Back to R&D main

Beef Supply chain for the 21st Century in Australia

Did you know supply chains that use blockchain technology can improve the integrity of data and allow red meat to be tracked from paddock to plate?

Project start date: 01 June 2019
Project end date: 30 June 2020
Publication date: 03 March 2020
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (1.8 MB)

Summary

With the increasing requirement for suppliers to be more transparent about product information, the creation of an efficient system to track, trace, and authenticate meat with confidence is a priority to the industry.

This project explored the use of blockchain technology to build a proof of concept, next-gen supply chain platform. It used data from across a commercial supply chain consisting of breeding, backgrounding, feedlotting and processing businesses, to track 448 livestock from birth through to the processing plant.

The use of blockchain technology and smart contracts supported compliance through:

  • the automation of supply chain certification
  • export regulations
  • domestic regulatory obligations, such as animal movements through the National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS).

Objectives

The aim of this project was to demonstrate the efficacy and value that digital solutions, such as a blockchain platform, can provide in lifecycle traceability of red meat. This included providing information on quality, transparency, regulatory standards, food safety and authenticity of the animal and its by-products throughout the supply chain.

Key findings

  • The pilot project developed 13 dashboards and to give participants visibility over their own data and the data shared by other participants.
  • Using blockchain improved data quality for businesses throughout the supply chain by creating consistency in formatting, spelling, nomenclature and terminology.
  • The ability to view all the data from different sources in a single view allowed participants to identify where inconsistencies are occurring throughout the supply chain. This enabled them to change procedures to correct inconsistencies.
  • The improved data sharing provided by the blockchain platform gives participants access to information from different parts of the supply chain that they did not previously have. This transparency gives participants the information they need to improve their business.

Benefits to industry

The results from this project highlight how transparency across the red meat supply chain can be achieved by using blockchain technology, which can increase the use of more refined data and enable better decision making for businesses.

Another benefit is the transparency and reduced cost of compliance for many required activities and data by using existing systems such as NLIS.

MLA action

The project learnings have been disseminated among industry stakeholders who are seeking to better understand the value of blockchain technology.

MLA is in the process of developing a second phase to this project, with the original participants extending the digital platform to include carton production, carton shipments, export logistics, shipment tracking and streamlining customs requirements with smart contracts.

Future research

Opportunities to expand on the results include:

  • extending the blockchain platform to include carton production, carton shipments, export logistics and shipment tracking, and streamlining customs requirements with a digital record
  • using DNA data to enhance animal identity tracking
  • using disease testing in the production line and implementing a smart contract to halt/flag an export shipment if a test is positive
  • exploring the use of the platform to facilitate NLIS compliance activities.

More information

Contact email: reports@mla.com.au
Primary researcher: NSW Department of Industry and Investment