desire to perch and give less dominant birds a way to escape more aggressive ones. From a management standpoint, including perches reduces aggressive behaviors and gives the farmer more usable space inside the layer house.

At the Egg Industry Center’s Egg Industry Issues Forum, the attendees asked whether the perch is as beneficial as it can be for the hen and the farmer, and discussed innovations that could improve the devices. The conference took place April 19 and 20, in Columbus, Ohio. READ MORE
Published in Layers
As we say goodbye to 2017 this December, Baildon Hutterite Colony in Saskatchewan will begin shipping out the first organic eggs produced in the province. It will be an achievement that is the culmination of much research, discussion and planning.

Baildon Colony was established in 1967 and is located just south of Moose Jaw, Sask. Colony members currently farm about 19,000 acres in a continuous rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans. “Our land is a little bit rolling, but some of it is very flat as we are near the Regina Plains,” notes layer manager Paul Wipf. “Some of our cereal crops are used for our livestock, as we have a large hog operation, dairy, layers and also some turkeys.” Feed-grade grain goes for that purpose, with additional feed grain purchased as needed, and higher quality grain is sold.

Free-run transition
When the colony started in 1967, members built a barn for 7,000 layers and maintained that number of hens until 1983, when another Hutterite colony was established in the province. At that point, colony members bought a 20,000-layer farm and split the quota in half so, in total, each colony had about 12,000 birds.

“All the hens were housed in conventional cages at the time as this was the going trend,” Wipf explains. “However, in 2009 we decided we needed to build a new pullet barn as our existing one was not big enough to produce all the pullets for our layer operation, and we decided to completely rebuild the layer barns too. The question was what kind of a layer barn do we build, as the growing concern was about whether conventional cages will be good enough in the future.”

To answer this question, Wipf approached Star Egg in Saskatoon to see if they were in need of free-run eggs to fill provincial demand. The company told him there was only one small free-run producer and that, yes, free-run eggs were sometimes in short supply. After a lengthy discussion, all the colony members agreed to pursue the challenge. They also decided that they would convert the old layer barn to a free-run pullet barn, and selected Hellman Poultry for the equipment needed for this and the new layer barn.

Then, in 2016, Star Egg approached Baildon to ask if the colony would be interested in turning half their free-run barn into organic production. There was no commercial organic egg producer in the province and demand was growing.

“Again, after a lengthy discussion, we decided rather than convert half our barn that we would build a completely different barn, as we had some layer quota that we were having to lease out anyway,” Wipf recalls. “This January we started talking with Pro-Cert, an organic certification company out of Saskatoon, to find out what was involved to produce organic eggs and built the organic barn accordingly.”

The colony again went with Hellman, and decided to situate the new organic barn close to the free-run barn. He notes that a lot of the construction of the new organic barn is made out of stainless steel, which he considers a must in free-run production.

The heating system is a hot water delta tube design from Europe, which Wipf believes should be both very efficient and also easy to clean. The ventilation system is Hotraco from Holland, chosen because the colony already has this in the layer barn and it is working very well.

The lighting, however, is different. Baildon went with LED lighting for the organic building because of the higher energy efficiency it provides and also because the LED fixtures are placed on the ceiling. What’s more, chickens sometimes break fixtures that hang down by flying against them.



Barn design and placement aside, the colony also had to answer the question of where the organic layer feed would be sourced. The answer was considered in light of the fact that this spring, Baildon had also decided to replace its existing centralized hammer mill used to grind feed for the hogs, dairy cattle, turkeys and layers.

“It had always served the colony well, but we felt it was time to change over to a disc grinder mill, as they are now more common,” Wipf explains. “The organic regulations would have allowed us to use the new mill for both organic and regular feed, but we would have had to flush the system every time we switched from one type to another, so we decided we will produce organic feed with our old hammer mill. It’s still in good-enough shape, and we’ll be making our organic layer feed with purchased organic grains.”

Baildon will achieve organic certification in January 2018. The colony members had gone into the January meeting with Pro-Cert with plans to have their first organic egg layer pullets arrive in early May. However, Pro-Cert informed them of a new organic regulation that had come into effect in December 2016. The new rule requires that the free-range pasture attached to the organic layer barn be monitored for a year before certification is granted. Wipf says it was a bit disappointing to learn about this new regulation, but there is nothing that can be done to speed things up.

In terms of the biggest challenge facing egg producers today, Wipf names hen housing. “The egg producers here in Canada will have to spend a lot of money in the next 15 years to change from conventional cages to enriched housing,” he notes. “However, the system has been good to us in the last 30 years, so it makes it a lot easier to accept that change.”

Once organic egg production is rolling in 2018, the colony will look at its degree of success and consider expanding and growing organic feed grain in the future.
Published in Producers
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