Sustainable egg farm on O'ahu to provide local cage-free eggs

On the North shore of O’ahu Hawaii a completely off-the-grid farm has found its ground. With 300 acres, Waialua Egg Farm is a completely off-grid operation. Built by local tradesmen using the energy nature provides; carbon neutral and solar-powered. Michael Sencer is the Executive VP of one of the managing partners for the egg farm and they felt there was a huge need in Hawaii for a modern egg ranch all cage-free.

Waialua Egg Farm is a partnership between the two large egg production companies Rose Acre Farms, Indiana, and Hidden Villa Ranch, California. They have partnered up to start a self-sustainable egg farm in Hawaii. The farm has supported Hawaii’s sustainability goals while also creating more than 400 jobs for the economy. Its solar arrays double as a cage-free shelter for the hens with plenty of storage to reuse the energy and keep the farm running.

90% of the consumed eggs in Hawaii used to come from the mainland. This is the market Waialua Egg Farm is aiming to fully replace. Being completely independent is the main goal of the farm. For example, the chicken waste is processed through the biochar machine which converts it into a carbon-rich fertilizer that is then distributed and shared with local farmers. In addition, they have an independent water well and wastewater is used for irrigation, meaning that the farm is ZERO waste.

From laying day to store shelf within one day

Waialua Egg Farm has 200.000-layer hens divided over 4 barns. Eggs are laid in the morning and will be in the supermarket the day after. This is where the SANOVO GraderPro comes in, ensuring qualitative grading and packing of the eggs, so they are ready to go to the supermarkets. The GraderPro Series starts already at 27,000 eggs/hour (75 cases/hour). At Waialua Egg Farm, a GraderPro 400 is performing daily with a maximum of 144,000 eggs/hour (400 cases/hour). Being a little above the current needs of the plant, the company chose the GraderPro 400 to be prepared for future capacity expansion.

Waialua Egg Farm product portfolio consists of cage-free eggs with their own brand labeling. Their goods are sold directly to Hawaiian supermarkets.

Choosing the right grading solution

The two egg companies Rose Acre Farms and Hidden Villa Ranch were already grading and looking for a new system with individual egg handling. Within their partnerships, they have experimented with other graders. Now with the new egg farm, we had the opportunity to implement the GraderPro.

“We believe in the technology, with lower egg speeds, still high capacity, and of course the individual egg handling. Tracing every single egg from the source all the way into the pack provides guaranteed food safety”, says Michael Sencer, Executive VP of Managing Partner.

One of the major benefits of the GraderPro is the Cleaning in Place (CIP) function on many parts of the grader, ensuring a highly hygienic production. On top of that, the tunnel and cascade system are completely washdown. Other than alternative graders, the GraderPro uses a maximum of static parts which are easy to clean and have a high durability. The machine is well-engineered considering the minimal number of moving parts resulting in less maintenance, and the less need for manual cleaning.

Smooth project handling right from the beginning

Since the farm was newly established and the hens still young when starting the installation of the grading solution the whole process went very smooth. In the beginning, the grader could start up slowly until the chickens were big enough.

Michael Sencer: “The slow start helped us getting to know the GraderPro and we could slowly increase the speed and volume of the production. Running the GraderPro on a completely self-sustainable farm also was a completely new experience to us. Building a self-sustainable farm on the Hawaiian Islands is a massive project on its own, but Rose Acres and Hidden Villa did a really good job to get it going with their expertise.”

A long-term technology partner for the future

“SANOVO is a total solution supplier for egg handling with state-of-the-art technology. We are also looking more and more into production automation, requiring less manual labor on heavy tasks, and optimizing our process flows on the grading floor”, says Michael Sencer.

Next to resource optimization, adding automation to grading setups is increasing the overall grading efficiency due to more consistency. For example, other customers report increases in throughput because of an automated de-palletizing solution, among others. In any case, automated egg handling & processing setups are slowly becoming the new standard in modern production environments.

Take a look at Waialua Egg Farm's website and their products:



About the collaboration

“We believe in the technology, with lower egg speeds, still high capacity, and of course the individual egg handling. Tracing every single egg from the source all the way into the pack provides guaranteed food safety."

Michael I. Sencer, Executive VP of Managing Partner