Archive for the ‘News’ Category

NatureForm partners with Sahara Conservation Fund to help save rare North African ostriches

Friday, April 12th, 2019

NatureForm partners with Sahara Conservation Fund to help save rare North African ostriches

NatureForm has partnered with the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) – an international non-profit organization, dedicated to conserving wildlife in the Sahara Desert – to help save the threatened North African red-necked ostrich.

With the exception of a few small savannah populations, the North African red-necked ostrich has completely disappeared from its once vast Sahelo-Saharan range. NatureForm is supporting SCF’s efforts to recover this distinctive, but less known, sub-species of ostrich through the North African Ostrich Recovery Project.

SCF has recently completed the commissioning of Niger’s first solar-powered field hatchery, which is custom engineered to restore and repopulate the ostrich in the wild.

“The survival of the North African red-necked ostrich depends upon this project,” explains John Newby, SCF Fund Director. “Nigeriens who have been caring for the last five breeding pairs of these ostriches reached out to us about how we could help.

Four shipping containers have been converted into a sustainable camp and architects and engineers for the North African Ostrich Recovery Project created a hatchery – which includes NatureForm incubators, an incubation lab, office and solar power plant.

Red-necked ostrich hatchery in Niger

The hatchery was fabricated in San Francisco and shipped to Africa for reassembly. Now fully operational, it is equipped to run sustainably – with only minimal water supply from a well one mile away. The first birds are expected to start laying at the end of April. John Newby said: “Through this partnership with NatureForm, we hope to safeguard the future of these unique, flightless birds.”

Steve Warren, CEO of NatureForm said: “We are delighted to support this important conservation project and play a part in helping to ensure the survival of this perilously threatened species.”

US food giant Tyson Foods invests in SmartPro™ hatchery technology

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

US food giant Tyson Foods invests in SmartPro™ hatchery technology

US-based Tyson Foods Inc. has chosen Pas Reform and NatureForm, the world’s only single-source supplier of integrated hatchery solutions, to equip the hatchery of its new chicken production complex at Humboldt in Gibson County, western Tennessee.

The facility will include a feed mill, hatchery, processing plant and related operations to produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide. It is expected to process 1.25 million birds per week when it opens in 2020.

Tyson Foods is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognised leader in protein-based foods, with its headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, it has grown under three generations of family leadership. In 2017 the company had sales of USD 38.3 billion.

The Humboldt project received the go-ahead in January 2018. In the preceding months the engineering teams of Tyson and Pas Reform/NatureForm worked together to specify the project’s scope, calculate technical specifications and model optimal processes for the hatchery.

The hatchery will make full use of Pas Reform’s and NatureForm’s single-source capabilities. The project includes 36 SmartSetPro™-6 setters, 6 SmartSetPro™-3 setters and 39 SmartHatchPro™ hatchers, to bring total weekly capacity up to 1.7 million eggs.

Installation will also include a complete heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) installation, with seven air-handling units, three chillers and a heat recovery system.

On the hatchery automation front, the project consists of a farm-to-setter-trolley transfer system, a fully automated candling and transfer unit with in-ovo vaccination, stackers, de-stackers, separators, washing and waste handling systems, and innovative, animal-friendly SmartCount™ chick counting and dosing systems.

Pas Reform’s advanced, web-based SmartCenterPro™ hatchery information software will enable Tyson Foods to control setter, hatcher, climate control and hatchery automation operations from a single computer, as well as providing remote access capabilities to manage and respond to system alerts and provide technical and troubleshooting support.

Tyson Foods has also adopted a SmartCare™ Lifetime Services contract, which covers every level of hatchery operations, to deliver an assurance of efficient, uninterrupted performance over the next five years.

In addition to the Humboldt Project, Tyson has ordered 4 SmartStart™ hatchers to be installed this spring. Tyson will be the first major poultry producer in the US to install this type of hatchers, which have the capability of providing day old chicks with moisture enhanced feed, eliminating the need for open water sources in the hatcher.

