Environmental sustainability, carbon footprint and emissions

The Australian chicken meat industry is committed to improving environmental and sustainable outcomes. The production of feed, importation of soybean meal, electricity usage and meat processing each contribute to the industry’s emissions. To reduce this, the chicken meat industry is investigating pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and continue striving towards reducing emissions along the supply chain.

To reduce the GHG emissions from chicken feed production, research has highlighted the potential of optimising the diet of meat chickens to include low emission feed ingredients and low dietary crude protein rations. This is also beneficial for managing manure-related emissions, as there is less ammonia in the manure from the optimised dietary content. Waste-to-energy projects offer ways to reduce emissions from fossil fuel consumption whilst utilising waste manure as a renewable energy source on farms. The implementation of solar power and green energy on poultry farms has the potential to alleviate the GHG emissions associated with maintaining shed environments or during transportation and processing. Emissions can be further alleviated through returning used chicken shed litter to the soil and increasing farm vegetation.

Research is essential for improving the environmental sustainability of the sector by providing alternative methods and technologies that reduce GHG emissions. Current and published research funded by the AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Program plus tools and resources include:

The Australian Chicken Meat Federation website has further information on the environmental footprint of the chicken meat industry. See also the Planning and environment guideline for establishing meat chicken farms: Guide 2 – Applicant guide and the companion guide Planning and environment guideline for establishing meat chicken farms: Guide 1 – Assessment guide.

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