The duck meat industry in Australia is relatively new, with significant expansion occurring in the 1970s and 80s. In Australia, 95% of meat ducks produced will be consumed domestically. The main domestic market for whole ducks is the Asian restaurant trade, however, duck meat consumption is rising in Australia with an increasing demand for specialty cuts from restaurants and, most recently, supermarkets. The duck egg industry is very small with mostly small operators producing opportunistically for specialist outlets.
Broiler ducks are raised and reared like meat chickens thus requiring similar structures and operations, although for biosecurity reasons they should not be farmed together. Most ducks are grown under contract, with contracts established between a grower and processor. However, there are some duck producers providing specialty products directly to niche markets.
Australia’s growing demand for duck, as well as its proximity to major markets in Asia, suggests the industry will continue to expand.
Facts and figures
- The Australian duck meat industry is a maturing industry that began expansion in the 1970s and 80s
- While duck consumption rates in Australia are quite low, demand is growing rapidly at around 10% annually
- Australia slaughters around eight million birds per annum with an approximate value of AU$100 million
- Two companies in Australia account for 85% of duck meat production
- Commercial duck enterprises are similar in many ways to commercial poultry enterprises
- The Pekin duck is the preferred breed for commercial duck production in Australia
- Ducks are generally grown under contract with a processor
- Ducks are relatively resistant to most avian diseases and consequently there is a limited vaccination program
In Australia, production is rapidly increasing, fuelled by a dramatic increase in the demand for duck meat. By global standards, Australia’s commercial industry is still small with major expansions taking place only since the 1970s and 80s.
It has been estimated that the industry slaughters around eight million birds annually and is worth approximately AU$100 million per annum. Two companies undertake 85% of this production.
Poultry consumption in Australia was estimated by ABARES to be 37.4kgs per person. Duck meat consumption figures are a minor part of that, with ABARES estimating consumption as approximately 0.5kg per person per annum. While duck consumption figures are small, the growing demand for duck meat in Australia means the industry is expanding at around 10% per annum.