Steve Warren, President of NatureForm Hatchery Technologies, comments: “This is another milestone for Pas Reform and NatureForm. Since the start of our collaboration in 2014 we have been in frequent contact with Tyson staff, visiting their hatchery operations with our incubation specialists and inviting them to our Pas Reform Academy. This was a great way for us to get in-depth knowledge of the Tyson group. And of course Tyson staff also got to learn about our equipment and our company philosophy.”

Bouke Hamminga, Pas Reform’s Director for International Sales and Business Development says: “Since Tyson is one of the three largest poultry companies in the world, the impact of this agreement will be viewed very positively both in the USA and worldwide.

“We feel that this project helps us to get a major foothold on the US market and internationally as well. We have always viewed our collaboration with NatureForm as a strategic way of gaining substantial market share in the US market and we are doing just that.”

Photo caption: L-R: Michael Freer, Complex Engineer, Tyson Foods; Mike Tubb, Managing Director Engineering, Tyson Foods; David Corvin, Live Production Manager, Tyson Foods; Jan-Peter Eil, Project Manager, Pas Reform Hatchery Technologies; Jack Hubbel, VP Sales, NatureForm Hatchery Technologies; Bouke Hamminga, Director International Sales & Business Development, Pas Reform Hatchery Technologies; Tom McCue, Complex Manager Tyson Foods; Shelby Watkins, Director of Breeder & Hatchery Ops, Tyson Foods; Barry Vincent, Breeder Hatchery Tech Support, Tyson Foods

SmartPro™ NF is chosen by Wayne Farms for US hatchery renovation project

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

SmartPro™ NF is chosen by Wayne Farms for US hatchery renovation project

Wayne Farms LLC, one of the top-six poultry producers in the United States, has chosen SmartPro™ NF incubators from NatureForm and Pas Reform for its hatchery upgrade project in Decatur, Alabama.

With its headquarters in Oakwood, Georgia, Wayne Farms is also amongst the world’s 10 largest producers. Established in 1965, the company has evolved significantly from its origins as a spin off from the Continental Grain Company. Today it employs 9,000 staff and has a production capacity of close to 8 million broilers a week and annual sales of poultry products worth USD 2.6 billion.

The Decatur project is the first in a planned company-wide overhaul of its 10 hatcheries to install equipment, which is expected to take five years to complete. Renovation at Decatur will include 24 SmartPro™ NF 18-54 setters and 12 SmarthatchPro™ NF 6 hatchers, to bring total weekly capacity up to 962,280 hatching eggs. The installation will also include Pas Reform’s SmartCenterPro™ hatchery management system, which will seamlessly connect incubation, climate control and hatchery automation systems and capture data from every layer of hatchery operations.

Wayne Farms has a customer-driven strategic focus on RWA (raised without antibiotics) production and the latest GAP2 animal welfare standards. This has triggered a complete shift towards single stage incubation, which results in a much shorter hatch window and lower first-week mortalities. Innovative, post-hatch feeding practices are also under consideration for the hatchery upgrades.

Wayne Farms believes in upholding a set of rigorous standards to deliver exceptional products for some of the largest branded food companies across America, assuring strict product quality and food safety from the farm to the kitchen. This is largely a product of  vertically integrated process, which gives control over every step of the process and provides a level of traceability and accountability unparalleled by the majority of food production.

Wayne Farms’ decision to invest in the SmartPro™ NF product line at Decatur followed a rigorous, year-long comparative testing versus multistage incubators. Superior hatchability versus these multistage incubators showed overall improved results which justified the renovation investment.

Steve Warren, President at NatureForm Hatchery Technologies, comments: “We are very glad to have such an important company as Wayne Farms starting to transform its hatcheries from multistage to single-stage incubation with us. Our team of combined Dutch and American specialists has been instrumental in working together with the client.”

“We are now looking towards further strategic collaboration with Wayne Farms in post-hatch feeding and a further overhaul of some of its other hatchery operations.”

The entire Decatur project will be delivered and installed in phases over the winter months of 2018 and into the first few months of 2019 and will produce its first day old chicks in December 2018.

