Overview Objectives

This project aims to expand and test a range of concentrates plus local feeds on-station and on-farm, and to consider two strategies to produce concentrate feeds. Major objectives are to develop on-station a range of best-bet feeding options for broiler production and profitability, to evaluate broiler production and profitability on-farm of various feeding options that incorporate local feeds, and to promote the widespread adoption of alternative feeding options for broilers that will improve profitability.

Project Background and Objectives

NARI has identified the improvement of profitability for village broiler farming through the use of locally available feedstuffs as an issue of highest priority for the PNG livestock sector. This sector produces about 6.7 million birds per year valued at $A50 million, using high genetic potential birds and commercial feeds.

Lowland provinces close to the feed mills account for 60% of production, with the balance of 40% from highland provinces. But future viability in both regions is threatened by rising costs of imported ingredients for the commercial feeds. This problem has been made much worse by the massive reduction in the value of the Kina and consequent increases in cost of all imports. As most feed ingredients are imported this has led to the approximate doubling of costs of broiler production.

Food crops and agro-industrial by-products (such as copra meal, fishmeal and palm kernel meal), locally available in PNG, have been found suitable for use in broiler rations. However, the high cost of transport, together with storage difficulties and constraints in feed formulation, make it difficult for the feed mills to use these feed resources in complete rations. But ACIAR project LPS/2001/077 has developed an alternative strategy whereby PNG fishmeal and copra meal (plus minerals and vitamins) can be incorporated into a concentrate that can be supplemented with 50-80% of local ingredients (e.g. sweet potato) to make up the whole ration.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Improving the profitability of village broiler farming through the use of locally available feedstuffs is a high priority in the PNG livestock sector. Lowland provinces close to the feed mills account for 60% of broiler production with 40% in highland provinces. The village broiler Industry is valued at $67m. The viability of village broiler farms in both geographical regions is threatened by the rising costs of imported ingredients used in commercial feeds.
An earlier project developed a strategy whereby PNG protein meals (plus minerals and vitamins) were used to produce a concentrate that could be fed to broilers with 50-80% of local ingredients. The feeding method resulted in good bird growth. The new project is using two sources to manufacture the concentrate feeds. The concentrate will be made by a commercial feed mill and also by regional poultry and fish feed manufacturing and distribution centres. A strong focus in the project is placed on delivery of feeding strategies to village farmers through the participation of Non Government Organisations (NGO’s). Christian Leader Training College (CLTC) in the highlands and Lutheran Development Service (LDS) in the lowlands were provided funding to renovate existing poultry facilities to make them suitable for conducting regional specific broiler feeding demonstrations for village farmers. The NGO’s will disseminate the feeding strategies more widely later in the project by supervising village farm trials.
The project commenced by evaluating the Apparent Metabolisable Energy (AME) of low energy (AME 2300 Kcal/kg, Crude Protein (CP) 40% ), medium energy (AME 2500 Kcal/kg, CP 43.5% ) and high energy (AME 2800, Kcal/kg, CP 41%) broiler concentrate diets at the National Agriculture Research Institutes (NARI) broiler feed evaluation unit in Lae. The data indicated that the best options were to feed broilers a low energy concentrate with added sweet potato and to feed cassava with a high energy concentrate. Subsequently four diets were tested at NARI in a large broiler grow out trial; 1) 50% sweet potato + 50% low energy concentrate; 2) 70% sweet potato + 30% low energy concentrate; 3) 50% cassava + 50% high energy concentrate and 4) 70% cassava + 30% low energy concentrate. Final body weights of birds fed diets 1 to 4 were 2.47, 2.38, 2.23 and 1.81kg respectively at 7 weeks of age. The grow out trial showed that diets 1 to 3 would be suitable for feeding birds at demonstration broiler grow out facilities established in the project in the highlands at CLTC’s Banz Campus and in the lowlands at LDS’s Mahalang’s campus.
The critical issue as to whether the feeding strategy will be adopted by village farmers is to determine the profitability of village farmers using the concentrate strategy compared to feeding commercial diets. The first objective of the economic assessment is to determine the cost of locally milled broiler concentrate compared to the price of the commercially available alternative at several key sites in PNG. Spreadsheets of the cost of producing concentrate feed from mini-mills and profit of village broiler grow-out operations have been developed to meet this objective. The price of mini-mill concentrate derived from the mini-mill evaluation will be used in the spreadsheet for the village grow-out operation in that region (plus a cost for transport). Staff from NARI and UNitech are currently collecting feed ingredient costs, equipment costs and other fixed cost to enable the assessment to be completed.

