The vast amount of data, now being collected by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), would drive significant price growth for cattle producers, a Warrnambool forum has been told.
MLA managing director Richard Norton told producers at the Te Mania Fast-Tracking Genetic Gain Workshop 54 million pieces of information had been collected in 2014-15.
“If I can link the value by cut, back to DNA and then back to genomic markers, then you can design your commercial herds, back to the end market,” Mr Norton said.
We will have the ability, within years, to design your herd, to your end market.- Richard Norton, MLA managing director
He said while environmental factors would still play a vital role, the aim was to introduce value based marketing, around objective carcase measurements. The MLA had merged three or four of its data bases, with the aim of making producers’ lives easier.
“Processors are moving up the value chain, doing branded product and wanting to understand what are the drivers on farm,” he said.
“They have transitioned into marketing and brands they have to create value. If they are going to pay you by cut, on a value based marketing program, that’s a clear signal they want to have price as the driver to change what you do on farm.”
He said he hoped the MLA portal would become the place where all the information was contained. “It is going to drive every interaction you have with the MLA, from the weather to future value based options.”
Mr Norton said processors were telling the MLA only 40 per cent of cattle, fed after 100 days, were hitting the market they were originally intended for.
“You will be able to say this is the DNA profile for my herd, these are my steers, you feed them, for however many days you want, and this will be the outcome and it will be 80 per cent accurate.”
Mr Norton said DEXA, hyperspectral imaging and CT scans would also provide more information. “Just with a simple X-Box cameras, on the side of a cattle crush, we can start giving you those primal cuts.
“As this technology develops, we can start giving you an image of body score, and saleable meat yield.”
The pork industry used objective carcase measurements, quite regularly, which were linked back to the DNA of an animal.
“That’s fundamentally where we are trying to go with the beef industry.”
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