- New research shows Australian chicken meat production is highly water efficient.
- As competition for water increases, the chicken meat industry is well positioned to deliver greater economic value than most other commodities.
- The report has identified that there are both on-farm and off-farm opportunities to improve water security for the chicken meat industry. This includes pathways to improve water allocation security and the implementation of new technologies.
Australia is facing unprecedented water shortages in response to a changing climate and rising demand for water which presents a serious challenge for the local chicken meat industry.
New research funded by AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program and delivered by Integrity Ag and Environment, has addressed this challenge head on, investigating water use and water security in Australian chicken breeder farms, hatcheries, grow-out farms, and processing plants.
Delivering the most value per megalitre
Compared to other Australian agricultural commodities, chicken meat production was found to be highly water efficient. Chicken meat outperforms all of the comparison horticultural and meat products assessed in the study for both economic and nutritional value per megalitre of water required.
Marty Robinson, Integrity Ag and Environment, Environmental Engineer has worked to deliver the research project over the past 18 months with lead researcher Eugene McGahan, Integrity Ag and Environment, Agricultural and Environmental Engineer.
Mr Robinson said, “We were pleased to find that the chicken meat industry is one of Australia’s top performers for water use efficiency. That makes it one of the most economically valuable industries in Australian agriculture and that’s something consumers and policymakers alike should know about.”
Pathways to water productivity
According to Annie Lane, AgriFutures Australia Manager, Research (Chicken Meat) the intent of the research was to identify and recommend clear pathways to improve water productivity for the chicken meat industry in order to future proof its water security.
“The research has given us not only a robust knowledge base about the industry’s water use but also a number of real solutions to improve water security. These include some close loop options as well as water allocation or licensing policy settings that can be changed.”