NatureForm appoints Rory Harman as new Regional Sales Manager for North America

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

NatureForm appoints Rory Harman as new Regional Sales Manager for North America

NatureForm Hatchery Technologies has appointed hatchery specialist Rory Harman as Regional Sales Manager North America, based at the company’s Jacksonville HQ in Florida.

Rory joins NatureForm with over 35 years’ experience in the US hatchery industry. Starting his career in hatchery maintenance and management in Georgia with Gold Kist Inc. in 1983, he spent 15 years as a technical advisor and consultant, specialising in hatchery automation design, with companies including Texas-based Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. He has been an area sales manager since 2012.

Commenting on his appointment, Rory said: “It was the positive feedback I heard from existing NatureForm/Pas Reform customers on their equipment, service, and support that convinced me to join NatureForm. The total hatchery solutions and innovations offered by Pas Reform will definitely lead the industry for years to come.

NatureForm President Steve Warren said on Rory’s appointment: “From the start-up position just five years ago, Pas Reform and NatureForm have evolved into major players in North America’s hatchery industry. Rory’s appointment is a logical and important next step. We wish him every success in his new role and look forward to continuing expansion in this dynamic market.”

Rory Harman can be contacted directly on 770 608 4489, or by email at

SmartPro™ NF is chosen by Wayne Farms for US hatchery renovation project

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

SmartPro™ NF is chosen by Wayne Farms for US hatchery renovation project

Wayne Farms LLC, one of the top-six poultry producers in the United States, has chosen SmartPro™ NF incubators from NatureForm and Pas Reform for its hatchery upgrade project in Decatur, Alabama.

With its headquarters in Oakwood, Georgia, Wayne Farms is also amongst the world’s 10 largest producers. Established in 1965, the company has evolved significantly from its origins as a spin off from the Continental Grain Company. Today it employs 9,000 staff and has a production capacity of close to 15 million broilers a week and annual sales of poultry products worth USD 2.2 billion.

Wayne Farms has a strategic focus on RWA (raised without antibiotics) production and the latest GAP2 animal welfare standards. This has triggered a complete shift towards single stage incubation, which results in a much shorter hatch window and lower first-week mortalities. Innovative, post-hatch feeding practices are also under consideration for the hatchery upgrades.

Wayne Farms’ decision to invest in the SmartPro™ NF product line at Decatur followed rigorous, year-long comparative testing across the entire range of competitor single stage incubation systems. At the end of these side-by-side comparisons, SmartPro™ NF ultimately emerged victorious. Overall improved field results versus the existing multi stage equipment justified the renovation investment.

Photo: L-R: Randy Caudill, North Alabama Live Production Manager, Wayne Farms; Kevin Martin, North Alabama Area Hatchery Manager, Wayne Farms

Training in the USA: hands-on knowledge sharing in hatchery management

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Training is a unique contributor to NatureForm’s rapid growth across the USA and Canada and, earlier this year, a group of 14 hatchery professionals came together to take part in a three-day Hatchery Management Training programme.

Hosted by NatureForm, the course was delivered by Pas Reform Academy and included access to House of Raeford’s fully integrated new hatchery in South Carolina. The course is not limited to customers of NatureForm and Pas Reform, although delegates must work in a managerial or senior role with responsibility for day-to-day hatchery management. On this occasion, attendance included delegates from leading hatcheries and a vaccine supplier.

The importance of people

“We may all recognise the increasing role of automation and data-based software and systems in the modern hatchery,” says course director Gerd de Lange, “but people are vital to the success of any hatchery operation.

“It takes good, up-to-date knowledge, high levels of skill and not least a positive, proactive attitude to deliver optimal production results. Machines and clever systems are only as good as the people operating them and translating results to fine-tune performance.”

With this belief at the heart of the Hatchery Management course, Pas Reform Academy’s approach to training is highly interactive.

The course is designed to strengthen participants’ skills in three areas: the evaluation and analysis of hatchery performance; the ability to recognize weaknesses in egg handling and incubation procedures and remedy them using the “tools” provided, and the knowledge to modify egg handling and incubation processes, to improve hatchery performance.

