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Technology helps separate chicks by sex

Technology helps separate chicks by sex

The federal government provides financial support for Hyperye technology

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, visited a St. Ann’s, Ont. egg farm today to announce federal support for an innovation project.

“I’m delighted to be here today to announce our government’s investment of over $840,000 to drive innovation in the Canadian egg industry,” he said this morning. “This investment is helping egg farmers from Ontario implement new technology that is the first of its kind in the world.”

Federal ag minister Lawrence MacAulay announces funding for egg technology.
Photo: Diego Flammini

The technology Minister MacAulay is referring to is called Hypereye.

Egg Farmers of Ontario has funded Hyperye research at McGill University since about 2007 to help increase hatchery efficiency, minimize waste and improve animal welfare.

Hyperye can determine specific characteristics about eggs before they are sent to egg farms.

Hypereye “scans an egg over a very sensitive camera and feeds the data back through an algorithm,” Drew Corneil, general manager of McKinley Hatchery in St. Marys, Ont., told today. “The algorithm can determine which eggs are infertile, which are female and which are male.”

Previously, chicks underwent invasive DNA testing to have its sex determined. Farmers raised male chicks at an economic loss or in some cases had the males culled.

The Hyperye technology can ensure egg producers only receive the necessary shipments.

“Sometimes due to a shortage of hatching space, we don’t receive our full order (on the day we’re supposed to) and sometimes we get it three days later or a week later,” Roger Pelissero, chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada, told today.

“This (technology) means (farmers are) increasing their number of fertile eggs, which means more hens coming out at the end.”

MacAulay made the announcement today on Pelissero’s farm as part of the Growing Canadian Agriculture tour.

So far on his tour, MacAulay has made funding announcements in Quebec and Ontario. His tour will wrap up on July 17 in Saskatchewan.

This cross-country tour helps to highlight the innovations within the ag industry.

“We grew potatoes on Prince Edward Island. I can tell you I picked potatoes on my knees and put them in a basket,” MacAulay said. “The last potatoes that I shipped never touched the human hand and that was over 20 years ago.”

Top photo: Federal ag minister Lawrence MacAulay, left, inspects an egg with Roger Pelissero, right, on Pelissero's farm.
Photo: Diego Flammini

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