A researcher has released a report stating that if more consumers knew about hen housing, more would buy cage-free eggs.
Farm Management Canada has launched a competition to win an all-expense paid trip to the International Farm Management Congress in Poland in July 2013.
A team of University of Guelph students won second place and the admiration of their competitors at a North American agricultural marketing contest.
Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan have been investigating the mechanism behind the rooster’s signature crow.
Farm and Food Care Ontario has launched a new campaign focused on attracting and inspiring young farmers.
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitatio...
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitation
The population explosion...
With the world's population increasing exponentially and farmland staying the same, BASF took to the streets to ask consumers if this trend is sustainable.
Poultry farmers understand and adhere to strict standards when it comes to food safety, but surprisingly, there are still many who don’t realize that they must also adhere to standards of health and safety. The good news is that it isn’t because farmers don’t care, it is really just a case of many not realizing that, as “businesses,” they fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and, if they do know it, of being unsure where to begin. In fact, according to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA), 85 per cent of producers believe safety is a priority on their farm, yet less than nine per cent of operators have a written agricultural safety plan. At a recent presentation made to members of the Poultry Industry Council, Kristin Hoffman, a consultant with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), noted that many producers were surprised to learn the scope of their responsibilities under the OHSA. Many didn’t realize that they are considered “employers” and are responsible for the health and safety of workers who come to their farms. In fact, the Ministry of Labour in Ontario defines an employer as a person who employs one or more workers or a person who contracts for the services of one or more workers. Attendees of the workshop were lucky enough to be learning about this in a meeting room, but some haven’t been so fortunate. In her presentation, Hoffman shared examples of those who were fined because they failed to fulfil their responsibilities as an employer. In the three examples that were shared, two workers were injured and one was killed on the job. The employers were convicted for a variety of offences, including failing to take reasonable precaution and failing to provide information, instruction and supervision, and fines ranged from $50,000 to $80,000. Producers regularly work with outside service providers to manage the various stages of production, which can include delivery services, catching crews, pick-up and transport providers, and cleaning services. In some cases, providers offer more than one of these services, but occasionally different providers are used for each step and farmers aren’t working with the same people every time. “The producer and the service provider need to share in the responsibility of training these workers to be safe on the farm,” explained Hoffman. The service provider should be training their employees on the basics of health and safety, such as fall protection and equipment safety. However, every farm is different and it is up to the operator to orient new workers to the hazards and risks that exist in their workplace.” In addition to providing clients with information about legislated responsibilities, Hoffman also offered some tips on where to start. UNDERSTAND YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES Hoffman and other WSPS consultants are working with individual clients and attending events like this to continue spreading the word about the responsibilities of farm operators and how they can create healthy and safe workplaces. However, there are also many resources available online from associations such as WSPS, the Ministry of Labour, Chicken Farmers of Ontario and CASA.ASSESS WORKPLACE HAZARDS AND RISKS Physical conditions of the farm are very important. Take stock of all of the hazards and risks that exist in your operation including things like equipment, processes, chemicals, etc. Create a list and prioritize them.START WITH SIGNIFICANT RISKS AND DOCUMENT SIMPLE STANDARDS You don’t have to start from scratch. Chicken Farmers of Ontario offers a Safe Work Practices tool on its website, which includes information about job planning and safe work practices, specifically written for broiler chicken farmers.DEVELOP A PLANThere are many resources available to assist farm operators with developing a plan. The Canada FarmSafe Plan, available from CASA, is an adaptable guide for producers to use in developing, implementing and establishing an effective farm and ranch safety plan. And, as the delivery agent for Ontario, WSPS offers the OntarioFarmSafe Plan, which can be downloaded from the website for only $49 (and includes additional resources and templates). This version features provincial legislation and compliance information.TALK TO SERVICE PROVIDERS Consider asking service providers about their health and safety policies and practices when negotiating contracts. Find out if they are providing the necessary training to ensure that workers have the required qualifications, skills and general safety knowledge to work safely. That way, you will be sure they understand the basics when you’re showing them how to work safely on your farm.SHOW AND TELL It’s important to spend time with new workers arriving on the farm to make sure they know about the processes and equipment that they’ll be working with. Take the time to walk them around the area in which they’ll be working, as well as tell them what you expect. Health and safety should be managed with the same rigour that goes into every other facet of the business. “Really, farm operators are well equipped to manage this responsibility. Collaborating on the health and safety of workers is no different than collaborating with food manufacturers on the health and safety of the flock. It’s really just a matter of understanding responsibilities, making the commitment and developing a plan that makes sense for your farming operation,” said Hoffman.ABOUT WORKPLACE SAFETY AND PREVENTION SERVICES WSPS provides industry-specific health and safety products, training and consulting services to 154,000 businesses and 3.8 million employees in Ontario’s agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors. As one of four health and safety associations operating under the Health and Safety Ontario banner, WSPS is a trusted advisor to businesses, large and small, seeking to boost productivity and profitability by reaching zero work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities. For more information on farm safety and links to downloadable resources, visit www.healthandsafetyontario.ca or contact WSPS at 1-877-494-9777.
In 2011, Maurice Richard became the first egg producer in Quebec to use enriched cages on his poultry farm. Two years later, he says he never wants to go back to conventional housing. It all began when he set off to western Europe in 2010 to tour poultry farms and study the newly installed enriched cage systems mandated by European Union directives. Upon his return, Richard, an egg producer with 76,000 layers on two farms in Rivière – Héva, Que., decided to demolish one of his own bird barns (circa 1975) housing 25,000 layers, to make the transition from conventional to enriched cages the following year. Richard now operates an enriched cage production system on two floors, with three decks on each eight-foot floor that is ventilated through a forced-air system in the roof. The layers like their enriched cages, says Richard, adding that 90 per cent of their eggs are laid in the nesting boxes. “Each hen will lay more eggs if they have more space in the cages,” he adds. “You have to achieve a balance with the cage’s population density.” With this new system, each cage can contain 60 white birds or 48 brown birds. Richard installed LED lighting in some scratch areas in the cages, leaving a darker area of the cage available for the layers’ nests. He also programmed his LED lighting for artificial sunrise and sunset to stimulate the productivity of his hens. He told the Nova Scotia Egg Producers (NSEP) that he chose to heat his new layer building because he wanted to dry the layers’ manure, “The eggs they lay are very clean,” he says. “The enriched cage system seems to lower bird mortality.” Productivity in the enriched cages is better than in conventional cages, with about 338 eggs per hen over 52 weeks of production, Richard estimates. The new cages are in a building that is 86.5 metres (284 feet) long and 13.7 metres (45 feet) wide, and each cage is approximately 1.2 metres (four feet) by 11.8 metres (39 feet). “With the enriched cages it takes longer to clean the building because it’s bigger than the building it replaced,” he says. “Because there are more birds housed, it also requires more poultry feed.” This year, he plans to tear down a second barn that holds conventional cages and replace it with another new structure holding enriched cages. The price per layer, not including the cost of foundation and footings, will be about $42: $17 per enriched cage and another $25 for the building itself.