Prior to attending, participants are invited to pre-submit key questions that they would like to have answered. This ensures that as well as learning from trainers about the most up-to-date research and the very latest techniques being employed in hatcheries worldwide, delegates also have the chance to share experiences and insights with each other.

Egg to chick optimisation: training for results

In South Carolina, a variety of topics, from ‘egg quality from breeder farm to hatchery’ to ‘hatchery climate control’, were discussed and supported by presentations.

For practical sessions and hands-on training, House of Raeford’s state-of-the-art hatchery hosted two visits, the first focusing on the egg receiving and setter room, and the second dedicated entirely to the hatcher room and chick handling.

During these visits, both egg and chick quality were evaluated and a break-out analysis performed, all in a setting that gave participants the opportunity to see and experience advanced Smart™ incubation and hatchery automation systems first-hand in a live production environment.

Sharing ideas and insights, says Barry Vincent, Breeder/Hatchery Specialist at Tyson Foods, adds great depth to the experience: “The training is really comprehensive, it’s amazing what can be covered in just three days.

“Sharing insights with other hatchery professionals from their own experiences has been a really valuable aspect of the whole experience. The training has given me a range of new tools and insights that I can take away to improve analysis, processes and performance as soon as I get back to the hatchery, and I’ve met new friends in the industry too!”

Future training opportunities

NatureForm will be running further hatchery management training courses in 2018. If you would like further information or to pre-register your interest in attending, please email

Miller Poultry contracts NatureForm for new hatchery renovation in Indiana

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Miller Poultry, a producer of Amish-grown, antibiotic free poultry, has commissioned a complete renovation of its broiler hatchery in Goshen, Indiana with SmartPro™ NF single stage incubation.

The refurbished hatchery will be equipped with 27 technologically advanced SmartPro™ NF setters, accompanying hatchers and supporting ventilation, for a weekly setting capacity of approximately 1.1 million eggs.

SmartPro™ NF single stage incubation allows for precise, zonal temperature control, which delivers a higher hatch of fertiles and superior chick uniformity. Miller’s entire incubation and hatching process will be integrated with the SmartCenterPro™ hatchery management system, Pas Reform’s most advanced, next generation hatchery information software, to aid in quality control, preventative maintenance and hatch cycle analysis.

Commenting on the new project, Vice President Live Operations Stephen Shepard said: “It is the right time to significantly upgrade our hatchery and go 100 per cent single stage. When we analysed the health, robustness and uniformity of the day-old chicks produced by our current SmartPro™ NF single stage equipment, we were left in no doubt that this was the best route to continue innovating incubation in our company.

“We have been extremely pleased with our relationship with NatureForm, so they were the natural choice to support our plans.”

Miller Poultry, family owned since 1942, specializes in antibiotic free, all vegetable-fed poultry that are raised on small Amish family farms.

Owner Galen Miller adds, “We are one of the original users of NatureForm single stage equipment. It has been great to watch them grow and advance over the years and we are happy to move forward together with them in this new phase of our operations.”

Jack Hubbell, Vice President of Sales for NatureForm comments: “We are excited about the opportunity to grow with Miller Poultry. We have known them for many years and it is really special to be a chosen supplier for such a quality-conscious company.”

Smart and integrated: Quebec’s Couvoir Réal Côté looks to the future

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Family-owned Couvoir Réal Côté, a well-known and long-standing business in the Canadian hatchery industry, is to expand operations to 400,000 broilers per week for the Quebec market, with a fully integrated new facility that will be built around a brand new SmartPro™ single-stage hatchery at its Ange-Gardien site.

With 12 SmartSetPro™2 incubators, 12 SmartSetPro™4 incubators and 14 SmartHatchPro™ hatchers, the new installation will also include a total overhaul of the hatchery’s climate control system, with air handling units that use 100% fresh air to eliminate the need for recirculated air and a completely new chilled water system. Hatchery automation will also be replaced, with stackers, de-stackers and a new transfer, candling and clear egg removal unit as part of the project.

