Lamb Processing

Livestock Data Link aims to boost lamb carcase compliance

Terry Sim, May 18, 2015
At The Livestock Data Link launch were from left, MLA managing director Richard Norton, Victorian lamb producer Graham Sudholz and  JBS Australia farm assurance supply chain manager Mark Inglis .

At The Livestock Data Link launch were from left, MLA managing director Richard Norton, Victorian lamb producer Graham Sudholz and JBS Australia farm assurance supply chain manager Mark Inglis .

Australia’s first uniform interactive online carcase feedback system for lamb and beef has been formally launched with tools to help correct non-compliance costing the industries more than $100 million annually.

Livestock Data Link was developed by MLA and industry partners to links the carcase slaughter data from the National Livestock Identification System and MSA databases with analytical tools, benchmarking reports and solutions feedback.

The supply chain feedback system includes a decision support tool linking to a ‘Solutions to Feedback’ library that offers producers solutions to improve carcase compliance.

MLA managing director Richard Norton formally launched the Livestock Data Link program in Melbourne last Friday during the JBS Australia Premium Southern Producer Forum.

In 2011-12 it was estimated that $8.4 million is lost annually to the lamb industry from Australian lamb that does not meet market specifications.

JBS Australia farm assurance supply chain manager Mark Inglis said he was pretty excited about Livestock Data Link.

“Obviously with my background with MSA and carcase data, I live and breathe carcase data.

“Every day great results come across my desk and I look at them – and if they are pretty ordinary a buyer will get a phone call from me,” he said.

“When I came to JBS and looked at the format of what we actually had, it was actually a bit disappointing – the way it went back to producers – so we’ve had a fair input into LDL.

“I’ve been trying it on the lamb front for two years and we’ve got it to the stage where our producers within the farm assurance program I think are going to actually revel in it,” Mr Inglis said.

“I certainly know there are a few in the room that over the past two years have been at me on when are we going to launch it.”

“Finally it is up and going, so get on it and get amongst it,” he told producers at the Melbourne forum.

“I think you guys will benefit from seeing JBS kill data in its format – you can all understand it.”

Livestock Data Link data available from all JBS plants

Mr Inglis said Livestock Data Link is now available for lamb and beef carcase feedback from all JBS plants.

He said processing plants across Australia have been using different feedback formats.

“LDL is a common form of feedback and a way of interpreting your kill data.”

LDL not only allowed producers to see their carcase feedback in a format that is easy, he said.

“You can then manipulate it, play with it and put different grids over it and see how you go.”

Lean meat yield measurement through LDL

JBS Great Southern farm assurance program lamb suppliers will also now be able to see a lean meat yield figure for their lambs using Livestock Data Link.

Mr Inglis said JBS had been trialling a lean meat yield calculation on lamb in the Bordertown, Brooklyn, Longford and Cobram plants for six months. A lamb’s GR measurement and hot standard carcase weight computed with an algorithm are used to give a LMY measurement.

“It is not 100 percent accurate, but is a start,” he said.

Mr Inglis said there was a process to be completed – including improving calculation accuracy, developing carcase scanning technology and educating producers — before the company might use a LMY measurement in a payment system. This might take two to three years.

Mr Inglis said LDL was being used by JBS buyers to analyse each week’s kill in farm assured lamb and beef.

The beef buyers on a Friday morning and the lamb buyers on a Monday morning see the data on the previous week’s kill – carcase weight, fat score and lean meat yield – to help finetune their buying skills, he said.

“There is a whole realm of information now that is at our fingertips whereas in the past we didn’t have it.”

Big losses in beef industry from non-compliance

MLA managing director Richard Norton launching Livestock Data Link

MLA managing director Richard Norton launching Livestock Data Link

Mr Norton said $51 million is lost every year from beef cattle not hitting market specifications and another $64 million is lost from carcases being condemned. In 2011-12 it was also estimated another $12-$49 million is lost due to offal and meat condemnation.

“So this is a $100 million-plus issue that we are addressing here today, on an annual basis.”

Mr Norton said MLA has been trying to set up Livestock Data Link for about three years.

“I must congratulate JBS for being the first processor that has helped us in this process.

“Obviously without processors on board and without getting the information to put into the system for the processor it simply doesn’t work,” he said.

“This is the next big frontier – this huge data management that is going to happen in our industry from sustainability back to genomics and genetics, on how to meet customer specifications and how you can make more money on farm through the process.

“So thank you JBS — it’s an absolute pleasure to formally launch Livestock Data Link to the market.”

There are currently eight companies piloting LDL across 13 processing plants , but MLA was unable to disclose further details.

JBS Southern was one of the early adopters of LDL and will be the first supply chain to release LDL to its producers through JBS’ Farm Assured programs, covering 2300 beef and lamb producers.

LDL has potential to help producers deliver for consumers

JBS southern livestock sales business cadet Jose Webb said LDL enables producers to analyse their carcase performance in terms of compliance to market specifications with performance outcomes linked to solutions for addressing non-compliance at the on-farm level.

She said with broad uptake and utilisation LDL has the potential to deliver value to the industry by informing the supply chain how to more consistently deliver meat to consumer requirements.

LDL is a web-based supply chain feedback system that:

– presents carcase feedback in a user-friendly format that encourages producers to use the information to improve their over-the-hook performance,

– demonstrates to producers in dollar terms the non-compliance or opportunity cost of not meeting market specifications

– provides producers with the ability to benchmark individual animal and consignment carcase performance at a flock/herd, regional, state and national level

– also enhances the capacity to evaluate and monitor carcase performance to support business decisions.

Producers can do carcase trait analysis

MLA value chain relationship manager Verity Gilbertson said before animals are slaughtered, under the LDL system, they are allocated a target market.
“At the end of each day JBS will upload your carcase data into NLIS with this target market.”
This carcase data is then analysed against an LDL grid which is based on the discounts or penalties that apply for not complying with the processor market specifications.
“What will happen is that when you go into LDL you will have an allocated target market and you will then select the processor grid that you have entered in. This will analyse individual carcase performance against that selected grid, and calculate the cost of non-compliance for each trait.”
LDL also allows producers to look at animals that are over or under specification for each trait, Ms Gilbertson said.
“You have the capacity to download a CSV file with individual animal carcase data that will then allow you to go off and do further analysis or be uploaded onto you on-farm system.”
Ms Gilbertson said a key LDL feature is the ‘Solutions to Feedback’ library that will tell producers how to improve compliance on farm. By clicking on any of the segments within the carcase analysis grid, the Solutions to Feedback library will tell producers why each animal on the LDL grid was non-compliant and what the potential solutions are.
“It (LDL) is going to allow you to identify opportunities to improve compliance to market specification and will support you to make business management decisions by offering solutions through ‘Solutions to Feedback,” she told producers at the JBS forum.
An LDL workshop was held at the JBS forum and more training workshops will be planned with JBS depending on their supply chain needs.

Accessing Livestock Data Link

For JBS Farm Assurance program producers to access LDL they will need a NLIS user ID and password. Producers without an NLIS account can set this up on https://nlis.mla.com.au. Those requesting an NLIS account should select the Producer account type, and enter a valid PIC (registered in your name) and email address. It may take up to seven days for NLIS to activate a new account. Assistance with creating NLIS accounts is available at the NLIS Helpdesk on 1800 654 743 or [email protected]<mailto: [email protected]>.
Before JBS Farm Assurance program producers can use LDL they need to register their NLIS user ID and password at http://ldl.mla.com.au. If you need any assistance with LDL, please contact [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>.

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