New technology investment to “transform” meat industry

14 April 2016

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has welcomed a $4.8 million Australian Government grant to develop advanced new measurement technology that will transform the meat industry.
 
The joint project, led by MLA, will accelerate the development and introduction of new technology including X-ray and 3D digital imaging for accurately measuring live animals and carcases – paving the way for value-based pricing based on known meat yield and eating quality.
 
MLA Managing Director Richard Norton said the technology developed would enable producers to be paid on the objective measurement of the product they supplied, allowing improved compliance to pricing grids, better targeting of markets and maximised profits.
 
“The funding of this project will deliver a quantum leap in the development and adoption of technology because it leverages the capacity of 19 research and industry partners,” Mr Norton said.
 
“The project builds on the value already being realised through our world-leading MSA eating quality program in supplying products tailored to our consumers’ needs. It will also help ensure Australia’s global competitiveness, which is in the best interests of every member of our industry.”
 
Under the project, three measurement technologies will be developed for use on-farm and within the processing sector to reliably and objectively determine carcase composition and even more accurately determine eating quality.
 
For processors, use of the new technologies to assess lean meat yield will allow for the precise valuing of carcases, optimising market-based cutting and de-boning decisions. The supply of information back through the value chain, and its integration with genetic databases, will better inform producers’ on-farm decision making and profitability.
 
“Industry has been looking for objective carcase measurement for some time – and paying all sectors in the supply chain on objective performance is a key goal of the Meat Industry Strategic Plan,” Mr Norton said.
 
“Providing improved carcase composition, eating quality and compliance feedback from ‘paddock to plate’ is vital for a more efficient and market-oriented supply chain.
 
“The evolution of this new technology represents a significant leap in the application of leading edge science for the industry, bringing us technology more commonly used in medical science.
 
“Through MLA’s experience in project delivery and the combined efforts of our research and industry collaborators, this project will deliver real value to producers, processors and the entire supply chain.”
 
Funded through the Rural Research and Development for Profit program, this project will build on the findings of an earlier round one “insights to innovation” project to identify and capture new export market opportunities.
 
The project will be led by MLA, in collaboration with Australian Pork Ltd, Teys Australia, JBS Australia, Australian Country Choice, Australian Cattle and Beef Holdings, PorkScan Private, Australian Lamb Company, Murdoch University, Melbourne University, University of Technology Sydney, Scott Technology, Carometic, Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC), Harvey Beef, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries.
 
To find out more about the Federal Government’s Rural Research for Profit programme, visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/innovation/rural-research-development-for-profit.

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