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A century of egg farming

Chas Leach c1927Charles Leach (circa 1923)The Leach and Holland families have an unparalleled poultry farming heritage in Australia. Three generations of the Leach family have been innovating in the poultry industry since 1904. Shortly after WW11, Ted Holland commenced poultry farming at St. Johns Park. His son George is an active producer of high quality eggs, with several farms in the Sydney basin. Then in 2002 Ray Leach and George Holland partnered as Free Range Egg Farms, and together they continue a combined century old tradition of innovation in egg production.

Solving distribution problems

Chas Leach c1927Chas Leach (circa 1927)In 1932 Chas Leach reasoned, “The last stage through which eggs pass before being ready for the public leaves much to be desired, especially in the case of grocers and such shops. Good eggs are frequently exposed to the sun or kept in the open for days. So it is little wonder complaints are heard about their quality, for which the farm often gets the blame. To ensure availability of good fresh eggs to the public, there must be proper and systematic handling in all channels through which they pass. This would in turn lead to increased consumption.

Innovation reduces production costs

Sid Leach c1935Sid Leach (circa 1935)Sid Leach continued the tradition of his father, always searching for ways to improve poultry production techniques. In 1935, Sid seized the opportunity to master the art of chick sexing. He was the first Australian to learn and master this more accurate but difficult technique as passed on by the Japanese, where the method originated. This new technique allowed much earlier identification of sexes and so lowered the cost of producing laying hens and hence egg production costs dramatically.

Good ideas soon spread

Pioneer Farm c1928Pioneer Stud Farm (circa 1928)“The poultry industry has taken up the ideas and copied the modalities generated by the Leach’s in the past 50 years, moves that initially were innovative and untried and which in time proved their worth in more productive bird strains, lowered incidence of disease and better quality table meat and eggs”

Country leader, March 1986.

Ecoeggs, modern free range

One of our farmsIn the late 1985 the family reluctantly accepted an offer for the business from the Inghams, the largest poultry company in the country. In 2002 after some years out of the business, Ray noticed that the big egg companies were preoccupied with cage eggs and that there was a small but growing demand from consumers for products that considered the animal's welfare. One of Ray's original customers, George Holland joined in this new venture and so Free Range Eggs Farms was born. FREF are now known as H&L Premium Free Range Eggs Farms, to better reflect our product and philosophy. Ray Leach and George Holland have developed a modern approach to the traditional method of free range egg farming as pioneered by Chas. Leach. The big three in the egg industry are ten times our size. But we are large enough to employ a very experienced team and some excellent small growers in the Port Stephens area.