The Australian Poultry Industry offers its services to the market with only a few products. Although the land mass of the country is similar to that of the United States of America, still the poultry products that are exported are quite minor. One major reason for this can be linked to the rainfall that area experiences. The current poultry population of the country is nearly 30 million which indeed elucidates the poor rainfall conditions. Consequently, till now the country has not managed to make its mark among the top poultry producers of the world.
History and Development of Poultry Farming in Australia
The poultry industry of Australia is comparatively young, primarily because of the fact that the first poultry farm houses had been made in the country nearly 40 years back. The same applies to the meat industry which is still quite young in comparison to the other poultry producers of the region. Till the 1960’s there was no sort of governmental records about the start of the poultry production in the region, due to which offering a detailed account in this regard is difficult. There are a number of estimates that state nearly 3 million broilers had been produced in the year 1951, in comparison to the production of 460 million in the year 2007.
Major Poultry Producers in Australia
The major poultry producers in the region include Baiada Poultry Inc. Inghams Enterprises and Turi Foods. Baiada is privately run Poultry Company that is presently the largest poultry company in the country. It has always been known for providing some of the most premium quality products and has been offering its services since the year 1916. The same applies to Inghams Enterprises which also known to be in the lead in terms of chicken and turkey meat. The products offered by these companies are available all over Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, the company also offers a number of non-poultry products including stock feed and related items. The rise in the chicken production in Australia can be credited to these two leading companies.
Broiler Production in Australia-Intensive and Free Range Farming Paradigms
Like the global trends all over the world, Australia has also shown a major growth in terms of broiler production. The two companies mentioned above now control nearly 70 % of the poultry markets with their high quality and top of the line products. Turi Foods controls 10 % of the poultry production. The bird placement density at the farming levels of production is as high as 0.55b per square feet. Some of the companies also prefer to place sexed birds in the settings in order to meet the demands of the markets. The product segmentation in Australia can be divided into two halves. The free range chicken account for 20 to 25 % of the poultry markets, while the remaining amounts are filled by the standard broilers. The high fixed costs in terms of poultry production are yet another reason for which the production is slow in comparison to the other countries. Moreover, the broilers farms are most of the times contracted for doing the job. For this reason, they offer their facilities including the litter, shelter, feed, necessary utilities and the labor for the management of the birds.
Poultry meat consumption in the country has recently overtaken the use of beef. It is quite evident from this pattern that most of the poultry production in the country is dedicated for being used by within the country. The prime source of meat consumption is chicken followed by turkey. The reason for the low turkey consumption is its usage in times of Christmas only. On the other hand, due to the low preference of the beef in the country, most of the beef products are being exported. These patterns of export do come to effectuate the levels of protein availability in the region. Lamb consumption in Australia has also been declining over the span of the past 40 years. In the past the consumption rate used to be around 100lbs per capital, but it has now fallen to 25 lbs. The lamb meat is perceived to be a less healthy meat, which can be one reason leading towards the fall.
Poultry Imports and Exports
Most recently, the poultry exports from the region have been hit by the emergence of the bird flu. In lines to this disease, the exports from the country have now been reduced to half. Although the poultry farms in Australia and other production houses have taken a number of evasive measures for controlling the outbreak and for raising the confidence of other countries in their products, still the poultry exports from Australia are not being considered to be credible. The major countries which made use of the Australian poultry products include Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, US and South Africa. In terms of the imports, the turkey meat is in the lead, which has been increasing on a yearly basis.
Famous poultry breeds in the country include The Araucana, The Australorp, orpingtons, The Plymouth Rock and The Rhode Island Reds, all of which are most used for the purpose of egg production in Australia. Most of the chicken breeds are owned by the hatcheries that use them for dual purposes.