Size of the farm

The Numeralla part of Tocal is 86 hectares of which 15 hectares have been fenced as free range runs for a free range egg operation. The other 71 hectares is grazed by the dairy for heifer growout and joining.

Number of birds and eggs

Numeralla has five sheds with a total shed area of 8,762 m2. The sheds house up to 90,000 hens which are grown and their eggs harvested under contract to Pace Farms. Approximately 84,000 eggs per day are harvested with the aid of conveyors and an egg packer rated at 24,000 eggs per hour.

Total production for 2018 was 1,523,311 dozen eggs (18,279,732 eggs).

There were two lots of shed cleanout in 2018 with 38,600 new birds placed in Sheds 1 and 2 on 9th February and then a complete cleanout of Sheds 3, 4 and 5 in December with 52,200 new birds placed on 2nd January 2019.

A major refurbishment of the water supply system occurred in 2018 with complete upgrade to filtration and valve systems at the Numeralla dam site. The cool pad system was refurbished on shed 3 and 4.

Chickens have access to the ranging yards and the shed throughout the day.

Market

All eggs are supplied to Pace Farms who work very closely with us to produce the enjoyable egg.

Age/size when sold/replaced

Hens are placed as day olds, raised at a ‘feeder farm’ near Vacy, with birds transferred to Numeralla at about 16 weeks of age. They are then cared for and trained to lay in nest houses, in between their daily foray into free range areas. After approximately 14 months, egg laying of these hens declines to the point where it is uneconomical to keep them. They are then harvested for their meat. Litter is removed, the suspended flooring system is dismantled and cleaned, the sheds are dry cleaned and disinfected ready for the next cycle. This is an extensive process that takes approx 5 weeks, with the inclusion of contractors and extra staff.

Supply of water

Water to Numeralla comes from a dam capturing runoff from approximately 100 ha of the Tocal property and surrounding farm lands. The paddock is strictly managed to meet the water quality requirements of Numeralla. The water from the dam is filtered through a series of sand filters and is then treated with chlorine and pumped to various holding tanks for distribution to particular sections of the farm.

Describe the storage and movement of eggs each day

Eggs are collected daily from each shed via a series of conveyer belts running through our nest box system to the outside of the shed where it meets a second conveyor that transports the egg to our packing facility. Once at the packing facility, eggs undergo a grading process where staff remove cracked and deformed eggs, oversized and double yolked eggs placing them in separate cartons, for egg pulp processing. The third category of eggs graded out is any dirty egg that is packed separately to be washed before further grading occurs. All of our eggs once packed are stored in a cool room until dispatch to a grading facility at Buchanan where a more intense grading process is undertaken before the egg hits the supermarket shelves. Eggs are transported out of Numeralla multiple times a week in refrigerated trucks.

Use of the farm for student training

In 2016 the introduction of a poultry component in the Certificate III in Agriculture course was developed and delivered with real success. All the staff at Numeralla are looking forward to having more involvement in the education of the students in the poultry industry in the years to come.

Numeralla is also used in the Environmental Sustainability unit delivered to Tocal students.

Students are also rostered to Numeralla to gain practical skills, performing skills such as maintaining healthy well birds; poultry growth rate assessments; disease recognition and sampling; handling ‘cull’ or dead birds.

The relationship we have with our suppliers

Numeralla has a contract with Pace Farms. The process begins with Pace supplying a rearing farm with day old chicks to be reared in a barn until 16 weeks, just before sexual maturity. The birds are transported by a live bird transport company to us where we train the birds to know the new surroundings and whereabouts of food and water. From here we range the birds. All of our processes are done in stages to minimise the stress on the birds.

Pace provides us with everything the birds need throughout the whole batch: feed, vaccinations, all food grade approved cleaning products, consumable cartons and packaging.

Numeralla provides adequate facilities to house the birds, and all other overheads attached to the running of the farm. The eggs laid are the property of Numeralla, and are then purchased back by Pace Farms.

In a nutshell birds are owned and provided for by Pace Farms and the farm and eggs are owned by Numeralla.