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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2014
Modernising the lamb carcase grading system to deliver a value based on both lean meat yield and eating quality is a top priority under the Sheep CRC's research agenda for the next five years. Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said that in pursuing increasing productivity through faster growth, larger, leaner carcases and less fat, eating quality of lamb needed to be the focus for the future. "Lifting eating quality to new levels of consistency and consumer satisfaction, while continuing to improve productivity, will require application of the smartest genetic technologies, as well as sophisticated methods of assessing meat quality," Prof Rowe said. "The objective of the CRC's quality-based sheepmeat program is to move the industry to a cuts-based grading system that improves efficiency in the lamb supply chains and creates opportunities for a broader range of carcases to participate in premium sheepmeat markets -- such as yearling Merino and larger, leaner carcases. "The lamb meat industry has an urgent need to modernise carcase grading systems in order to provide producers and processors with a new system that accurately predicts carcase lean meat yield and eating quality, in order to extract full carcase value from each sheep or lamb. "Currently yearling Merino as well as larger, leaner carcases can be discounted in some markets, without any clear objective basis in terms of eating quality of different cuts within these carcase categories." Professor David Pethick of Murdoch University will lead the research program. He said transparent and objective information was the key to achieving balanced improvement in production and processing efficiency. "Clear signals for lean meat yield and eating quality lies at the heart of this challenge," Prof. Pethick said. "This can only be achieved through development of more sophisticated carcase grading technologies that accurately predict carcase value based on both parameters. "Development of a new measurement system able to operate at abattoir line speed and provide accurate prediction of quality and yield will underpin the fair valuation of yearling Merino and larger carcases, as well as improve the quality and consistency of conventional lamb products." The new system will be developed, calibrated and checked in close collaboration with sheep producer groups and leading meat processors, including JBS, Thomas Foods International and WAMMCO, which have signed on as Sheep CRC Participants. The research program will also link with the development of breeding values (ASBVs) and production information so that producers can source the genetic attributes required as well as manage production systems to achieve predictable yield and the required consumer eating quality grades. The involvement of meat processors in the program will be vital to ensuring the successful prototype testing and integration into the supply chains. RY INNOVATION ADVERTISING FEATURE Practical profitable sheep programs win major awards The impact of two of the Sheep CRC's most popular training programs, Managing Scanned Ewes and RamSelect, has been recognised with two major awards from the CRC Association. The Sheep CRC received the CRC Program's Star Award for high level engagement with small and medium size businesses for Managing Scanned Ewes, and the award for Excellence in Innovation for the RamSelect initiative, both of which have resulted in dramatic uptake of new research and major improvements to industry productivity. The RamSelect program was developed by the Sheep CRC and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), with input from Sheep Genetics, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the private sector. Led by the Sheep CRC's Industry Engagement & Training Coordinator Lu Hogan, RamSelect provides a "hands-on" practical approach to using Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) for ram selection so that sheep breeders can maximise genetic gain and therefore increase profit from their wool and meat businesses. The program has delivered 73 workshops to 1389 participants, including ram breeders, ram buyers, stock and station agents, industry service providers, tertiary and secondary students, with more than 95% of participants indicating they had a better understanding of how to make better use of ASBVs, and 85% of producer participants indicating they would use ASBVs to select rams in future. RamSelect also invested significantly to train a network of 31 industry service providers with skills to deliver the training program into the future. The overall impact of the RamSelect program on the sheep industry is evidenced by producer survey data showing the proportion of producers using a balance of visual assessment, ASBVs and performance data to select rams increased from 32% to 42% between 2011 and 2014, representing practice change by approximately 3000 sheep producers. The Managing Scanned Ewes Program was recognised after delivering 88 scanning workshops around Australia to 1800 sheep producers, resulting in around 80 per cent of attendees going on to change their management practices. It is estimated that improved use of pregnancy scanning data and increased uptake of testing has led to an additional 500,000 lambs born per year, which translates to a 15 per cent increase in reproduction efficiency. "Both programs show the impact which can be achieved by effective collaboration between public sector researchers, in particular the efforts of NSW DPI's Allan Casey on RamSelect and Chris Shands on Managing Scanned Ewes, and private sector service providers in creating a platform for sharing knowledge with producers for years to come," Sheep CRC CEO James Rowe said. Modernising the lamb carcase grading system
Sheepmeat 2015 2016