Scottish egg producer James Baxter will set out the bleak realities of a bird flu to farmers attending Europe’s largest free range egg event in November.
Mr Baxter, who is also the chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), will speak publicly for the first time about losing almost 200,000 hens to a mandatory cull following a positive test in January.
The frank discussion will cover his avian influenza journey, from losing an entire flock, to how he sees his business recovering, as well as the lessons learnt.
Mr Baxter, who farms near Stranraer, has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at BFREPA Live 23, which will be held on 15 November at the Telford International Centre.
This year’s event will see a number of other talks and discussions throughout the day, including a panel on bird flu vaccination, hosted by BFREPA CEO Robert Gooch.
The discussion will include APHA’s Gordon Hickman, Dave Hodson from Rosehill Poultry, and Crowshall’s vet Ian Lowery joining as panellists.
The panel will be discussing vaccination for bird flu as well as debating Defra's approach to outbreaks across the country.
There will also be series of technical presentations. AD Harvey’s Oliver Harvey will be giving technical and practical advice on preparing for end of lay, while Premier Nutrition’s Ralph Bishop will be talking about nutritional strategies for extending the laying cycle.
Charles Macleod, from St David’s vets, will be debating if water is an unavoidable necessity or a vital nutrient for free range flocks.
The day will conclude with a talk held by Nick Bailey from Joice & Hill, who will be covering the latest in genetics, the latest breeding developments, and the benefits of breeding white hens.
Kate Dickinson, BFREPA events manager, said: “BFREPA Live’s speakers will offer an insight from all aspects of the free range egg sector, from the producer in the shed, to the officials making decisions on behalf of the whole industry.
“We believe that we’ve struck a great balance between the two, and that those in attendance will learn something valuable to take back to their farms.”
BFREPA Live 23 has been reformatted into a one-day show featuring a sold-out exhibition and the Free Range Awards dinner taking place on the same evening.
The awards dinner, which will be hosted by comedian Al Murray, will have a record number of attendees, with over 600 people already booked to attend the evening.
Tickets are still on sale at BFREPA's website, and are open to anyone with an interest in egg production.