The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project supported Pile-Farm to establish an additional chicken farm and increase their production of fertilized eggs for broiler breeding from 2.75 million to 4.25 million a year.
Some of the value chains in the food production industries are longer than one would expect, and each of the players has a crucial role. Chicken meat production is one such chain that functions very well in Bosnia and Herzegovina while Pile-Farm from Srbac, Norther Bosnia and Herzegovina, deserves part of the credit.
What came first, chicken or the egg?
“We specialized in the production of fertilized eggs of broiler chicken,” says Vesna Vukadinović, Director of Pile-Farm. “We have a contract with Puretnina Ptuj. They supply parent flock and animal feed and provide veterinary services. We, on the other hand, have fully equipped farms, and provide the service of producing fertilized eggs that are then supplied to chicken farmers for hatching and fattening. In the end, grown broilers go back to Perutnina Ptuj factory for further processing,” she explains.
But this is not a full value chain. There are also companies that specialize in the production of parent flocks from the grandparent flocks and those that produce day-old or three-week-old chicks. The type of chickens they breed also differs depending on the final intended product, meat or eggs. And though this does not provide the answer to the question: “What came first, chicken or the egg?”, it helps illustrate the complexity of production.
Highest quality, effectiveness, and efficiency
Pile-Farm was established in 2007 as an extension of a family tradition and is now a family business. Their annual production of fertilized eggs in 2018 reached 2.75 million. They had three farms hosting a total of 20,000 chickens in the parent flock.
"We reached our production ceiling, but the demand for fertilized eggs was still growing, so we needed to expand,” says Vesna. Step by step, they started preparing for the construction of an additional farm that would host an additional 10,000 chickens and increase their production by 50 percent, i.e. from 2.75 to 4.25 million fertilized eggs a year.
The investment was substantial. In 2019, Pile-Farm applied for a grant with the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project. They constructed premises, and FARMA II helped them purchase some of the equipment necessary for the proper functioning of the farm, including the cooling and ventilation system.
"The production process is sensitive. Everything needs to be closely monitored and well-timed, from the amount of light provided, and time when the food and water are supplied, to temperature, humidity, oxygen level, and so on," elaborates Vesna.
“I am happy to say that thanks to the expertise of our staff, our effectiveness and efficiency are at the EU levels. Already in 2016, we had one of the best performing parent flocks in Europe, whereby in one production cycle, from February to November, a chicken would lay 157 fertilized eggs.”
Reaching the set goals
Pile-Farm finalized the construction of a new farm in 2019 and installed all the equipment in early-2020. "We had a very busy year, we worked a lot, but we also met our goals. In 2020, we produced 4 million fertilized eggs and have prepared the farm for the arrival of a new parent flock for 2021," says Vesna.
They will try receiving the parent flock a few weeks earlier and provide longer care for chicken before the laying of eggs start. "In 2021, we will meet our goal of 4.25 million eggs, no doubt. We know that we are part of a long value chain, and I hope that that the entire poultry sector in BiH will keep performing well," she concludes.