Golden Cockerel invests in world-class upgrade

Australian poultry processor installs ATLAS and CAS SmoothFlow


A new 5000 m2 ‘front end’ of Golden Cockerel’s Mount Cotton (Queensland, Australia) processing plant recently came online, incorporating new ATLAS live bird transport and handling systems, CAS SmoothFlow controlled atmosphere stunning and scaled-up immersion chilling – all contributing to greater throughput capacity and efficiency.

Source: National Poultry Newspaper

Despite a 40 percent increase in production efficiency, equaling the most efficient production systems in the world, the team at Golden Cockerel isn’t resting on its laurels. Instead, the company, headed by CEO and industry veteran Alan Wilson, strives to further upgrade the Mount Cotton facility over the next five years.

Highest welfare standard

With live birds arriving daily from as far as two hours away by road, the upgrade ensures more birds can be processed in a shorter time frame. This means less overtime and a more efficient operation that sees processing wrap up at 7pm daily, before commencing again at 2am the next day.

The upgrade features the latest ATLAS poultry processing equipment from Marel, including CAS SmoothFlow multi-phase controlled atmosphere stunning, widely regarded by industry and the RSPCA to be very humane and deliver the highest available welfare standard.

Live-bird handling and transport processes have also been streamlined thanks to the new ATLAS system, meaning the birds are kept cleaner and more comfortable than was previously possible.

Rising processing number

“The past 12 to 18 months of upgrades have effectively future-proofed the plant and reaffirmed a commitment to the current site for at least the next 20 years,” Alan Wilson said.

The current processing number of around 650,000 birds per week is forecast to rise as the plant becomes increasingly efficient, spurred by consistently strong consumer demand, with three of the 10 biggest-selling lines in supermarkets being chicken products.

Directly employing about 400 people, the business has long been one of the biggest in the Redlands area since forming in the early 1970s. And the new processing plant upgrade, while not necessarily creating any new jobs initially, has confirmed employment going forward by reducing costs and enabling the business to grow and create more jobs in the future.

24/7 Air freight

While already exporting a relatively small amount of product to numerous Pacific Island countries and other locations including Hong Kong, the company is remaining abreast of the export climate and is looking into the possibility of expanding its export portfolio in coming years.

One advantage of Golden Cockerel’s location is that Brisbane Airport has no curfews, meaning product can leave via air freight 24/7. Throughout the Pacific region the Golden Cockerel brand is well recognized, further supporting the prospect of more exported product.

Industry powerhouse

Being a fully integrated business, Golden Cockerel encompasses the full range of poultry operations – from feed mills, to parent birds that produce fertile eggs on multiplication (or breeder) farms, to hatcheries, to broiler farms (mostly contract growers) from where the chickens make their way to the Mount Cotton facility at 35 to 50 days of age.

The Redlands region in which Golden Cockerel’s headquarters are based is one of the original poultry growing areas in Australia, and many broiler farms thrive throughout the region, making the factory ideally placed to receive their product.

With a focus on a strong future through production efficiency, constant improvement and supplying a high-quality product to major retailers, takeaway food chains, specialty poultry shops and butchers, Golden Cockerel looks set to continue as an industry powerhouse in years to come.


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