02 9929 4077

Level 7, 122 Walker Street
PO Box 579, North Sydney NSW 2059




02 9929 4077

02 9925 0627

ABN 24 077 883 026


Location of the IndustryDistribution across the six States
Typical Infrastructure Costs

Location of the Industry

Poultry processing plants have developed close to markets and labour sources, with many of the largest operations within 50km of a capital city. This keeps distribution and transport costs down and ensures labour and other services are available.

Chicken grow-out farms, where chickens grow from day-olds until they are ready for processing, are generally within 100km of the processing plant. Growers look for:

  • a nearby feed mill
  • guaranteed water supply
  • guaranteed electric power, preferably three phase
  • access for heavy transport for feed and live poultry
  • available labour, depending on farm size
  • available services such as tradesmen, servicemen and veterinarians

Major Chicken Meat Producing Regions of Australia:

 Location of Chicken Farms

While major centres of chicken meat production have developed near major capital cities, the industry is becoming more regionalised as urbanisation spreads. Major areas of meat chicken growing are:

  • NSW - outskirts of the Sydney metropolitan area, Mangrove Mountain / central coast, Newcastle, Tamworth and Griffith areas and Byron Bay
  • Queensland - Redland Bay south of Brisbane, and other areas to Brisbane’s south, south west and north and in Mareeba
  • Victoria - Mornington Peninsula , east of Melbourne, and Geelong and Bendigo areas
  • South Australia - outskirts of Adelaide and the Two Wells area
  • Western Australia – Perth’s outer metropolitan areas.
  • Tasmania – outer metropolitan areas
  • Northern Territory – no commercial meat farms

Distribution across the six States


2012/13 NSW % VIC % QLD % SA+WA % TAS %
% of total slaughterings (Total = 563,258,500 birds) 30.4 23.6 21.8 24.2 n.a.
% of total chicken meat produced (Total = 1,046,169 t) 31.7 23.3 21.0 24.0 n.a.

Source: ABS Catalogue No. 7215.0 - "Livestock Products, Australia "

n.a. = not available; due to the small number of reporting entities, figures for Tasmania are not published by ABS and figures for SA and WA are combined to protect commercial confidentiality.


The actual figures relating to a specific sector of the pie charts below appear when the mouse is pointing to them.

Note: The actual figures relating to a specific sector of the pie chart above appear when the mouse is pointing to it.

Breeding farms owned by the integrated chicken companies are strategically located across Australia, with a trend towards the siting new Great Grandparent and Grandparent breeder farms in areas more isolated from the traditional poultry rearing areas. This is to reduce the risk of these valuable flocks being exposed to disease agents.

Two companies import new genetic stocks regularly and have Great Grandparent and Grandparent breeding flocks. 

Most integrators, particularly the large and medium companies, maintain parent breeding flocks, with males and females purchased as day-old chicks from the two importers.  Fertile eggs from these parents are then hatched to grow out as broilers for processing.

Other companies purchase day-old broiler chickens from the integrators to grow out for processing.

Hatcheries are located close to major chicken growing areas.

Most feed is supplied from mills owned and operated by the vertically integrated chicken companies. The remainder is supplied by commercial feed mills, formulating diets to the nutritional specifications determined by the chicken companies. The location of company feed mills is driven largely by transport costs, so most major feed mills are close to significant areas of chicken farming – although access to feed ingredients is also a factor.

Typical Infrastructure Costs

Typical Infrastructure Costs

The cost of facilities is very high and those in the industry are clearly committed to it for the long term.  The following example illustrates this point.  The total infrastructure required to support the production of 750,000 broilers per week (about 8% of current total production capacity of the Australian chicken meat industry) is estimated to be worth 325 million dollar, made up of the following major components: 

  • A processing plant capable of handling a volume of 750,000 broilers per week costs in the vicinity of  45 million dollar.
  • Fertile egg production (breeder farms) required to grow 750,000 broilers per week represent an investment of the order of 60 million dollar, while a modern hatchery complex costs around 25 million dollar, and a feedmill to produce the volume of feed necessary costs about 45 million dollar.  Broilersheds needed to ensure a supply of 750,000 broilers per week represent an investment of some 150 million dollar (equivalent to around 50 average farms housing 150,000 chickens; see next dot point below).   
  • A typical family farm would house 100,000 to 150,000 broiler chickens and produce a total of 550,000-800,000 birds a year in several batches. The cost of establishing a new chicken farm (incl. land) with a capacity of 150,000 birds is likely to cost in the vicinity of 3 to 3.5 million dollar in terms of up front investment.  

The two largest integrated companies (Inghams and Baiada) are headquarted in NSW, the traditional "home of the chicken meat industry" but have operations in all other states. A further two major processors are located in the Sydney Basin; another processor is located in Mt Cotton (QLD), one in Bendigo (VIC) and one in Thomastown and Geelong (VIC)

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