The Sustainable Precision Feeding in Broiler Chickens in Australia project is a world-first research consortium that is helping to secure the future of Australia’s most popular animal protein.
Funded by AgriFutures Australia and led by University of Queensland’s (UQ) Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, the Program represents a world-first global collaboration of eleven Australian and international universities, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), and nine research organisations and project sponsors.
The Program will investigate how chicken meat producers can use nutrition to optimise gut health, animal welfare, and sustainability. To achieve this outcome six programs have been created to address the priorities of research:
- designing broiler breeder nutrition profiles to facilitate the development of the progeny
- re-defining amino acid nutrition principles that minimise dietary protein levels
- implementing innovative feed formulations that decrease reliance on soybean
- seeding a healthy chicken microbiota and nourishing it
- selecting bacterial functional signatures of a healthy gut
- adapting nutritional principles to improve litter quality and environmental impact.
The Program will train 10 PhD students, foster 19 early-mid career researchers (EMCRs), organise four satellite symposia with international collaborators, sponsor ten industry placement programs for students and EMCRs and anticipates over 20 scientific publications.
News updates, project reports, funding opportunities and other content relating to the Program can be found below.
Funded by AgriFutures Australia and led by UQ’s Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, the Program represents a world-first global collaboration of eleven Australian and international universities, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), and nine research organisations and project sponsors.
Reports & resources
Professor Eugeni Roura announced the commencement of the Nutrition, Gut Health and Environment Program at the Australia Poultry Science Symposium in February 2023.
The Chicken Nutrition, Gut Health and Environment research consortium held a showcase on 5 September 2023 in Brisbane with more than 70 guests from across the Australian and New Zealand chicken meat research and industry communities.
View the showcase presentations:
Further reports & resources from the Program will be published on this page, and in the Knowledge Hub, when they are released.
Frequently asked questions
What is the aim of the Sustainable Precision Feeding in Broiler Chickens in Australia project?
The Sustainable Precision Feeding in Broiler Chickens in Australia project is a world first.
The project is a major collaborative contract arrangement pulling together a large program of research, including leading Australian and international researchers and partner organisations. This involves a complexity not seen before in a chicken meat program of research or by any other research and Development Corporation (RDC) in Australia.
The project will train 10 PhD students, foster 19 early to mid-career researchers (EMCRs), organise four satellite symposia with international collaborators and industry involvement, sponsor ten 6-month industry placement programs for students and researchers, and anticipates in excess of 20 scientific publications.
The project aims to develop advanced nutrition strategies that enable greater use of local resources along with improved management practices across the production chain, including at the farm level.
Impacts include substantial improvements to chicken meat production processes and food safety (with reduced reliance on antibiotics), improvements in animal welfare through better health and shed conditions, and reduction in the environmental impact of the chicken meat industry.
Project summaries and researcher spotlights will also be developed as the project progresses.
Why is this project being funded?
At AgriFutures Australia, the aim of our Chicken Meat Program is to invest in research, development and extension (RD&E) to increase knowledge and understanding that fosters an innovative, adaptive and valuable chicken meat industry.
The Australian chicken meat industry aims to continuously meet the evolving demands of its strong consumer base and stakeholders. These include high welfare standards, long-term industry sustainability and mitigation of environmental impact. Notably, all of these are impacted by animal nutrition.
Australians currently consume more chicken meat per annum than any other protein source, and the Australian chicken meat industry is a pillar of success in the broader agriculture sector.
The Australian chicken meat industry contributes $7.9 billion to the Australian economy, sustains 58,000 jobs across the country, and is growing consistently at 4% per annum across the past three decades. With a gross value of production of $2.78 billion and an approximate retail value of $6.6 billion, the industry accounts for 0.45% of the Australian GDP.
The AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program focuses on chicken meat production in Australia (from genetic factors through to production and post-farm gate processing) to improve food safety, develop and implement measures to improve industry environmental impact, improve production throughout the supply chain, and strengthen the industry’s ability to meet consumer needs.
Who is involved in the Program?
Funded by AgriFutures Australia and led by Professor Eugeni Roura from University of Queensland’s (UQ) Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, the project represents a world-first global collaboration of eleven Australian and international universities, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), and nine research organisations and project sponsors.
This project represents a world-first research program structure – a consortium of Australian and international researchers and partner organisations – with this level of complexity not seen in a chicken meat program of research or by any RDC in Australia before.
How is the research being undertaken?
The project has been structured around five key research programs:
- maternal programming and amino acid precision feeding
- carbohydrate precision feeding
- innovative diet formulations for modern genotype broiler chickens
- precision early gut microbiota development
- litter management to support production, welfare and reduce environmental impacts.
A sixth stream of work will integrate the nutritional strategies developed in programs 1, 2 and 3 to assess return on investment, facilitate industry adoption and link novel nutritional approaches (from previous programs) with improved broiler gut health and in-shed environment.