The Beresfield, NSW site with feed mill, hatchery, growing houses and processing plant.
Steggles Pty Limited began in the 1920’s in Newcastle NSW as a produce and stock feed operation run by three brothers Jack, Stan and George. Bruce Steggles, the son of Jack, took over the operation in the early 1950’s and developed an integrated company from primary breeding to small goods and cooked chicken outlets. Steggles Pty Limited had its base in Beresfield, NSW. Steggles developed their own layer, broiler, pig, duck and turkey breeds; the pig breeding operation was sold to develop turkey breeding. In the mid 1970’s, after 15 years of intensive breeding, the company had 50% of the duck meat, 40% of the turkey meat, 20% of the chicken meat and a significant portion of the laying stock in Australia. Generally Australian breeding companies developed their own poultry lines and all Random Sample Tests within the country were therefore among only Australian breeds. International comparisons were possible by sending stock to, for example New Zealand or the USA.
The Steggles meat duck was a 75% Pekin and 25% Aylesbury and selection within a closed flock started in the mid 1960’s.The Steggles White Leghorn was a strain cross and in the 1970’s it was the best White Leghorn in Australia and compared favourably in RST in New Zealand where it competed with the Shaver 288 which was introduced there in the early 1970’s. The Australian layer breeder Hyline became part of Steggles in 1980 when Amatil (Imperial Tobacco) bought Steggles. The main interest of Amatil was in broilers and turkeys and the Hyline stock and their own layer stocks were sold to Lindsay Bell in Western Australia and to management (Jeff Moth and others).
Steggles had two turkey products, the T50 (3-6kg dressed weight) and a larger T75 (5-10kg dressed weight). The broiler was shown to be the best in Australia in comparative tests and equal to or better than British and North American breeds in tests in New Zealand. Bruce Steggles resigned in 1983. The company then changed hands and by 1990 it was 100% owned by Goodman Fielder. Bartter took over from Goodman Fielder in 1998. In the 1980’s the company was solely a broiler breeder and production company and embarked on a program of intense selection for breast meat yield and feed efficiency. The breed was marketed at the “Champion” and in comparative tests in North America the broiler showed a clear advantage over others in tests in the breast meat and FCR traits. However in other traits it was lacking. The company realised that competitors were importing superior broilers they quickly developed their own quarantine facility and imported the Ross broiler to counter an importation of the Cobb broiler by their main opposition.