Australasian Turkey Federation
Turkey Breeders Australia
Turkey has become one of Australia's more popular meats with many people seeing the fantastic taste and health benefits of turkey, particularly for those on a low-fat diet. The Australasian Turkey Federation (ATF) is an organisation for turkey producers and turkey breeders that provides turkey information and relevant guidelines for turkey growers.
The Australasian Turkey Federation can provide an update on turkey grower's news and events in the turkey industry and we also have a range of turkey recipes you can use when looking at cooking with the many cuts of turkey meat available.
The Australasian Turkey Federation has more than 20 members and others are welcome to become a member of ATF or view our ATF membership list. Within the ATF there are two main turkey producers in the turkey market and other processors of various size. These suppliers cover commercial grow out, free range and organic.
There are five dedicated turkey processing plants and about six that process turkeys and chickens. White, hybrid turkeys are used almost exclusively and artificial insemination is practiced rather than natural mating.
A turkey hen may lay more than 100 eggs per year but fewer than 90 turkey poults will survive to turkey procession weight from these eggs. Turkeys are held on separate breeder farms with each farm holding up to 7000 hens. These layers are in flocks of up to 3000. Broiler sheds hold 8000 to 14000 growing birds and there are usually four or five sheds on large farms. Straw, wood shavings and sawdust are the bedding materials used. These are normally changed at the end of each batch.
Free Range Turkey
Free range turkeys are produced on a few small farms and these fetch a premium price. Some producers claim to have organically-grown turkeys but it is now difficult to obtain organically-grown feedstuffs and to conform to other requirements.
The main challenges to turkey producers are environmental control, egg production consistency, brooding of turkey poults and litter management due to caking and aggravated by drinking water spillage. Demand for whole turkeys is mainly at Christmas and then for the smaller birds of 4.5kg - 6.5kg live weight. For large growers this may only be 10% of production. The rest of the year demand is for further processed products such as boned or semi de-boned products.
Feed contributes to 60% of turkey production and the cost of raising turkey poults is about 15%. Diets are specially formulated and from the first 2-3 weeks turkey poults are fed a high protein pre-starter diet then a starter diet with declining levels of protein but increasing levels of energy.
The Australasian Turkey Federation has a long history of supporting the turkey industry and is able to provide a range of Australian turkey processing information to members and those interested in the turkey industry or simply in turkey meat and how to cook it.