Australia’s chicken meat industry is one of the most efficient in the world.

Through targeted high-impact RD&E projects, the AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Program will achieve significant benefits to industry designed to maintain its position as the number one consumed meat in the country.

About the industry

The Australian chicken meat industry is worth $2.78 billion (gross value of production 2019-20), compared to 2.72 billion in 2018-19. The industry has an approximate retail value of around $6.6 billion.

Growth in production and demand for free range chicken meat has been particularly strong over the past five years (approximately 15% of the total market) and this trend is expected to continue.

Chicken meat production in Australia is dominated by a small number of large, vertically integrated, privately owned businesses. Inghams Enterprises (public company) & Baiada Poultry (private) supply 70% of meat chickens. These companies typically contract out the growing of their chickens to independent chicken growers. Approximately 800 contract growers rear about 80% of Australia’s meat chickens.

The industry has a strong presence in rural and regional communities, it accounts for 0.46% of employment across Australia directly employing about 58,000 people (full time equivalent) It accounts for 0.45% of Australian GDP. The chicken meat industry purchases around five per cent of all grain grown in Australia.

The industry has many opportunities to capitalise on chicken meat’s modest environmental footprint and to further reduce its environmental impacts and emissions.

Continuous improvement, including RD&E to optimise flock performance, efficiency and industry productivity, will be required to enable chicken meat to retain its favourable position as the most affordable and popular meat on the domestic market.


The program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants. This levy revenue is matched by AgriFutures Australia at up to 0.5% of GVP.

AgriFutures Australia is an essential participant in the Poultry Hub. The Chicken Meat Program also collaborates with other rural research and development corporations.

Research investments are guided by the Chicken Meat R&D Advisory Panel.

Industry Advisory Panel 

AgriFutures Australia is committed to working with industry to deliver research and development outcomes. We work in partnership with advisory panels to decide on research priorities and to make investment decisions each year.



RD&E plan

The industry’s current RD&E objectives are:

  1. Improving Food Safety of Australian Chicken Meat
  2. Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment
  3. Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain
  4. Improved ability to meet consumer needs.


Georgie Townsend
Manager, Research
0438 495 325

Annie Lane
Manager, Research
0419 787 219

About your levy

Australian primary industries that choose to invest in the levies system prescribe the amount of levy or charge applied to a commodity under the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, National Residue Survey (Customs) Levy Act 1998 and the National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Act 1998.

Levy and charge revenue can be directed to biosecurity preparedness and emergency plant pest and animal disease responses, residue testing, marketing and research and development. It is the decision of a primary industry to determine the proportion of how a levy or charge is directed to each of these activities. 

The Levy is collected and distributed via the Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment website.

AgriFutures Australia receives the Research & Development levy allocation to invest in line with the industry objectives of the Strategic RD&E Plan. AgriFutures Australia also receives matching funding from the Australian Government, allocated to the Program at 50c per dollar of the program’s eligible expenditure.

View the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program income and expenditure for 2019-20 statement.

Related Publications


Final report: Meat chicken sexing methods and the use of single or mixed-sex chickens in research


Final report summary: Meat chicken sexing methods and the use of single or mixed-sex chickens in research


Final report: Electrolyte supplementation to alleviate the adverse effects of severe heat stress in meat chickens


Market insights for Australia’s chicken meat industry

Related resources

Search regions suitable for chicken meat

Search now

Beak to Beak

Check out all the past issues of our Beak to Beak newsletter.

Read more

Feed Mill Biosecurity guidelines

The Feed Mill Biosecurity guidelines have been developed based on information provided by industry and in conjunction with the Stock Feed Manufacturers’ Council of Australia and the Feed Safe® Feed Mill Hygiene Guidelines.

This project (PRJ 010446) was funded through the Agrifutures™ Chicken Meat Program.

Watch Video

Drivers for Innovation in the Poultry Industry

Jessica Pitkin's study found that despite vast amounts of new technology and modern practices available to the poultry industry to improve productivity, shedding efficiency and animal welfare outcomes, the adoption rate of these technologies across Australia and worldwide is generally low.


Beak to Beak Audio Recordings

Beak to Beak audio recordings bring you the latest research insights that you can listen to on the move. The recordings give you an overview of research projects including implications and findings and keep you up to date with the latest program developments.

Listen now

Biosecurity on farms during research

Become biosecurity aware when undertaking research – remember you are at the forefront of good biosecurity practice.



An initiative of the Poultry CRC in Australia, PoultryHub was developed to share information about commercial poultry production. Students and educators from Australia and around the world are using PoultryHub to learn about poultry and poultry production, stimulating interest in poultry science and hopefully dispelling myths and misconceptions surrounding poultry production.

Read more

Solar PV assessment tool for chicken farmers

A simple self-assessment tool to assist Australian meat chicken growers make a preliminary assessment of the feasibility of solar PV for their farms; a companion tool to the publication “Solar guidelines for Australian meat chicken growers".


Tunnel Ventilation Fan Comparison Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet allows growers to input information specific to their farm circumstances and helps them to identify the most efficient and cheapest fan for their situation. This is a companion tool to the publication “Review of fan efficiency in meat chicken sheds”.


Ventilation Fan Cost Calculation Spreadsheet

A tool to assist growers to calculate the potential energy and cost savings of replacing fans in their own situation. This tools supports the publication “How to reduce costs and energy by replacing inefficient ventilation fans on meat chicken sheds”.


Spreadsheet: Minimum Ventilation for Poultry House Moisture Management

Before opening the “min vent and poultry house tightness calculator - metric (v1.0 beta)” file you must first open the “Poultrypschfunctions” file.


Latest News and Events


Applications Open: AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Advisory Panel Chair

AgriFutures Australia is seeking applications from suitably qualified individuals for the position of Chair of the Chicken RD&E Advisory Panel.


Future proofing water security for Australia’s chicken meat industry

The Australian chicken meat industry currently delivers more economic and nutritional value per megalitre of water than other meat products and horticultural industries. It’s now focused on finding ways to get smarter about its future water security.