The second year of the project focused on evaluating the best bet feeding options using the concentrate system developed by NARI for feeding broilers in highland and lowland regions of PNG at NGO demonstration sites. The diets that NARI found to be the most suitable for growing meat birds were; 1) 50% sweet potato + 50% low energy concentrate; 2) 70% sweet potato + 30% low energy concentrate; and 3) 50% cassava + 50% high energy concentrate. These diets were tested in broiler grow-out trials in the highlands at CLTC’s Banz Campus, in the lowlands at LDS’s Mahalang Campus and at OTDF Agricultural Resource Centre at Tabubil in the remote Western Province.
The demonstration feeding trials conducted at CLTC indicated that the diet with the greatest potential in the Western Highlands Province is a feed mix comprising 50% of a low energy concentrate supplemented with 50% of sweet potato. CLTC wish to develop the capacity to mix the concentrate at the Banz campus and supply the local farmers with this feed in addition to day old meat chickens they have supplied to farmers in the region over many years. The demonstration activities conducted at LDS showed that the diet best suited for lowland chicken meat production is a feed mix comprising 50% high energy concentrate supplemented with 50% cassava. At OTDF it was found that poultry grew well when fed poultry concentrate supplemented with 50% cassava. These findings will give greater encouragement for farmers in Western Province to grow cassava to support their village poultry enterprise. The poultry concentrate will be based on use of herring fish meal (from the Fly River) and rice bran.
As a result of the promising results obtained by the NGO partners each have selected 20 village farmers where the concentrate feeding system will be compared with the current broiler feeding system using commercial feed. The village trials will be conducted in the highland and lowland provinces over the period June-Sep, 2009 under the close supervision of NARI.
Economic analyses were undertaken on costs associated with running a mini-mill operation to produce poultry concentrate and to assess the profitability of a village broiler enterprise. At approximately K800/t, mini-mill concentrate is more than competitive with commercial full rations (K2000/t) and a commercial concentrate (K2400/t). The mini-mill concentrate price is based on provisional costing of local ingredients and mini-mill equipment, as well as setup and running costs. Fishmeal, copra meal, mill run and premix are the ingredients intended to be used to produce the concentrate. The technology will achieve village enterprise broiler production market penetration if the local based feed ingredient price including labour is less than 70 percent of the import based feed ingredient price including labour. The initial calculations indicate that the mini-mill concentrate plus local carbohydrate including labour represents 56% of the full commercial feed plus labour costs, and the commercial concentrate concept plus local carbohydrate and labour is 69% of the full costs. Hence both “local” feed systems could achieve market penetration, but especially the mini-mill concentrate system. The local carbohydrate source was either sweet potato or cassava at K0.7-1.0/kg in the lowlands and highlands.
Based on a the essential assumptions necessary for a benefit-cost analysis and critically based on the results of the mini-mill and village broiler enterprise costing analyses the program provisional benefit-cost analysis produced a net present value of k180M, a benefit-cost ratio of 38:1 and an internal rate of return of 35%. Based on these economic assessments mini mill products based on local feedstuffs are highly competitive, particularly for copra/ palm kernel meals. This translates, along with low carbohydrate source prices, to an attractive proposition for village broiler operations in mainland PNG and assuming reasonable technology penetration, the provisional program benefit-cost analysis appears satisfactory.

Previous work in this project found that commercial meat birds fed sweet potato plus a low energy concentrate was suited for broilers raised in the highlands while cassava fed with a high energy concentrate was best suited for the lowland broiler production in PNG. Year 3 of the project focused on demonstrating the feeding system to village poultry farmers. Four broiler village feeding trials were run which involved feeding sweet potato with a low energy poultry concentrate to broilers in the highlands and cassava with a high energy concentrate in the lowlands including demonstration activities in the Western Province. The trials were conducted at Malahang, Finschafen and Madang in the lowlands; in the Banz and Kainantu districts in the highlands and at Kiunga, Star Mountains and Tabubil in the Western Province. The trials were supervised by NARI and SARDI in collaboration with CLTC, LDS, SA and OTDF. The performance of broilers was excellent in all the village farm trials with birds reaching market weight (>2 kg) soon after 5 weeks of age. The sweet potato based diet (in particular) compared very favourably with the commercial control diets.
Most of the village farmers involved with the trials want to continue using the concentrate mixed with sweet potato or cassava. There was also strong interest expressed by other broiler farmers not involved in the trials. Some farmers wanted more information about other alternative feed resources to feed with the concentrate especially in the coastal regions. The feeding system is appropriate and boosts village broiler income by reducing the cost of feeding broilers. Farmers prefer the flavour of meat from birds fed with the concentrate + sweet potato/cassava mix. Good Fielder International are currently conducting similar trials in Fiji using the concentrate feeding concept and further trials are being run in PNG in conjunction with Lae feed Mills and New Guinea Table Birds to demonstrate the feeding system.
Currently strategies are being implemented for a campaign to publicise the benefits of the broiler feeding system in PNG. These include field days, training and demonstration sessions run by NARI and other NGO partners and distribution of publications. NARI and partners are also planning radio programs and a TV promotion of the feeding system while a number of newspaper articles and reports on the NARI website have already been published. Fact sheets of feed resources available in PNG for broiler feeding have been developed for College, University and NGO curriculums. A video script detailing how to use the feeding systems has been written and is currently being filmed.
A benefit-cost analysis of the economic impact of the R, D & E program to improve the profitability of village broiler production in PNG was carried out. The research and development aspects of the program have developed a mini-mill approach for the provision to villagers of a high protein concentrate based on local feed sources. Other options include a commercial high protein concentrate feed plus local carbohydrate source and a dilution strategy of half normal commercial feed plus local carbohydrate source. The estimate of the research costs was 3.3 M kina. On the core assumption of 35 percent market penetration of these new technologies, the analysis showed an internal rate of return to the program of 25 % p.a. and a net present value of 45.6 M kina. The benefits were attributed to a producer surplus of 16.3 M kina and a consumer surplus of 32.7 M kina.

