Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Despite the modern Canadian egg industry achieving considerably higher productivity, resource efficiency, and animal health outcomes relative to historical performance levels, there remains significant potential for continued improvement through the identification and dissemination of sustainability best management practices. One potentially promising management practices is the extension of lay cycles.
Layers capable of producing 500 eggs in an 80-week production cycle are widely considered to be on the horizon. It can be anticipated that lay cycle extensions may contribute to both increased profitability for farmers and more sustainable egg production if lay persistance and egg quality are maintained, but the scale of potential synergies and trade-offs are unclear. Extending production in layers beyond 51 weeks, which is currently the norm in Canada, will likely have a combination of economic, environmental, and animal welfare repercussions.
This project aims to investigate and quantify the potential effects of extending lay cycle lengths on the environmental, animal welfare, and economic performance of egg production in Canada.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
By jointly evaluating these impacts, Canada's egg farmers can be provided valuable information about the economic feasibility and sustainability implications of longer lay cycles.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Research outcomes will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at relevant academic and industry conferences. A report will also be shared with egg farmers through Egg Farmers of Alberta's website. Results will also be disseminated through the National Environmental Sustainability Tool (NEST), an online farm-level sustainability calculator being developed for Canadian egg farmers.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.