July 4th 2012.
The enlightened attitude of some supermarkets, an increase in organic box schemes and the rising popularity of farmer-markets has helped create a trend away from large egg size, which in turn has introduced new laying breeds into the organic food chain.
According to one of the UK’s leading organic feed suppliers, Hi Peak Organic Feeds, reversal of the notion that large was better than small when it comes to egg size is overdue. It claims the result is a greater diversity of laying-breeds, which in turn has presented the challenge of making sure diets reflect individual breed types.
“In addition to the more established laying-breeds of Lohmann, Hy-Line and Warren, we are seeing a rise in prominence of breeds such as Columbian Blacktail, Bovan Brown and Amber Link. The idea that the feeding requirements are the same across these breeds fails to recognise the financial and performance benefits of feeding to particular need,” said Hi Peak’s poultry management adviser Mike Burrows.
“In the same way you wouldn’t feed an Olympian the same diet as a non-athlete, neither would you feed a breed selected for egg mass in the same way as a breed selected for egg size. The balance of protein and energy can be critical, as are the sources from which they are derived.”
“Failure to feed breed-specific diets is often down to an over-reliance on a narrow range of organic ingredients. I’m afraid the problem is often organic manufacturers lacking the inclination to source sufficient raw materials in the first place. A move towards organic only mills would help because it permits the keeping of more organic raw materials, eliminating competition between organic and conventional bin storage,” he said.
While Mike acknowledged the necessity to import organic proteins for all types of organic species, he believed more could be done to encourage UK farmers to grow peas, beans, vetches, lupins and even soya. He said Hi Peak purchased its raw materials on the domestic market wherever possible but pointed out that only around 11 per cent of organic land in this country was in arable cropping. This he believed was a missed opportunity.
Further information from: Mike Burrows
Tel: 07739 097004