The highlight of the project in Year 3 was the final on-farm performance evaluation of feeding a broiler concentrate (containing protein meals plus minerals and vitamins) mixed with local ingredients on growth of meat chickens and profit for village farmers. The key stakeholders are individual smallholder broiler farmers in Morobe, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Enga and Western Provinces and further feeding trials are in progress with smallholder farmers in the East New Britain as well as the Central Provinces. The completed pilot trials at Komperi site in Kainantu District of the Eastern Highlands Province, Boana site in Nawae District of Morobe Province, at Jiwaka site in the North Waghi and Tambul site in the Tambul-Nebliyer District of Western Highlands Province show that the broiler feed concentrate when mixed with sweet potato or cassava does reduce the total cost of finishing broilers to market weight. Farmers have reduced their production costs by at least 30% and improved their profit. When farmers use the low energy concentrate mixed with sweet potato (purchased from the village market) they were able to save K138, or about 13.8%, from the total cost of production compared to using the commercial broiler finisher. When farmers use sweet potato from their own garden, the savings can be improved further to K300 or 30%. Farmers in the Western Highlands Province were able to purchase their broiler day old chicks direct from Christian Leaders Training College in Banz (rather than fly chicks in from Lae) and therefore the reduction in input costs of farming broilers were higher. Farmers who purchased their broiler day old chicks from retailers in Mt. Hagen had a reduction in input costs of 19 and 30% for cassava and sweet potato based diets respectively when using the concentrate feed as a finishing ration for broilers. Both Niugini Tablebirds and Goodman Fielders (PNG) Ltd have interest in the development and production of the alternate concentrate using their feed mills as it will help them to increase their sales of feeds into wider areas of PNG. Three farmers’ cooperatives are examining the use of mini-mills to produce the concentrate for village farmers.
To grow out a batch of 50 day old chicks, farmers require 80kg of commercial starter feed and 200 kg of commercial broiler grower feed. The same batch of day old chicks would need to be fed the starter feed to 3 weeks of age before they switch to the finisher diets. Using the new feeding system farmers only need 60kg of the concentrate to be blended with about 180 kg of boiled sweet potato tubers either from the farmers’ own garden or purchased from the village market. Farmers were happy with the growth rate of the broilers when fed on the concentrate. They started selling the birds at 5 weeks instead of 7 weeks. In two villages, farmers reported that the meat flavour was better for birds fed sweet potato mixed with the concentrate. Some farmers reported lower mortality when they used the concentrate feeding system compared to birds fed the commercial stock feed. In two villages farmers reported that there was extra effort required to boil sweet potato or cassava on daily basis. They would prefer to purchase the alternative feed already mixed. Some farmer in remote areas have requested that the concentrate be made available for purchase in their communities. Currently, they have to pay for transport of the stock feed from major urban centres like Lae, Kainantu, Goroka and Mt. Hagen. A retail shop in Finshaffen, Morobe province, started retailing the concentrate in small packs to farmers in this remote area, and progress so far has been good. The main constraint has been availability of day old chicks. The directions on how to use the concentrate were provided at point of sale. Avi Farmers’ Cooperative has over 3000 members and has been supplying Australorps to their members under their family health and nutrition program. They have a feed mill, an incubator and land available for production of sorghum, cassava and rice. They are planning to supply the concentrate to the cooperative for retailing and may even process sweet potato and cassava to sell. Farmers in the New Guinea Islands region have huge problems obtaining a consistent supply of broiler day olds. One bag of the commercial stock feed is priced at PGK 100-120, over 20% more than the market prices in Lae for instance. The NARI-Kerevat station has an arrangement with the NGTB for direct shipment of broiler day olds upon request and also has the concentrate available on site for retailing. There are many farmers around the New Guinea Islands Province expressing their interest in piloting the concentrate feeding systems and it is likely there will be an increase in the number of people raising broilers as an alternative to cocoa production.
Extension material produced to support the training of village farmers included; 1) NARI Toktoks on how to manage broilers when fed the concentrates as a finishing ration (Pidgin and English); 2) fact sheets on how to mix the concentrates (four versions; sweet potato-Pidgin and English and cassava-Pidgin and English; 3) Economic models of village broiler farming in different locations; 4) Video production on the concentrate feeding system in English and Pidgin and 5) Draft of a village broiler production manual

