VIDEO: Sustainable farming not a tough egg to crack

By: Anna Game-Lopata, Video by: Barry Ashenhurst

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Narelle and Bede Burke have vertically integrated their mixed operation near Tamworth to enable sustainable egg production with prize-winning results, Anna Game-Lopata reports.

A throaty chorus of chook voices in their thousands greets me in the newest of Glenwarrie Partnership egg producers Narelle and Bede Burke’s high-tech sheds.

It’s one of two on the main farm at Bective near Tamworth, New South Wales where 106,000 laying birds are housed in separate age groups, five rows per shed. A further 27,000 pullets are being raised on the floor.

Bede Burke’s grandparents and parents formed Glenwarrie Partnership back in the 1950s. Originally a sheep and cropping operation, they decided to diversify into egg production as a way of increasing their income. Bede returned to the farm after finishing university and marrying Narelle.

Eventually in the 1990s the young couple bought Bede’s parents out and took on the farm on their own.

While Glenwarrie Partnership had always been a mixed family operation the Burkes have made the significant decision to integrate it vertically enabling more efficient and sustainable production practices.

Narelle believes that gave them the edge over other farming operations and the industry agrees. Over the years, the Burkes have won several accolades for their systems, most notably the 2009 Brownhill Cup for innovation and sustainable farming practices.

"It’s a difficult one for poultry or any intensive industry and [the judges] had their own preconceived ideas. But generally I think the sustainability and the vertical integration is what we had that others didn’t."

Read all about Glenwarrie Partnership’s operations and how owners Narelle and Bede Burke got to where they are today in the upcoming edition of New Farm Machinery magazine, on-sale March 2.  Subscribe to the magazine to have it delivered.

 

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