Farm Management

Producers set to benefit through forums

Image: Bruce Hancock. Image provided by IET

Sheep producers can now tap into the latest in meat science to bolster their business performance, with the Sheep CRC now a partner in the popular extension program, It’s Ewe Time (IET).

IET is designed to increase producer awareness of the principles, practices and tools of sheep enterprise profitability and productivity.

It is a joint initiative of Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

The forums are being rolled out across Australia in August – to areas including Esperance and Northam, Western Australia on August 22 and 24, 2017, and in Hamilton, Victoria, on August 31, 2017. Forums have already been held on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, and Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, with presentations available online.

As part of their support for IET, Sheep CRC will sponsor meat research scientists to present at each of the forums, including experts such as MLA Genetics Manager Hamish Chandler, and Murdoch University’s Graham Gardner, Sarah Stewart and Dave Pethick.

The Sheep CRC’S Bruce Hancock says presenters will highlight outcomes from the Sheep CRC’s Quality based sheep meat value chains program.

“The research, development, extension and application of meat science – lean meat yield, eating quality and health attributes, objective carcase management, genetics, producer feedback and practice change, and developing technologies – are embedded within the supply chains from the get-go in collaborative and co-investment projects,” Mr Hancock said.

“The CRC’s Quality based sheepmeat value chains program is assessing new carcase objective measurement devices such as DEXA for lean meat yield percentage (LMY%), and hyperspectral cameras for intramuscular fat.

“By 2020 the program aims to have 4 million lambs commercially measured for LMY% and cuts-based MSA gradings, allowing feedback to be delivered back to lamb producers.”

The Sheep CRC and its collaborators have found increasing LMY% will assist in improving enterprise productivity and whole of supply chain profitability.

“Eating quality is directly linked to consumer satisfaction, and sensory studies in Australia, China and the USA have found that the discerning consumer is willing to pay more for measurable quality differences,” Mr Hancock said.

New genomic assisted ASBV indexes balancing hard to measure carcase traits such as LMY% and IMF% were now available to assist producers to select for these genetic traits.

“It’s important that producers select the best combination of these traits for their production systems and targeted markets,” he said.

“Attending the forums will be a great chance for producers to find out more on these newly developing market specifications, and how to use carcase feedback to benchmark and improve performance – and the importance of speaking regularly with your processor.”

Source: IET

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