Chicken Meat in Australia: Outlook to 2017–18

Over the last decade, Australian chicken meat industry output has increased strongly at around four per cent annually and this trend is forecast to continue throughout the outlook period, according to Clay Mifsud and Caitlin Murray in the latest quarterly 'Agricultural Commodities' report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
calendar icon 12 March 2013
clock icon 4 minute read
By: Banrie

The Australian chicken meat industry has experienced strong growth, with production increasing on average by around four per cent a year over the past 10 years. This pattern of growth is expected to continue over the short to medium term (to 2017–18); Australian chicken meat production is forecast to increase by a further three per cent in 2013–14 to 1.08 million tonnes. Projected growth in chicken meat production over the next several years is largely in response to increased consumer demand, as retail prices are expected to remain substantially lower than for beef, lamb and pork. By 2017–18 chicken meat production is projected to increase to around 1.2 million tonnes.

The chicken meat industry in Australia is highly concentrated; two major processors supply around three-quarters of the domestic chicken meat market. Chicken meat production accounts for around 95 per cent of total poultry production, with the remainder comprising duck and turkey meat production. The chicken meat industry is more vertically integrated than other livestock sectors. The predominant business model is one in which the processors provide both day-old chicks and feed to growers contracted to raise the chickens over about five weeks.

Australian chicken meat production
f ABARES forecast. z ABARES projection

Australian consumer price index, meats
f ABARES forecast. z ABARES projection

The Australian chicken meat industry continues to import new genetic strains that enable producers to improve numerous traits, including meat yield per bird, feed conversion efficiency and disease resistance. Over the 20 years to 2011–12, the average meat yield per bird increased by an average of one per cent a year to 1.9kg. This trend is expected to continue over the medium term.

Chicken meat consumption is forecast to increase by one per cent in 2013–14 to 45kg per person, as it remains price-competitive against substitute meats. In comparison, per person consumption of beef and veal, pig meat and sheep meat is expected to average 34kg, 27kg and 10kg, respectively, in 2013–14. Over the medium term, per-person consumption of chicken meat is projected to grow to 47kg by 2017–18. Chicken meat is projected to maintain its position as the most consumed meat in Australia.

Australian meat consumption, per person
f ABARES forecast.

Australian chicken meat exports are forecast to fall in 2012–13, reflecting import bans several trading partners placed on Australian poultry. On 9 November 2012, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry informed the World Organisation for Animal Health that a case of avian influenza virus (H7N7) had been detected at an egg farm near Maitland, New South Wales. By 20 December 2012, the affected area had been depopulated, decontaminated and disinfected. However, during this period, importers of Australian poultry, including Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Indonesia, placed temporary bans on Australian exports because of concerns about the safety of Australian chicken meat.

In 2013–14, Australian chicken meat exports are forecast to resume growing, assuming withdrawal of the temporary bans currently imposed. While export shipments are projected to increase over the medium term to meet demand growth in the Asia–Pacific region, most Australian chicken meat production will be consumed domestically.

Outlook for chicken meat
a Shipped weight. f ABARES forecast. z ABARES projection
Source: ABARES; Australian Bureau of Statistics

Further Reading

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March 2013

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