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Agrotop completes free range poultry project at New Zealand’s Otaika Farm

Agrotop has completed a project to build three elevated free-range chicken sheds at the Otaika Farm near Whangarei in New Zealand.

The Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs company, which owns the farm, is a well-established family-run business with farms in Otaika Valley and Kaharoa. Otaika Valley hens are free to roam on the farm’s beautiful and fertile land, resting at night and, when the weather is inclement, in spacious, safe, environmentally controlled barns. The company’s brand is one of most recognizable and trusted in New Zealand.

The Otaika Valley project was carried out together with Big Dutchman, which provided the equipment to the farm. The earthquake-proof sheds built by Agrotop were especially designed to provide optimal climate conditions for the birds when they need to be inside at night or when the weather gets too hot or too cold. The chickens have easy access to the outdoors. The shed is raised so that litter can easily be removed, resulting in minimal odour and fly issues.

Stefan Craddock, a partner in Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs, said that as the company keeps expanding it will continue using Agrotop’s services.

“We love Agrotop, it is a pleasure to do business with them and they are a good business partner for the future,” he said. “We had very few, minor issues and all of them were quickly and satisfactorily resolved by Agrotop.”

According to Craddock, Agrotop’s solutions are perfect for the farm’s needs for the following reasons:

• Hot dipped galvanized – the sheds are built to last many years with minimal maintenance.

• Ease of construct – An Agrotop supervisor helped to erect the first shed and since then the farm workers have erected the sheds on their own.

• Working relations – The staff at Agrotop were easy to work with, including sales, engineering, logistics, and others.

Craddock added that there were extra challenges growing free range eggs, which are harder to grow. The keys to success are:

• A great building – well-insulated and tight, providing ideal temperatures and ventilation when birds need to be inside.

• Good stocksmanship and well-trained staff.

Demand for the Otaika farm free range eggs is growing as the local economy is showing strength. Customers are looking for high-quality eggs with good bird welfare and the New Zealand government has already announced it will phase out cage eggs by 2022.

According to Craddock, despite price premium at retail level of about 40 percent, the local market for free range eggs is growing by 20% annually, turning into a fast-growing market with high potential.