POULTRY FARMERS in Northern Ireland can now apply for a study trip that will explore production and new technology relevant to their businesses in the Netherlands.

The programme will include a tour of Vencomatic Group’s campus, a visit to a broiler breeder farm to view an automated egg handling system, a visit to a laying facility to view a new multi-tier system with heat exchanger ventilation and intelligent lighting and finally a visit to Rondeel, a Dutch Better Life system.

See also: 3 key issues facing Europe’s poultry sector

While the tour will include visits to farms, there will be no access to birds to mitigate Avian Influenza.

This study tour is part of the Farm Innovation Visits Scheme which is being delivered by DAERA’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

The areas of innovation studied will include:

  • Air-to-air heat exchangers – operation and benefits, including ammonia reduction
  • Automated hatching egg-handling technology
  • High-welfare commercial egg production system
  • In-ovo sexing and on-farm hatching of commercial layers

The group will leave on the morning of Wednesday, 22 November 2023, and return on the evening of Friday, 24 November 2023. The tour will be led by CAFRE’s Poultry Advisers.

Applications are invited from one member or employee from each poultry business with at least 5,000 commercial laying hens or broiler breeders.

Applicants must be over 18 years old on the application closing date and not in full-time education.

To increase the benefits arising from the study tour, all applicants must identify a group of farmers to share their findings with upon their return.

Up to twenty places are available (aiming to have 10 commercial egg farmers and 10 broiler breeder farmers).

In the situation of over-subscription, preference will be given to those with larger poultry enterprises based on potential impact.

Broiler Breeder and Commercial Egg producers who are interested in participating in this study tour can find out more details and complete an online application at the CAFRE website.