Kiwi-made eggs take flight, bound for South Korea

An outbreak of bird flu has helped New Zealand egg producers crack a new market.

South Korea has been forced to cull 20 million chickens, and with egg stocks running low they're turning to us for help.

Rob Darby has been farming eggs in New Zealand for nearly 40 years. Around 3,000 eggs come out of his small Pukekohe farm every day. Combined with the 19 other Frenz farms, that's close 1 million eggs every month.

"At the moment they're really short of eggs, so they'll take whatever they can get," says Mr Darby.

"The Korean government won't want to be losing face with the public, so they'll want to be seen supplying them with what they need.

The reason they're short of eggs is bird flu - around 12 percent of South Korea's poultry stock has been culled. The country's agriculture ministry now wants to import eggs from the US, Spain and New Zealand to meet demand.

"Shell eggs are a difficult product, fresh product, to move easily around the world," says Michael Brooks of the Poultry Industry Association.

"Generally they're exported across land borders, so this is an unusual situation."

But because New Zealand is seen as a safe supplier of eggs, South Korea has come knocking on our door.

And the poultry industry says New Zealand has another advantage - the colour of the eggs we produce.

"We here of course produce brown-shelled eggs, so Koreans love brown-shelled eggs as well, as compared to United States where they're white-shelled eggs - so potentially our eggs could be very popular there."

But the difficulty is ramping up production - you can't ask a hen to start laying a lot more eggs. Instead, exports will be limited by whatever is excess to supply - up to 10,000 dozen a week, so not overly lucrative for Kiwi producers, but a healthy boost.

In any case, the increased delivery of eggs to South Korea is only expected to last for up to a year before new chickens without the disease have been raised.