HOW did this chicken cross the barn?
On very expensive materials it turns out, and owner Jodie Redcliffe has just been awarded the prestigious 2013 Nuffield Scholarship to take on her own personal study to find new cheaper alternatives to the current poultry house flooring.
With her husband Wayne, Jodie owns and operates a commercial broiler operation with 250,000 chickens, contracted to Ingham's Queensland.
Since being awarded the Nuffield Scholarship at the end of October, Jodie has been planning her extensive visit overseas to study her agricultural topic of choice.
"At the moment I'm looking at ways to improve the cost of our inputs which at the moment are the bedding materials in the sheds that our mean chickens are grown in," she said.
"A shortage of shavings has made it one of our highest input costs, higher even than electricity and labour in some instances, and the resultant product perhaps could be better managed to achieve better returns.
"I also think we could reduce the need for fresh shavings by investigating more efficient ways of windrowing for compositing."
Jodie hopes her work will find ways to use existing bedding sources more efficiently to reduce costs and ease supply shortages.
To achieve her research goals Jodie hopes to travel to the southern states of America where a large broiler industry is located.
"There is a new plastic flooring product developed in conjunction with university researchers that seems to have some potential for use here, while in the north-eastern states of America there are researchers who have done some really interesting work on odour emissions," she explained.
"In the UK and Europe I would like to see how they use ventilation as a tool, as drier floors lead to better litter that perhaps can be used for longer before removal."
Jodie plans to travel with her designated group in March 2013 to India, Qatar, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Washington DC and Idaho while making a brief trip down to South America, in particular Brazil, as part of her individual research into the poulty industry.
"The chicken industry in America is 15 times the size of ours and I want to make sure we are keeping up with the latest technology and techniques," Jodie said.
18 Australians were chosen as Nuffield Scholars with five of those from Queensland
Nuffield Australia is an organisation which provides an opportunity to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship
It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel.
You can find out more about Nuffield Australia at nuffield.com.au