Free range egg producer gets hi-tech overhaul

Free range egg producer gets hi-tech overhaul

Hockerwood Eggs Ltd in Southwell has increased capacity by 35% after installing a cutting edge aviary system with support from Lombard and NatWest.

Established in 2010 by Patrick Lynn, the free-range egg business runs in partnership with an arable operation operated by Patrick’s father that has traded since the 1960s, growing wheat, barley, oil seed rape and beans.

For Patrick, diversifying the farm activities was important in ensuring a sustained income stream and supporting his family in the coming years.

The business is the first in the world to install Vencomatic’s new technology, the Veranda Gallery Aviary System, which was developed over a four-year period in consultation with the University of Bristol and the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.

The £500,000 investment was made possible thanks to a funding package from Lombard and NatWest, and has increased bird capacity by 35%, with 42,500 birds now on site.

The equipment has also reduced mortality rates by effectively controlling the spread of red mites.

The new system was developed with input from the RSPCA and designed around freedom of movement and well-being of the birds.

Patrick, as a modern and progressive farmer, was keen to ensure that increased efficiency did not mean compromising animal welfare.

This sensitive approach has enabled the business, a supplier to Noble Foods, the UK’s largest supplier of eggs, to strengthen its position as an industry player.

Patrick Lynn, director of the firm, said: “The business has entered an exciting period of growth, and I’m thankful for the support and guidance that Lombard and NatWest have offered throughout the process.

“The new system has allowed us to increase capacity and improve efficiency whilst ensuring that we meet the very highest standards of animal welfare, a factor we value very highly as a business.”

Chris Mountain, Lombard senior relationship manager, said: “This funding deal demonstrates the bank’s clear commitment to helping businesses embark upon ambitious growth strategies.”

David Hanson, NatWest Relationship Director, said: “The bank has no doubt that the new technology, together with Patrick’s deep industry knowledge and commitment to the very highest standards, will see the business go from strength to strength in the coming years.”

As the largest asset financer provider in the UK and voted Best Leasing & Asset Finance Provider by Business Moneyfacts for nine consecutive years from 2009 to 2017, Lombard provides various forms of asset finance to many different types of businesses, from SMEs to large multi-national corporates.