Smart-tag research links industry

Countryman
New research funding into smart-tags technology is earmarked for traceability, linking pre-farm gate management with results obtained at processing.
Camera IconNew research funding into smart-tags technology is earmarked for traceability, linking pre-farm gate management with results obtained at processing. Credit: WAFarmers/WAFarmers

An Australian university has been awarded a traceability grant to improve meat traceability through the existing National Livestock Identification System.

Central Queensland University has been awarded a $200,101 from the Traceability Grants Program that supports industry projects that will enhance agricultural supply chain traceability systems, including developing and trailing technologies that digitise information flow.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the research would look at ways to improve meat traceability, animal welfare and meat quality.

“On-animal sensors or smart-tags is an emerging technology and we’re only just learning the full extent of how it can benefit the red meat industry,” he said.

“This research looks at how smart-tags technology can be used in traceability, linking pre-farm gate management with the results obtained at processing.”

Mr Littleproud said it involved a review of how smart-tags could be used to detect disease and management issues, and a case study to inform how this data can be employed for industry.

“While there is a commercial drawback to diseases, given that they ultimately result in carcass downgrades, any incentive to improve the health and welfare of our animals can only be a positive,” he said.

“What’s even better is that this technology doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Mr Littleproud said the use of sophisticated ear tags in the form of the NLIS were already in use and further research could improve and expand the product line.

“We know that consumers in Australia and internationally want greater transparency and real time advice about the origin and safety of product in the modern digital marketplace,” he said.

“Whether it’s through developing block-chain technology to assist with food safety, an app to track kangaroo meat harvesting, or a DNA database to combat illegal logging, these round two projects will give Aussie exporters the competitive edge.”

Central Queensland University associate professor Mark Trotter said he was grateful for the grant.

“We thank the Australian Government for its support to develop a sensor-based livestock traceability system,” he said.

The Australian Government has invested $7 million from 2019-20 through to the end of 2022-23 in traceability grant projects.

To find out more, visit agriculture.gov.au/market-access-trade/traceability-grants-program.

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