Have you wondered how much it would cost the New Zealand egg industry to move from conventional cage egg production to alternative systems such as Free-range, Colony cage and Barn?
The answer, as the independent economic reports on this page show is: quite a lot. For a typical egg farmer, the estimated cost of phasing-out existing farm infrastructure and equipment, purchasing new replacements, obtaining resource consents, purchasing land and all the other minutiae that are involved in making a significant change is in the vicinity of $1 million.
The New Zealand egg industry takes pride in its world-leading welfare standards and is committed to making the transition from Conventional cage farming, as required in the 2012 Layer Hens Code of Welfare. In this, it is one of only two entities in the world that have undertaken this step or have it in prospect: the other is the EU. But in order to maintain the economic viability of our egg industry and guarantee a secure supply of eggs to a hungry nation, the transition away from conventional cage farming is being spread over a number of years.
By 31 December 2022, Conventional cage production systems will be phased-out completely – a deadline that the New Zealand egg industry is confident about achieving. A number of milestone dates are in place for the transition and are being met, but it is worth remembering that this phase-out is the shortest time frame that any agricultural industry in the world has ever experienced.