Chicken meat production to rise in 2016-2017

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According to ABARES forecast report, chicken meat production in Australia is forecast to increase by 4 per cent in 2016–17 to 1.20 million tonnes (carcase weight). Chicken slaughter is forecast to increase by 3 per cent and average carcase weight by 1 per cent over the same period.

Previous year results

In 2015–16 chicken meat production rose by 3 per cent to 1.15
million tonnes. The number of birds slaughtered rose at an average rate of 3 per cent a year over the five years to 2015–16 to reach 623 million head. Much of this growth occurred in Queensland, where slaughter was 23 per cent higher in 2015–16 than in 2010–11. In contrast, NSW and Victorian slaughter increased by 2 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively, over the same period.

Carcass weights

Average carcase weights remained relatively unchanged over the five years to 2015–16, at around 1.86 kilograms per bird. This is 50 per cent higher than in 1975–76, 30 per cent higher than in 1995–96 and 5 per cent higher than in 2005–06. Since the 1970s, the chicken meat industry has benefited from productivity gains achieved primarily through increases in bird weights resulting from improved genetics and nutrition.

Prices for feed grains are low and are expected to remain relatively low in 2016–17, supporting a forecast 1 per cent increase in carcase weights as producers seek to increase yield per bird.