Alberta egg farmers were provided an update about the Producer Environmental Egg Program (PEEP) at the EFA Regional Meetings in January. In 2017, there will only be one change to PEEP. Question #3.3, related to manure management, has been adjusted to reflect the fact that if farmers have a manure belt dryer but don’t have a heat exchanger, drawing internal barn air is an alternative strategy to ensure the use of warm air in the winter. Manure must be stored in a protected facility for full points.
In late December 2016, EFA sent a letter to all farms that were recorded as scoring a zero on question #3.2 in 2016, which is related to manure storage capacity. For full marks on the question, the farm should have permanent primary manure storage with at least 9-12 months capacity. For permanent manure storage sites, appropriate construction requirements must be met. This means the base needs to be either a concrete slab or well-compacted soil high in clay, but low in sand or gravel. The primary manure storage site is where farms mostly keep their manure (ie: if farmers empty out the barn once a week, then that is not their primary storage site). At a minimum, the expectation is that if farms aren’t using a permanent manure storage site, they are moving their temporary storage.
Since the letter went out, conversations have been had with several farmers who need to have their score updated, as a result of a misunderstanding about their practices. For other farmers, this has prompted them to reach out to the NRCB about building permanent manure storage away from their egg barn. This is a positive example of PEEP in action; the provincial egg industry is reflecting on management practices together, and working to make improvements when needed.