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About Queensland’s egg industry
In Queensland, the egg industry includes large vertically integrated companies, medium-sized businesses and small lifestyle farms.
The small lifestyle sector has the largest number of farms; however they produce the smallest amount of eggs.
The large companies produce the majority of Queensland's eggs.
The egg production supply chain
The Poultry Hub's Layer farm sequence provides detailed information about the egg supply chain.
The majority of eggs sold in Queensland are whole shell eggs with the bulk of these supplying the demand of the large retailers. Other markets where egg producers may sell eggs include:
- wholesalers that supply the manufacturing, food service and catering sectors
- larger companies (e.g. egg suppliers and distributors)
- smaller retailers (e.g. small supermarket chains)
- direct to restaurants and food services
- public sales and markets.
Eggs are generally sold according to production system differentiation and size.
Approximately 85% of Queensland's egg production occurs in the Darling Downs region. Other areas of the state where egg production occurs include:
- South East Queensland, including the Sunshine Coast hinterland area where most production is small scale, pasture based free range farms
- North Queensland, from Townsville to the Atherton Tableland
- Central Queensland, including the Mackay, Whitsundays, Rockhampton and Gladstone regions
- the Fraser Coast and Mary Valley regions.
Queensland's egg industry has 4 main production systems that laying hens are housed in. These are:
- Cage production – modern cage systems with hens housed in environmentally controlled sheds, with automated egg collection and manure removal. Feed and water is supplied to hens through automatic feed and watering systems. Cage eggs represent over 50% of all eggs produced.
- Free range production – hens are able to roam freely between indoor and outdoor areas during daylight hours. Free range eggs have increased market share over the last 5 years and represent about 40% of eggs produced.
- Barn laid – hens in barn systems are free to roam within a shed. They are not kept in cages and do not have access to an outdoor range.
- Organic – organic systems are free range and hens are fed organic feed. Always check to ensure that any eggs labelled as organic is recognised under a nationally accredited program.
The Australian Egg Corporation Limited YouTube Channel has a series of videos that demonstrate the different egg production systems.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2014-15 the gross value of production of the state's egg industry was $202 million at the farm gate. The industry has grown, on average, over 7% each year for the past 5 years. Contributing factors to this growth include:
- the continued shift towards production of high value eggs
- the value of eggs as a nutritious protein source
- strong demand
- improved efficiencies.
Eggs are a natural source of vitamins, minerals, protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants.
In particular, eggs contain high quality protein with 1 serve providing an average of 12.7g of protein or a quarter of the recommended dietary amount for adults. Find out more about the nutritional content of eggs.