WORLD-LEADING objective measurement technologies and feedback systems for lamb went on show at a special event at Gundagai Meat Processors in New South Wales today.
GMP has been working in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to enable the objective measurement, sortation and future grading of lamb carcases under the new Meat Standards Australia (MSA) cuts-based model.
Guests to the event were saw the technology as it measured hot carcase weight, lean meat yield and intramuscular fat (IMF) in lamb. These measurements can then be inputted into the new MSA model for sheep meat, which will predict the eating quality of nine cut-by-cook method outcomes (grill and roast) for each carcase.
“This is an incredibly exciting development and one we have been working towards for a number of years,” MLA managing director Jason Strong said.
“As an industry we are not far off MSA grading for lamb, much like we already do in beef.
“These technologies enable the development of value-based payment systems based on eating quality, leanness and other attributes desired by consumers,” he said.
“Feedback provided to producers based on these technologies can be used to incentivise continual on-farm improvement in lamb production, ensuring greater compliance and a greater ability to consistently meet market specifications.”
GMP is ‘bringing technology to life’
Mr Strong said the GMP model with its use of technologies and provision of feedback was a fantastic example of “bringing technology to life.”
“One of really neat things about what they are doing is it is not just their commitment to providing information and feedback – we talk a lot about feedback — but it is providing the information in a way that enables people to make better decisions which allows them to create and capture more value.
“Will’s really clear about creating more value in the supply chain.”
The technologies and methods on show at GMP included:
Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) – an objective measurement tool to assess lean meat yield, bone and fat composition of each carcase.
MEQ Probe – a needle probe that uses spectral imaging to measure the amount of intramuscular fat in lamb carcases.
MSA grading – uses hot carcase weight, lean meat yield and intramuscular fat to predict a quality score for nine cut by cook methods for each carcase.
Health 4 Wealth – a standardised approach to the collection and feedback of animal disease and defect data to producers.
Radio frequency identification – hook tracking of processing gambrels which are read to provide individual carcase tracking and sortation. The sortation and tracking system enabled GMP to follow the location of carcases in real-time.
Feedback to producers – enhanced systems which communicate the performance of individual animals in the consignment against the target specification, which can now include new eating quality measures.
GMP chief executive officer Will Barton said the technologies have the potential for processors and brand owners to segment their production and generate greater returns.
“These technologies provide us a more in-depth analysis of intramuscular fat and lean-meat yield in lamb, so we can use this information to market our brand and products to better meet the needs of our customers.
“Traditionally, lamb in Australia is of a high-quality, but subject to variations of quality,” he said.
“These new technologies allow us to grade and sort carcases to achieve a more consistent and improved eating quality.
“Producing MSA-quality lamb will help us to compete with other premium proteins,” Mr Barton said.
“With this technology, our lamb will be of the consistently high quality that our domestic and international customers expect.
“Aussies who love their lamb have a lot to look forward to.”
Mr Barton also said he was ready for other processors to join GMP in using technology to assess carcase quality and health traits, and provide feedback to producers.
“I really mean that because I don’t think that our competitive advantage is based on our ability to have information that others don’t.
He said the company needed to be as transparent as it could be to improve relationships with producers and provide a consistent product to consumers.