Our processing plant is the heart of the business, located at Lockwood. First built in 1985, the plant has been expanded upon numerous times to become what it is today, processing hundreds of thousands of chicken every week, employing more than 700 people plus 300 specialised contractors over two shifts.
A new state-of-the-art primary processing facility was commissioned in 2012. With world-class technology imported from Holland, the primary processing area of our Lockwood plant is the most modern facility in Australia. With a strong focus on animal welfare, energy efficiency, water reduction and cleanliness, the facility is second to none.
The most significant improvements in bird welfare include a bird lairage area that is fully enclosed, with temperature, humidity and air pressure all controlled for bird comfort. Blue lighting is on the dark, relaxing end of the spectrum, and we’ve implemented the newest gas stunning technology that is painless yet completely natural, using a mix of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Investment in the Best Technology
Aeroscalding: We are the first producer in the southern hemisphere to implement Aeroscalding, which uses a hot, humid air running at a high velocity to heat the birds’ skin prior to plucking. Small jets spray a fine hot mist into the air that is circulated with high speed fans. This process is much cleaner and more hygienic than traditional immersion scalding methods implemented by most poultry producers and uses a lot less water and power. We are always keen to invest in technology that uses fewer resources and produces a higher quality product.
Low Scald: The Aeroscalding method operates at a Low Scald level and produces a ‘natural’ looking bird, ensuring all skin layers remain intact, to lock in the natural moisture of the bird and prevent excess water uptake. Most importantly, Low Scald produces a product with a distinctly enhanced flavour.
Air Chilling: During processing, the bird spends 150 minutes in a refrigerated air-chilled room, where the individual carcasses are chilled before packaging. This part of the process is integral in maximising shelf life and reducing unnecessary water uptake.
Production Line: A high-speed production line can process up to 12,000 birds per hour and takes approximately 180 minutes from beginning to completion – packed and conveyed into the cool room.
Portioning and Packaging
Our packing facilities are a hub of activity every day. Recent growth in the supermarket sector has resulted in a lot of tray-packed chicken and bagged whole birds.
We contract boning teams who work over two shifts every day to manually cut specific lines required by the supermarkets, including breast fillet, thigh fillet and all products with bones removed.