Friday, February 3, 2017

Eggs, veggies for Hay River

AgriArctic of Whitehorse and Polar Egg of Hay River are working with input from Lethbridge College staff to develop a greenhouse to grow chickens and vegetables.

It is at Hay River in the Northwest Territories.

“The idea of combining vegetable and egg production appears to be the first venture of its kind in the world,” the team says in a news release.

“The circular concept will have some waste plant material fed to laying hens, and chicken manure treated with a bioreactor to producer fertilizer for the plants.

“The physical setup is also circular. About 200 hens will be housed in a hexagonal base structure with vertical hydroponics towers situated above in a frameless structure called an intershelter dome.

“High pressure sodium lamps will be used for light, and heat will be provided with a standard 1,500-watt space heater. The bioreactor will also produce some heat, as will the hens.

Kevin Wallington, head of marketing and sales for Polar Egg Head, says “the hens will have the same amount of space as they would in any other free-range housing set-up, with access to the outside in the summer.”

He says the eggs will be graded at the Polar Egg grading station with the rest of the company's production, but they may be marketed separately.

“There is the possibility to market them separately however, as we are looking to modify one of our barns to free-range production with an outdoor enclosure, and then we hope the combined number of free-range eggs would make that feasible.”

The team does not provide estimates of the costs of production or prices for the eggs and vegetables.