Agricultural Commodities: Chicken Meat

A review of the state of the industry by Clay Mifsud, based on research by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) for the September Quarter 2012.
calendar icon 25 September 2012
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By: Banrie

Australian chicken meat production in 2012–13 is forecast to increase by one per cent to 1.04 million tonnes. Consumer demand is expected to remain high as chicken meat prices will continue to be substantially lower than prices of alternative meats, despite the effect of forecast higher feed grain prices.

In 2011–12, Australian chicken meat production increased by 1.5 per cent to 1.03 million tonnes. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the consumer price index of poultry declined by four per cent in 2011–12, leading to a rise in domestic chicken meat consumption to a record 990,000 tonnes.

Over the past decade, the poultry industry has achieved significant productivity growth by improving genetic stocks, husbandry procedures and processing technology, which has led to increased slaughter weights and lower growth in production costs. The average weight of meat production per bird increased by one per cent to a record 1.9kg in 2011–12, 16 per cent higher than a decade ago.

Australian per-person consumption of chicken meat is forecast to be around 44kg in 2012–13, largely unchanged from 2011–12 and remaining Australia's most consumed meat. In comparison, per-person consumption of beef and veal, pig meat and sheep meat is expected to average 33kg, 26kg and 10kg, respectively. Australian per-person chicken meat consumption increased by 75 per cent over 20 years and the retail price disparity between chicken and other meats also increased over the same period. Australian per person chicken meat consumption is now among the highest in the OECD.

In 2011–12, chicken meat exports increased by 22 per cent to around 34,000 tonnes (shipped weight), with Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and South Africa accounting for over three-quarters of total shipments. Around 94 per cent of chicken meat exports in 2011–12 consisted of cuts and edible offal; the remainder was mainly whole chickens. Shipments of chicken meat to Papua New Guinea increased by 41 per cent to around 7,500 tonnes in 2011–12, making that country Australia's largest market for chicken meat. Despite increasing exports, over 95 per cent of Australian chicken meat is consumed domestically.

Chicken meat exports are forecast to increase by 10 per cent in 2012–13 to around 37 000 tonnes (shipped weight) to satisfy ongoing growth in demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australian meat consumption, per person

Australian Consumer Price Index for meats

Outlook for chicken meat
unit 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 f % change
Production kt 1 015 1 030 1 040 1.0
Export volume a kt 27.5 33.6 37.0 10.1
Export value $m 33.1 39.7 44.0 10.8
a Shipped weight. f ABARES forecast
Sources: ABARES; Australian Bureau of Statistics

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

September 2012
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