Page 26 - Food & Drink March 2020
P. 26

Ruling the roost
Pirovic Family Farms is one of Australia’s oldest egg farming businesses. For much of the last 10 years, its operations and livestock manager Petar Pirovic has been driving a major undertaking to design, develop and build an organic free-range egg farm in New South Wales. Kim Berry writes.
PIROVIC Family Farms (PFF) began in 1965. While its organic range accounts for only six per cent of its business, the company is the largest certified organic free-range egg farm in New South Wales. Its operations and livestock manager Petar Pirovic was named 2019 Farmer of the Year at the Australian Organic Awards.
Pirovic grew up working alongside his parents, brothers and cousins.
He says the family nature of the business is supported by its dedicated staff.
range and an extensive range of pasteurised liquid egg products for the food service, restaurants and food manufacturing industries. That includes pasteurised whole egg product, plain egg whites, egg white mix, scramble mix and sugared/ salted whole egg and egg yolk.
For Pirovic, PFF’s reputation for quality has been cemented over time with its consistent use of world’s best practices in technology, husbandry, welfare and product quality. It comes from controlling all parts of the production process, he says.
legislative guideline that governs our industry.”
Running a family business for so long means the Pirovic family has seen many changes in the industry. Pirovic says the greatest impact has been continuous changes to standards and guidelines.
“There has been a massive increase in compliance to biosecurity, animal health, food standards, animal welfare, environmental guidelines and all sorts of accreditation programs.
“Our industry has also gone through two complete restructures and upgrades to cages over the past twenty years, ensuring hens have enough room in the cage, which has placed great financial burden on all farmers within our industry. Dealing with constant change means increasing cost of production which comes with great financial strain,” he says.
The biggest challenge now is ongoing drought. Feed prices have risen dramatically with short supply and high demand. Pirovic says it will impact the industry for years to come.
“Of course, we’re not alone in this arena. All primary producers are struggling with rising labour cost but in organic farming it’s even more labour intensive with lower yields and lower stocking density. Strict auditing ensures compliance on organic farms continues to meet all animal welfare standards, and environmental and soil standards which are consistent with certified organic farming process.”
Consumer demand regarding animal husbandry and welfare is also a challenge. “The egg industry is keeping up with consumer demand for no antibiotics in egg production. In fact, they are actually seldomly used and
Petar Pirovic has been talking to chickens all his life.
BELOW LEFT: A 10-year undertaking means these chickens can feel the grass between their talons.
consumers need to be aware that we are listening,” Pirovic says.
Pirovic’s passion for growing the company’s organic credentials came after visiting farms around Australia and overseas.
“I felt I had the knowledge to design a farm that could accommodate such an increase. By that stage we had already been producing organic eggs for a number of years, but I really felt that consumer future demand would justify expanding the operation.
“We saw that consumers and retailers were becoming increasingly more interested in the organic category and were wanting to eat more organically produced products for a variety of reasons, whether it be environmental, ethical or for a healthier lifestyle. Organic eggs are said to have increased micronutrients and are free from antibiotic residues, which resonates well with
today’s consumers.
“There was also a strong,
growing awareness about the environment and how hens were housed. The fact that our hens feed on organic natural grains and can go outside the barn to roam and forage within
“ The egg industry is keeping up with consumer demand for no antibiotics in egg production. In fact, they are actually seldomly used and consumers need to be aware that we are listening.”
“Our employees work in a range of typical roles that you would find at any egg farming enterprise, but we attribute our ongoing success to our highly trained and dedicated staff.”
PFF produces all categories of eggs, cage, cage free/barn laid, free range, certified organic free
“We rear our hens, mill our feed, grade and distribute all our eggs and egg products, which we supply from our own company farms. We have been producing using alternate systems for about 40 years.
“All our products are independently Third Party Audited against the Model Code of Practice, which is the
26 | Food&Drink business | March 2020 |

   24   25   26   27   28