New washing machines, a vacuum system and a farm-to-setter trolley stacker/destacker are also included. The complete system will be connected by advanced, web-based SmartCenterPro™ hatchery management software, to deliver realtime analysis and reporting across the entire operation, both from Réal Côté’s office in Ange Gardien, or remotely from support teams at Pas Reform’s Zeddam HQ in The Netherlands or NatureForm in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Production of the day-old broiler chicks will be split over two weekly hatches,” explains Martin Lavoie, hatchery manager, “and with the ability to analyse hatches both on site and remotely, we will work closely with Pas Reform’s technical team to ensure that performance is optimised.”

“After 38 years of operation, it was time to renew the hatchery,” says Réal Côté, founder and president . “We have been providing quality day old chicks to the Quebec market all these years, and we are very happy to continue working with Pas Reform as we look to the future. Our customers want nothing but the highest quality broilers from us.”

The company started incubating broiler eggs 38 years ago and, he says, if it’s up to him they will continue to do so for another 38 years. “With this investment, we not only replace, upgrade and expand our current operation, but we are also building in room for further expansion in the future.”

“When I visited the Réal Côté hatchery for the first time back in 2003, people were surprised to see someone from Pas Reform, a Dutch company, in North America,” comments Bouke Hamminga, Pas Reform’s director of international sales and business development. “Since then, Pas Reform’s international presence has grown significantly and our partnership with NatureForm has emphasised our commitment to this market. We are very happy to have jointly progressed this collaboration with Couvoir Réal Côté – and the best is yet to come!”

A five year SmartCare™ preventive maintenance and hatchery support programme is also part of the new contract, which plans to have the expanded and refitted new hatchery fully operational by the end of 2018.

360° SmartCare™ in the USA: innovation in service and support

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

There are, says Pas Reform’s CEO Harm Langen, many ways to innovate. And as the world’s only single-source supplier of fully integrated hatchery solutions, Pas Reform and its US partner NatureForm have taken a wide view, to deliver innovation across the full range of products and services.

“SmartCare™ is one such development,” says Harm Langen, “a multi-faceted approach to service and support that that has grown out of our experience of working with more than 1,000 hatcheries worldwide. It delivers across three pillars of planning, project and lifetime services to support each ‘life stage’ of a hatchery project.

“Customers themselves choose from a number of options – there are 21 service categories in all – to create a support package that is fully customised to meet their own, particular needs.”

It’s a new concept that represents a paradigm shift in how service and support are provided in the industry – and one that is rapidly gaining ground for many of Pas Reform and NatureForm’s hatchery customers worldwide.

House of Raeford: leading the way in the USA

In the USA, House of Raeford’s affiliate Columbia Farms was first to adopt SmartCare™, with a Lifetime Services contract to support its state-of-the-art SmartPro™ hatchery in Monetta, South Carolina.
With a skilled and experienced team in place, Columbia designed their own contract to include:

  • Helpdesk support, to maximize support availability and response times
  • SmartCenterPro™ hardware & software support, including the delivery of all new system releases and updates and hardware replacement support, should it be required
  • Recommended spare parts, to ensure that spare parts are always in stock
  • Remote analysis and advice, for periodic reports based on SmartCenterPro™ data, with results and recommendations
  • Periodic inspections, to provide structural equipment inspections
  • Incubation consultancy, for independent, hatchery-wide reviews that include reporting and recommendations from Pas Reform Academy’s hatchery specialists

Complex manager Jim Mabe headed the team that worked with NatureForm and Pas Reform to create Columbia Farms’ SmartCare™ package. He says: “The Monetta facility is a state-of-the-art hatchery and, when we made the decision for SmartPro™ setters, hatchers, HVAC and automation, we signed up to levels of technological advancement that would ensure we deliver the best possible birds for our network of growers.

“High levels of technical support and backup from NatureForm in Jacksonville were a vital ingredient of our ultimate decision – and SmartCare™ brings another level to that for us, with a package that we’ve been able to select according to our own, very specific needs.”

SmartCare™ has, says NatureForm’s president Steve Warren, been developed to deliver an assurance of efficient, uninterrupted performance at every level of hatchery operations. “SmartCare™ is a 360° approach through which we share our knowledge, people, expertise and experience at every stage of planning, building, commissioning and beyond.”

