Individual sheep carcase tracking implemented
7 March 2017
A Gippsland meat processor has implemented an innovative carcase hook tracking system that could provide producers with individual carcase feedback on their sheep.
Agriculture Victoria's Red Meat Value Chain Specialist, Mr Tim Hollier, said Radford's in Warragul was the first of four processors to research, test and implement individual sheep carcase tracking systems through the plant.
"These systems close a vital gap in tracking animals and will benefit producers, as well as the wider meat industry," Mr Hollier said.
"Sheep National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) ear tags are scanned at the start of processing.
"In most systems, computer software then electronically links the NLIS ear tag number to a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip in the hook the carcase is attached to.
"Radford's uses an innovative alternative system, using good protocols and body identifier tags to link the information.
"Traceability can now be maintained throughout processing, as the carcase can always be linked back to the original sheep NLIS number and property of origin," he said.
"When fully operational, the system will not only enhance biosecurity and quality assurance, but can also provide producers with valuable information such as carcase weight, fat score and animal health information on individual animals.
"The ability of the carcase tracking systems to provide information on individual animals has the potential to greatly assist producers with decision making in their businesses."
Mr Hollier said Agriculture Victoria has been working with four meat processors to develop and implement individual sheep carcase tracking systems.
"These systems will improve biosecurity, traceability and quality assurance of the Victorian meat industry."
Mr Hollier said the first system is now operational at Radford's, with the other three systems at various stages of testing and implementation.
"The systems are designed and tailored for each processing plant. While there is no 'one size fits all' system, there is a basic method that all plants use," he said.
For more information about using EID on farm, visit our Electronic identification for sheep and goats page.
Categorised under: Agriculture