SCOTTISH egg producer James Baxter will set out the bleak reality of dealing with a bird flu infection to farmers attending Bfrepa Live in November. 

Mr Baxter, who farms near Stranraer and is also chairman of Bfrepa, will speak publicly about losing almost 200,000 hens to a mandatory cull following a positive test in January. 

See also: Prepare for avian influenza challenges this winter

He is one of the keynote speakers at BFREPA Live 23, which will be held on Thursday, 14 November, at the Telford International Centre.

Mr Baxter’s talk will cover his avian influenza journey, from losing an entire flock to how he sees his business recovering and lessons learnt.

This year’s BFREPA Live event will see several other talks and discussions throughout the day, including a panel on AI vaccination hosted by BFREPA chief executive Robert Gooch with APHA’s Gordon Hickman, Dave Hodson from Rosehill Poultry, and Crowshall’s vet Ian Lowery joining as panellists. 

Vaccination

A debate will be held on whether a Great Britain-wide vaccination programme should exist, the pros and cons of having one, and how it might work if it became a reality.

Later in the day, there will be a series of technical presentations. 

AD Harvey’s Oliver Harvey will give advice on preparing for the end-of-lay, while Premier Nutrition’s Ralph Bishop will be talking about nutritional strategies for extending the laying cycle.  

Charles Macleod, from St David’s vets, will be debating if water is an unavoidable necessity or a vital nutrient for free-range flocks.

The day will conclude with a 4.30pm talk held by Nick Bailey from Joice & Hill, who will be covering the latest in genetics, the latest breeding developments, and the benefits of breeding white hens.

Insights

Kate Dickinson, BFREPA Events Manager, said: “BFREPA Live’s speakers will offer an insight from all aspects of the free-range egg sector, from the producer in the shed to the officials making decisions on behalf of the whole industry

“We believe that we’ve struck a great balance between the two, and that those in attendance will learn something valuable to take back to their farms.”  

BFREPA Live 23 has been reformatted into a one-day show featuring a sold-out exhibition and the Free Range Awards dinner taking place on the same evening. 

The awards dinner, which will be hosted by comedian Al Murray, will have a record number of attendees, with over 600 people already booked to attend the evening.

Tickets are on sale at www.bfrepa.co.uk and are open to anyone with an interest in egg production.

Bfrepa members who buy tickets for Bfrepa Live will be fully refunded at the next renewal of their membership