On a greenfield site near Warwick in Queensland, Australia, a truly world-class hatchery recently opened its doors. Less than a year after the kickoff of the project, the Allora hatchery is now all set to deliver the best results yet achieved in the history of the Darwalla Group.
From small family business to highly specialized operation
Darwalla is a fully integrated poultry producer comprising feed mills, hatcheries, parent farms, broiler farms and logistics. Although the business started small back in 1933 by the Benfer family, the company nowadays grows more than 25 million birds a year in a still expanding market.
After 83 years of business, Darwalla continues to be a key player as one of the largest Australian privately owned poultry producers. To ensure its continuous growth, the company decided to replace its 50-year-old Mt Cotton hatchery by building a brand-new facility at Allora.
The construction of an efficient hatchery layout
On 12 March 2017, the first sod was turned on the construction of the new $22-million Allora project that resulted in one of the world’s most advanced broiler hatcheries.
The design had to meet Darwalla’s current business needs as well as the plans of growth into the future. Therefore, the company cleverly master-planned the facility to enable future expansion without having to interrupt running operations.
When it came to incubation, Darwalla selected Petersime as its preferred provider. Petersime assisted the building company Badge and other specialist contractors to finalize an integrated design solution.
“At peak production, we can produce 800,000 chicks per week in the Allora operation,” stated David Bray, Development Manager at Darwalla, who worked tirelessly to keep the project on track. “Our Petersime BioStreamer™ High Density incubators are a good fit for Darwalla. We are convinced that we got the right plan and products for a highly automated operation.”
“The Petersime BioStreamer™ High Density setters ensure a precise control of embryo temperatures, and this feature ensures that the correct temperatures are maintained for all ages of donors, thus improving hatchability and liability, whilst reducing energy use and improving the cleaning and overall maintenance of the machines,” he added.
Because a hatchery cannot run out of essential services, even for a moment, Badge designed the appropriate water, storage, gas and compressed air supplies. Any power blackout will be covered by back-up generators that can run the entire facility.
The long-awaited opening
11 months after the kickoff of the construction works, Darwalla Group was pleased to host all people involved on the official opening on February 12, 2018. After the ribbon was cut and the new world-class facility was declared operational, Aleksandra Scerbatova, Darwalla’s Hatchery Manager, provided an informative guided tour and carefully explained the complexities of a modern automated poultry hatchery.
She spoke about the importance of controlling temperature, humidity and CO2 levels and the Synchro-Hatch™ approach that generates a ‘popcorn’ effect. By automatically detecting the exact timing of 100% internal pipping, this Embryo-Response Incubation™ technology adapts the incubation environment to stimulate simultaneous hatching. “A 12-hour spread of hatch followed by 12 hours to dry off,” she explained.
Not only does Allora boast the latest in hatchery technology, the facility also uses cutting-edge robot technology in the sensitive phases of egg handling and cleaning tasks. This will help to keep Darwalla competitive in a very challenging market for broiler chicken meat.
A long-term approach for a bright future
By investing in this new hatchery, and thus heavily improving efficiency in the critical area of day-old chick production, Darwalla will be able to take better advantage of the genetic potential of the Aviagen Ross 308 it grows. This will lead not only to feed cost savings, but also a better product for consumers and the retailers who supply them with Australia’s most popular protein source.
While other major players in broiler production seem to favour a short-term view in managing their operations, Darwalla has taken a long-term approach. This strategy will without any doubt result in significant dividends long before the enterprise celebrates its centenary. Exactly what Petersime wants its customers to achieve: maximize their profit for life.