Free-range expansion

July 13, 2017

Kinross Farms Euroa processing facility

More than $600000 has been invested in a new Euroa egg processing and distribution plant, with 10 full-time positions created as Kinross Farm aims to increase its processing and distribution capacity.

The company announced $689000 had been spent to create the its second egg processing plant, with roles in quality control, process workers and team leaders.

The company, which operates across a number of locations in Victoria, including Bendigo, Kinglake and Wycheproof, established its first free-range farms in Euroa in 2004 and later refurbished an old building to create the processing plant and ultimately reduce costs.

‘‘By having processing close to flocks you can reduce the breaking potential and keep it close to the source,’’ general manager Philip Szepe said.

‘‘(It) builds a competitive advantage.’’

The company raises more than 350000 hens within a 6km radius of the plant, with eggs arriving at the processing plant tested for quality before being packaged and distributed.

About 140000 dozen eggs pass through the egg processing plant each week, with the entire business producing a total of six million eggs.

Each egg is checked for breakages, dirt and other imperfections, with those unable to be packaged and sold in supermarkets then deshelled and sold to bakeries or other industries as liquid eggs.

The company sells its eggs under the brand name Sunny Queen, as well as stocking major supermarkets including Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, McDonald’s and food-services businesses.

With the constant price battle between supermarkets, Mr Szepe said it could be difficult to keep things competitive and deliver what the consumer wanted.

‘‘You’ve got to be cost competitive. Suppliers are cost focused in the end,’’ he said.

‘‘If you’re not on a large scale you’re not going to be cost competitive.’’

The company sells solely free-range eggs, a concious decision on its part, according to Mr Szepe.

‘‘It’s an easier system to promote and engage with the community about... approximately 35 per cent of egg intake is from free-range eggs,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve staked our future on free range. We accept that to some extent we’re bypassing a sector of the market due to pricing.’’

Each hen receives a minimum of 10 hours per day access to the outdoors, with stocking densities ranging from up to 1500 hens per hectare to the industry guidelines of up to 10000 hens per hectare.

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