Posted 6 December 2010
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Harper Adams is joining forces with one of Europe’s top egg producers to modernise poultry facilities and improve bird welfare at the University College.
Oaklands Farm Eggs Ltd, Telford, produce nearly 500 million eggs a year and is known for its quality eggs and excellent welfare and food safety standards.
By working with Oaklands, Harper Adams will be able to provide students with the latest facilities for both teaching and research, while the unit is run on a commercial basis.
Principal, Dr David Llewellyn, said: “We’re really pleased to be involved with Oaklands Farm Eggs. It sets the seal on a long standing relationship with the company, and will allow us to upgrade our facilities enabling the continuation of commercial egg production on site, while providing brand new teaching and research resources. It’s really tremendous to have this link.
“Students will be able to see modern standards in colony egg production that meet the new EU regulations to be introduced in 2012. This is a significant development for us and one that will be of benefit to students and the poultry sector in the longer-term.
“The sector is looking for young entrants and we’re working really hard with them to generate further interest amongst students – those who might seek a career in the industry.
“There is also a lot of research to be done on poultry and egg production in areas such as animal welfare and colony environments. Working alongside industry, we see a strong future for research in this area”.
Standards for hens are changing, with a ban on conventional cages from 2012. Oaklands won the Health and Welfare accolade at the Pig and Poultry Marketing awards 2009 for their Tecno unit, a system it plans to introduce at Harper Adams.
Oaklands Director Elwyn Griffiths, son of Aled Griffiths who founded the company, said: “At Harper, we’ll be taking the opportunity to do what we can’t always do commercially –we see the development as providing a high quality test bed to benefit our business as well as the wider industry.
“There are problems with all egg production methods – free range, barn, organic, intensive etc. But there are also many benefits. We will be offering consumers a choice and would like an open book approach with no preconceptions about the industry.
“Attracting young people into the industry is a problem. We hope to open their eyes to what is involved in running a poultry farm – so understanding efficiencies, economies, welfare and feed conversions in hope of getting students interested.
“We have seen Harper Adams grow from a small agricultural college to gain world wide recognition; likewise during that time the Oaklands business has also grown from small beginnings to be a centre of world wide excellence in the industry. Linking two such progressive centres of excellence can only be beneficial for the future of both.
Elwyn and Gareth Griffiths were crowned the Farmer’s Weekly Poultry Farmer of the Year 2010.