It was considered timely to extend the poultry project for 18 months from July 1, 2011 to demonstrate if the feeding system developed for broilers based on using a concentrate mixed with sweet potato or cassava could be adapted for use in indigenous poultry, imported hybrid layers and Australorps. The demand for eggs is increasing as the mining industry and associated support industries expand in PNG. Use of the concentrate feeding systems by farmers for layers could also reduce feed costs.
Two concentrate rations for laying hens were formulated; one that could be fed with sweet potato and the other with cassava. The sweet potato diet had an apparent metabolisable energy (AME) of 2821kcal/kg and contained 50% of cooked sweet potato. The specifications of the concentrate diet when mixed with cooked sweet potato diet were; crude protein (17.2%), total fat (3.9%), fibre (7.5%), calcium (3.4%) and phosphorus (0.7%). The cassava (50% inclusion rate) diet specifications were AME (2617 kcal/kg); crude protein (16.9%), total fat (3.8%); fibre (4.6%), calcium (3.3%) and phosphorus (1.0%).
To test these diets laying hen facilities at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Lae PNG were used. A total of 306 pullets comprising equal numbers of Hyline commercial layers, Australorp crosses and village chickens were allocated into 18 experimental floor based pens in an open sided layer house. There were 6 replicates each for a control commercial laying hen diet (using imported ingredients) compared with the sweet potato diet and the cassava based diet. Data is being recorded on production parameters over a 6 month period from peak of lay at 30 weeks of age. The initial results indicate no significant difference in body weight of the Australorp crosses and commercial layers but village chickens were 300g lighter. It took approximately 1 month for the birds to adapt to the sweet potato and cassava diet than the commercial diet. The trial is on going and will be further assessed at the mid year review meeting for the feed mill and feeding systems project after the 2012 PNG election. Trials with commercial layers at CLTC, LDS and Ok Tedi are being planned pending results of the NARI trials with NGO’s. These will be followed by feeding demonstration at village layer farms near Mt Hagen, Lae and Kiunga. The project extension involves two post graduate diploma students who have enrolled at the PNG University of Technology in Lae. The students are NARI staff (Fred Besari, animal production and Eleo Dowa, socio-economics). Both are conducting studies related to the current project.
The greatest potential for providing smallholder poultry farmers with cheaper feed is to encourage the manufacture of feed through regionally based mini mills. Economic models indicate that the cheapest feed can be provided by small scale commercial feed mills. However the model was based on indicative costs and income and there is a need to verify the model using data from a commercial enterprise. A component of the project extension was to evaluate the performance of one newly established mini mill. The Domil Integrated Community Development Cooperative Society located in the Jiwaka Province in the highlands of PNG opened its model mini mill on the 4 April 2012. The products from the mill are cassava flour, cassava starch and broiler cassava finisher feed which is being sold to the surrounding communities. The cassava based poultry feed is primarily based on the poultry concentrate developed earlier in this project. The cooperative has created a revolving scheme where registered members will be able to obtain a loan to raise broilers. These broilers will be harvested and sold back to the cooperative where they will be processed, packed and sold. The first batch of 1,600 processed birds has been sold. The income and costs associated with running the mill are being evaluated.

Project ID
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
South Australian Research and Development Institute, Australia
Project Leader
Dr Phil Glatz
08 8303 7786
08 8303 7689
Collaborating Institutions
National Agricultural Research Institute, Papua New Guinea
University of Technology, Papua New Guinea
Christian Leaders Training College, Papua New Guinea
Lutheran Development Service, Papua New Guinea
Salvation Army Agricultural Development Program, Papua New Guinea
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd, Papua New Guinea
Project Budget
Start Date
Finish Date
Extension Start Date
Extension Finish Date
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Caroline Lemerle