Massive chicken venture planned
THE Warwick region appears poised to become a major centre for chicken meat production, with the second plan for a major growing operation lodged with the council this year.
Sam Fessey of South Toolburra has applied for approval to set up a 13-shed facility, capable of growing out 676,000 birds at a time, on the former Danpork piggery site near Pratten.
The site has been controversial in the past with the piggery and a feedlot proposal not proceeding, but Mr Fessey is confident the chicken plan will cause no negative impacts for neighbours and will bring huge economic benefits to the region.
The lodgement of his plan with council follows a similar proposal put up for a site at Elbow Valley by the New South Wales-based Carr Farming Trust, with a three million bird capacity.
The Carr plan is still being assessed by the council, with Mr Fessey's application unlikely to be put on public display until the new year.
Mr Fessey said if successful in gaining approval, he would enter into a supply contract with chicken meat giant Inghams.
"Obviously we are not pre-empting council approval, but we are confident this project will meet all the necessary requirements," Mr Fessey said.
"We have had the appropriate consultants prepare the documentation and it will be designed to best practice.
"For us, we just believe this is a good site from an environmental perspective and there will be no negative impacts for the area.
"In fact it will only be positives, such as the feed coming out of Clifton."
Mr Fessey said the region's low humidity - an important factor in meat chicken growing - was central to Inghams' thinking, along with Warwick's proximity to Brisbane and the increasing metropolitan demand for chicken.
Chicken growing typically involves day-old chicks being transported from hatcheries to grower farms, with the chickens processed elsewhere at around eight weeks.
The Carr Farming Trust plan for Elbow Valley is for 48 grower sheds each housing 60,000 birds a site which includes the former Leitch Pastoral Group-owned base of Condamine River Meats.