Ingham’s – Australia and New Zealand’s largest integrated poultry producer – has expanded its capacity to meet demand for chicken as the most sustainable land-based meat protein by 40 per cent in Victoria and 50 per cent in New Zealand.
At the same time, Ingham’s is investing big in sustainability projects.
Ensuring capacity to produce chicken meat to fulfil demand, while improving sustainability and assuring animal-welfare – with 100 per cent of Ingham’s Australian sheds certified RSPCA Approved, and the company being the first poultry producer to be fully SPCA Certified in New Zealand – are key areas for Ingham’s which underpin the company’s Always Good promise.
Helping to drive forward meat-chicken production focussed on animal welfare and sustainability are the over 8000 Australians and New Zealanders employed by Ingham’s.
Feeding the nation
Chicken is the most popular meat in Australia, with 70 per cent of households serving chicken at least twice per week and the average person enjoying around 50 kilograms of chicken each year. Chicken is also the most sustainable land-based meat, generating the smallest environmental impact – from hatchery to farm to plate – of all land-meat products.
In Australia, capacity growth has been created by Ingham’s through new broiler and breeder farms, which are purpose-built to the highest standards – with Ingham’s being a producer of RSPCA Approved chicken, and having RSPCA Approved certification across 100 per cent of its sheds.
In East-Gippsland, Victoria, Ingham’s opened two new barn-raised broiler farms in FY2022 and has another due to finish construction in FY2024.
When operating at full capacity, these three farms will nurture more than 6.8 million chickens each year. To support growth, Ingham’s constructed a new hatchery in Pakenham, Victoria in 2021 which delivers the highest level of welfare through HatchCare incubation technology providing optimal temperatures, ventilation and lighting, free access to feed and water, reduces chick-handling stress and ensures a quiet, comfortable environment for chicks as soon as they hatch – resulting in healthier and stronger chicks.
Ingham’s Pakenham hatchery has the capacity to nurture 1.1 million eggs into healthy chicks every week and is critical to meet future demand for chicken meat.
In Casino, New South Wales, Ingham’s is constructing a new breeder farm to boost production by a further 700,000 eggs per week – which are then hatched and nurtured into meat-chickens.
The new farm will be part of Ingham’s northern New South Wales network, which includes existing breeder farms in Coombell, Boorabee Park and Yorklea, feeding into hatcheries at McKees Hill and Mount Alford.
Investing to drive forward sustainability
Ingham’s business growth is also focused on sustainability.
In Western Australia, a new water recycling and treatment plant at Ingham’s Osborne Park primary processing facility has reduced incoming water supply by 40 per cent.
In Victoria, at Ingham’s primary processing plant in Somerville, the company invested $18.5 million in new equipment to process increasing meat-chicken numbers more efficiently, including new spin chillers that use less water.
The advanced wastewater treatment plant at Somerville enables the recovery of 62 per cent of all water used on site, which is then treated for reuse during processing. Overall, Ingham’s has reduced water usage at Somerville by over 30 per cent and plans to further reduce this.
In Tasmania, all Ingham’s farms have moved to 100 per cent outdoor free range, and the company’s new and larger distribution centre at Truganina features a 4 Star Green design including solar panels which can supply up to 100 per cent of the centre’s energy consumption.
Opened in 2022, Ingham’s Truganina distribution hub allows for increased capacity to meet demand for products with closer location to transport routes.
Ingham’s is also set to upgrade its poultry facilities at Sorell in a landmark sustainability project, with the company awarded an $11 million grant from the Federal Government.
The upgrade works will commence in 2024 and be completed by mid-2025, including a new wastewater plant to process water for sustainable irrigation, reusing up to 50 kilolitres of water per day – located further away from the facility’s nearby wetlands, and installation of a spin chiller to reduce water intensity and increase production output by 30 per cent.
Funds from the grant will also be used to install an innovative heat recovery system at Ingham’s Premaydena hatchery to recycle heat released by the embryos during the incubation process.
Ingham’s managing director and chief executive officer, Andrew Reeves said, “Ingham’s products are already recognised for our high animal welfare with all of our meat chicken growing farms in Australia certified by the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme to their indoor requirements and we recently became the first poultry producer in New Zealand to have all of our meat chicken farms SPCA certified.”
“Our high animal welfare practices have been achieved with thanks to the work of our local farmers whose focus has been on upgrading their farming facilities to support capacity growth combined with modern farming practices that improve the quality of life for our animals.”