MLA to ‘accelerate’ red meat industry’s digital future

22 July 2016

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has today unveiled a visionary plan to accelerate the digital future of Australia’s red meat and livestock industry.

The ‘Digital Value Chain Strategy’ – an industry first – will be designed to empower every participant at every point in the value chain through data-driven commercial decision making.

MLA will lead the development of the strategy with industry to deliver seamless capture, integration and interpretation of the vast and increasing range of data being generated through new technology. 

By exploring the types of data now emerging from the farm gate right through to the consumer, the strategy will define ways to accelerate the creation of a user-friendly, integrated data platform that enables more informed and agile decision making by businesses right across the value chain. 

Speaking at the Red Meat Updates conference in Launceston today, MLA Managing Director Richard Norton said MLA’s Digital Value Chain Strategy will harness the multitude of new digital technologies right across the value chain to ensure they work together to build prosperity throughout the red meat industry. 

“As new disruptive automation and objective measurement technologies emerge and the digital footprint expands, there is an increasing need for an integrated platform that provides more ways for value chain partners to share and mine data to benefit their business,” Mr Norton said.

“There will be increasing use of robotics, drones, driverless vehicles, satellite imagery of pastures, Meat Standards Australia data and compliance, objective measurement and value based marketing. At the consumer level, home grocery deliveries, provenance, branded products and ethical consumer purchasing will also make an increasing impact.

“MLA’s Digital Value Chain Strategy will start to coordinate all of the activity going on, driving the development of an integrated platform for capturing the data and the generation of reliable and objective information tools that can be readily applied within businesses across the value chain.”

Mr Norton said MLA is well placed to lead the development of a digital strategy, which will require close collaboration across industry with the world’s best innovation companies.

“In servicing the entire red meat and livestock value chain, MLA is in a position to lead the development of a digital strategy that maximises the opportunity to exchange information and produce what our markets need more sustainably and profitably,” Mr Norton said.

“Improved communication will also increase the capacity of industry players – be they producer, processor, exporter or retailer – to embrace new technology and the use of meaningful data in their business.”

Mr Norton said the need for a whole-of-industry digital strategy in the Australian red meat and livestock industry was compelling.

“While our Australian industry enjoys significant natural advantages, increasing competition within our domestic and export markets – and input costs that are consistently higher than all of our major international competitors – mean it is imperative for our industry to work smarter,” Mr Norton said.

“But an uncoordinated, ad hoc approach to new technology simply will not capture, let alone unlock, the potential that big data offers our industry.”

Mr Norton said MLA had strategically engaged in seven Rural R&D for Profit projects, six Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) and three consortiums within the red meat and broader agriculture sectors.  

“These partnerships will ensure the development of a digital strategy platform suitable for mixed production and processing businesses – and the involvement of global companies, universities and other research and development providers in the value chain digital strategy,” he said.

“For instance, MLA recently secured a $4.8 million Australian Government grant for a collaborative project to develop advanced new live animal and carcase measurement technology that will pave the way for value based pricing.

“This transformational project is just one pillar of our digital value chain strategy. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be making further announcements as we progress the development of the strategy and engage the value chain in that process.”

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