Steggles closure will cost economy $150m

THE closure of the Steggles chicken processing plant at Wulkuraka this month will cost the state's economy up to $150 million.

The gross value of Queensland's poultry production in 2017-18 is expected to decrease by 14 per cent from last financial year as a result of the closure of the Baiada processing plant.

According to the Queensland AgTrends 2017-2018 report released this month, despite the fact demand for chicken meat remains strong and it is still the most consumed meat protein in Queensland due to relatively lower retail prices, "the decision over the Baiada closure is believed to have a significant effect on the industry and local communities".

Exact losses are forecast to range from $100 million on Department of Agriculture and Fisheries estimates to $150 million on Queensland Chicken Growers Association estimates.

The decrease will bring the value of the poultry industry in line with those in 2015-2016 when 131 million birds were slaughtered per annum.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the downturn was a direct result of the closure of the Baiada processing plant "which had a significant impact on the industry."

Breakfast food driving agriculture

AVOCADOS, eggs and tomatoes are in increasingly high demand on breakfast tables and it's helping to feed the agriculture sector.

The demand is responsible for a boost in some of Queensland's primary industry commodities, according to the latest AgTrends report.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the total value of Queensland's primary industry commodities for 2017-18 was estimated to be $19.87 billion.

"The report suggests our primary industry commodities will be 11 per cent greater than the average for the past five years," Minister Furner said.

"There are a number of factors that are causing some industries to be down, while others are expected to increase in value.

"For example, avocados are forecast to be $240 million, 44 per cent greater than the average for the past five years.

"While tomato production is forecast at $298 million, 10 per cent higher than the previous five year average despite impacts from Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

"Other growth industries include egg production, with the gross value forecast for 2017-18 at $244 million which is 23 per cent higher than average for the past 5 years.

"This can be attributed to increasing demand and production."

Mr Furner said an increase in price and larger crop areas had caused the sorghum and chickpea industries to become the largest growing in the state.

"Sorghum for the September quarter of 2017-18 is projected to be $359 million which is 121 per cent higher than the average for the past 5 years.

"Chickpeas have risen 121 per cent over the average for the past five years with an estimated value of $633 million for 2017-18."

Mr Furner said some industries had dipped in value compared to previous years.

"There are a number of reasons for this lower forecast," he said.

"Take beef, our most significant agricultural commodity, for example which entered a rebuilding phase following years of record cattle turn-off for processing and live export.

"The 2017-18 gross value of production at the farm gate is forecast to be $5.38 billion which is still 13 per cent higher than the average for the past five years."

The 2017-18 top Queensland individual commodities are: 

  • cattle and calves
  • sugar cane
  • cotton
  • chickpeas
  • bananas
  • poultry for meat
  • grain sorghum
  • wheat
  • tomatoes
  • avocados


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