Efficiency and environmental impact of free-range egg production
: a mixed-method case study of Wales

  • Paulina Kubala

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


The egg industry in Wales is an important component of the agricultural sector. According to the Welsh Government’s Aggregate Agricultural Output and Income Statistics (2008, 2013), from 2006 until 2013, the value of egg production in Wales nearly doubled. The rising potential of egg production creates a need for research in the field of rural economic development and its inevitable environmental impact for the convergence area of Wales. The objective of this study was to define the major environmental impacts of free-range egg producing farms as well as to lay out basic strategies for improving the efficiency of freerange, non-GM egg farms under investigation. The study adopted an interdisciplinary, mixed methods approach. Qualitative data from in-depth interview has been used to consider the feasibility of improvement in business processes and relationships to advance performance. SWOT analysis has been used in order to examine the internal and external environment of the businesses studied and Retrenchment and Renewal Strategies have been proposed with the intention of looking into a wide-range of short-term actions that could reduce financial losses, stabilise the performance of businesses studied and work against the problems that contributed to poorer performance. The use of production and management accounting data from the collaborating enterprises allowed to calculate performance expectations for freerange, non-GM egg farms in areas such as egg production and feed. The results of this study indicated that there are various internal factors that influence the efficiency of the farms studied and all of them are directly or indirectly related to farmers’ perceptions and motivations for running the business. Nevertheless, the external environment also has a great influence on the performance of the businesses, to the point that small and medium egg production could be perceived as a high-risk investment. In order to improve the efficiency of businesses studied this thesis proposed a list of recommendations that is believe to address all the issues related to egg farming which were raised during the research. The supply chain involved a collaboration between producers − owners of small and medium size free-range, non-GM egg laying farms in Wales, two major companies − Wynnstay Group Plc, Stonegate, and various supermarkets.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SponsorsKnowledge Economy Skills Scholarships
SupervisorPeter Midmore (Supervisor)

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