Chicken Meat

Program Overview

Overview

Through focused R&D the Rural Industries R&D Corporation Chicken Meat Program supports increased sustainability and profitability in the chicken meat industry.

The program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants. This levy revenue is matched by RIRDC at up to 0.5 per cent of gross value of production (GVP). RIRDC is an essential participant in the second term Poultry CRC and invests in the CRC's R&D activities and jointly invests in R&D with the CRC. The Chicken Meat Program also collaborates with other rural R&D corporations.

Research investments are guided by the Chicken Meat R&D Advisory Committee, following the R&D Plan for the Chicken Meat Program 2009-2014.

Chicken meat production in Australia is dominated by a small number of quite large, vertically integrated, privately owned enterprises. These companies typically own hatcheries, feed mills, breeding farms and processing plants, in the case of two such companies, across a number of states. They usually contract out the growing of their meat chickens to independent contract chicken growers, of which there are approximately 800 nationally.

Each of the major companies operating in the industry invests significant funds into in-house R&D, particularly in the areas of product development, marketing and market development, processing technologies, quality control procedures, distribution and packaging.

The Australian chicken meat industry is relatively mature, and has a history of rapid adoption of new technology. This has resulted allowed the industry to achieve significant productivity improvements over the past fifty years.

Genetic stocks, processing and housing technology is largely imported, and this situation is likely to continue into the future. There has been significant investment by growers in recent years in upgraded housing systems.

Feeding, health management and bird husbandry programs usually require significant adaptation to suit Australian conditions, and this needs to be supported by R&D to optimise flock performance, efficiency and industry productivity. Continued productivity improvements will be required over the coming five years if chicken meat is to retain its favourable positioning as the most affordable meat, which in turn will drive its increasing popularity with consumers.

Opportunities for continued productivity enhancements, through the adoption of improved technology on-farm (in areas such as bird health and welfare, husbandry, nutrition and feed management) and elsewhere are key components of the RIRDC program.

The chicken meat industry has many opportunities to capitalise upon opportunities associated with chicken meat's modest environmental footprint relative to alternative animal protein sources, and also to further reduce its environmental impacts and emissions.

National tunnel ventilation workshops - June 2013

The RIRDC Chicken Meat Program sponsored a series of workshops in late June 2013 on managing tunnel ventilation during cold weather. 

Six workshops were held in five states; it is intended that additional workshops will be hosted in those meat chicken producing areas that weren’t covered in this round of workshops in May 2014. 

The workshops were  conducted by Mike Czarick (Extension Engineer) and Brian Fairchild (Extension Poultry Scientist), from the University of Georgia. 

Participants are invited to access the presentations and interactive spreadsheets from the workshop here:

Circulation and exhaust fan operation

How to best bring in fresh air

Ventilating based on humidity

Poultry house moisture control

House temperature and performance

Moisture, litter and performance

Air quality and bird health

Spreadsheet: Minimum Ventilation for Poultry House Moisture Management (NOTEThe spreadsheet used in the workshops for calculating Minimum Ventilation for Poultry House Moisture Management can be accessed in the file “australia.zip”. The file folder is compressed so it will have to be uncompressed before you can access the files. To download the zip file, click on the link above, and then open the folder titled "australia”. This folder contains two files. Before opening the “min vent and poultry house tightness calculator - metric (v1.0 beta)” file you must first open the “Poultrypschfunctions” file.  When a window pops up asking about macros, select “enable macros”. Then open the "min vent and poultry house tightness - metric (v1.0 beta)" calculator. If it is not done in this order the minimum ventilation spreadsheet will not work.)

Priorities and Deliverables

Priorities for 2013–14

Address husbandry, nutrition, disease management and physiology issues that constrain production and productivity in the chicken meat industry and/or which result in adverse animal welfare outcomes 

Deliverables in 2013-14

Undertake research for the Chicken Meat industry to address nutrition, health and welfare


Performance Measures

  • At least seven projects, focusing on animal welfare, production efficiency and environmental outputs completed and at least seven project outputs available on-line.

  • Feasibility of at least one new animal health product, one new diagnostic test and one new technique for monitoring odour emissions from farms assessed.


  • At least one new diagnostic test to be available to industry.

R&D Plan

The Rural Industries R&D Corporation has managed the Chicken Meat R&D Program on behalf of industry since 1995 and the current R&D Plan is the industry's third Five Year R&D Plan with RIRDC.

The major themes driving the Five Year Plan include:

  • Rebuilding the industry's human and institutional research capacity.
  • The imperative for increased productivity and efficiency.
  • Understanding, adapting to and profiting from climate change.
  • Collaboration and working toward the National Poultry RD&E strategy.
  • Recognition that food safety is imperative to ensure ongoing consumer confidence.
  • Acknowledgement that bird welfare is a legitimate community concern that warrants research.
  • Understanding that certain types of market research are a valid use of industry R&D resources.

The Five Year Plan is consistent with RIRDC's ongoing support for the Australian Poultry Cooperative Research Centre.


Key contacts and links

RIRDC Research Manager

Dr Vivien Kite
Ph: 02 9929 4077
Fax: 02 9925 0627
Email: vivien.kite@chicken.org.au


RIRDC Program Coordinator

Margie Heath
Ph: 02 6271 4145
Email: margaret.heath@rirdc.gov.au

Australian Chicken Meat Federation

The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) is the peak body for the chicken meat industry.
Web: www.chicken.org.au
Phone: 02 9929 4077
Email: acmf@chicken.org.au

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Publications

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RIRDC Projects and Results

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Current projects

All of RIRDC's current chicken meat research projects appear here. Click on a project name for more information about that project.

Current projects

Completed projects

All chicken meat research projects completed by RIRDC appear here. Click on a project name for more information about that project.

Completed projects
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