Energy prices in Australia have risen sharply over the past decade, and putting pressure on businesses of all kinds, with the agriculture industry being affected more than most.
Chicken is the most popular form of protein for Australians largely as it’s cheap to buy and easy to prepare. According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, over the past 20 years prices for poultry have remained flat. This is great for consumers, but not for farm operators, especially as energy costs increase.
For smaller companies, the situation is being exacerbated by increasing competition from large operators such as listed growers ProTen and Rural Funds Management (RFM), which are building million-bird farms in Griffith and Tamworth.
Larger, more efficient companies, are benefiting the most from rising protein demand. According to the Victorian Farmer’s Federation, the market share of chicken farms in that state – which are typically smaller in size – has dropped from 28 per cent five years ago to just 21 per cent.