Smart apps and 24/7 support

Columbia’s own staff are well trained and have a great deal of experience, but as Assistant Complex Manager David Rush explains, it was important that they were up to speed with the new system as quickly as possible.

“For that reason, the company’s customised SmartCare™ package includes a fortnightly skype call to discuss any questions, follow up on open points and share knowledge and ideas. The SmartCare™ Helpdesk is available 24/7 to work closely with maintenance staff and the hatchery also uses the Android- and iOS-based SmartService™ App, which makes it very easy to send service requests or questions, with photos if needed.

“To optimise operations, we do a lot of preventive maintenance ourselves and under the SmartCare™ plan that we created, Pas Reform and NatureForm carry out a complete inspection twice a year and we have an agreement on spare parts.” The plan also includes site visits by an incubation consultant from Pas Reform Academy, to focus on optimizing hatchability and quality.

“For us, SmartCare™ Lifetime Service is more than just support in case of a problem,” concludes David Rush. “It is a partnership, where we work together with Pas Reform and NatureForm continuously to generate further improvements, increased hatchability and chick quality.”

Koch Foods chooses SmartPro™ for the 2nd time to develop USA’s largest single stage hatchery

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Chicago-based Koch Foods, the USA’s 5th largest poultry integrator, has chosen Pas Reform and NatureForm to completely renovate its Henagar hatchery in Alabama. When completed, Henagar will be the largest fully integrated, single stage broiler hatchery in the Western Hemisphere.

Pas Reform and its US partner, NatureForm Hatchery Technologies, will install 84 SmartSetPro™ setters with a capacity of 132,192 eggs each and 92 SmartHatchPro™ hatchers, each with a capacity of 22,032 hatching eggs, to create a weekly setting capacity of more than 3.7 million eggs.

As a fully integrated project, the contract also includes work to renovate Henagar’s climate control and automation systems. A complete new HVAC system has been designed for the hatchery, with 14 Daikin air handling units that use 100% outside air and air handlers equipped with the latest UV disinfection system. Boilers and chillers will also be replaced, including the addition of modern primary and secondary heat recovery systems, to make the hatchery one of the most energy efficient in North America.

A new hatchery automation system is designed to process 800,000 day old chicks in an eight-hour operating day. To achieve this, the system incorporates three transfer candling lines with individual stacking, destacking and clear egg removal; a double chick take-off line with destackers, separators and innovative, animal-friendly SmartCount™ chick counters.

SmartCenterPro™ hatchery information software will super-connect data from the entire hatchery, from the realtime monitoring and historic recording of Incubator climates, to the monitoring, counting and analysis of embryos and chick uniformity data gathered from hatchery automation processes.

Gary Davis, Vice President Eastern Division at Koch Foods , comments “Before embarking on a company-wide hatchery renovation-expansion programme, we tested Pas Reform’s equipment and technologies extensively in the Henagar facility.

“Once we saw improvements in hatch and feed conversion rates, we worked with the Pas Reform/NatureForm team to evaluate the project’s viability and, based on return on investment calculations, our experience with the renovation of our Crossville facility and the very comprehensive support package that has also been a key success factor for other major hatcheries in the USA , the project was approved.”

Steve Warren, CEO of NatureForm Hatchery Technologies concludes, “This is a milestone for Pas Reform and NatureForm: a truly exceptional opportunity to supply and install a project of this size and calibre, as the world’s only single source supplier of fully integrated hatchery solutions.

Fully integrated solutions do not, says Steve Warren, stop when installation is complete and together, contractor and supplier have customised a SmartCare™ preventative maintenance and hatchery support contract that will proactively involve both company’s teams to maintain optimum hatchery performance.

“In considering the full scope of this project, we recognised that one of the major factors in the success of the work we had undertaken for House of Raeford was the implementation of a SmartCare™ Lifetime Services agreement,” he says, “and Koch’s senior team agreed.”

“This contract is future-focused at every level. It recognises that the time has come for a new, proactive paradigm in hatchery service and support and that with SmartCare™, we’ve got that covered.”