Utilizing microwave expertise to analyse fats depth in stay cattle and carcases

THE crimson meat trade might quickly have a brand new instrument to foretell lean meat yield, with the event of a microwave scanner.

Murdoch College’s Superior Livestock Measurement Applied sciences program (ALMTech) is making use of microwave expertise to boost genetic choice, enhance carcase suggestions and optimise beef and lamb carcases to fulfill market specs.

“Utilizing this system to measure fats and tissue depth is much extra correct than counting on the human-provided rating the place they palpate the stay animal or carcase,” ALMTech’s chief investigator, Dr Graham Gardner stated.

“Suggestions from processors is essential for producers, and higher measurement expertise will assist present that.”

Carcase suggestions assortment

This microwave system has been focused as a less expensive, various measurement expertise to the Twin-Power X-ray Absorptiometry system (DEXA).

Whereas DEXA can decide full bone, muscle and fats measurement – useful data for processors – the microwave system measures fats depth at a single level to foretell carcase composition and lean meat yield.

This data is useful for different worth chain members, notably lotfeeders.

“The microwave system isn’t as correct as DEXA, however it’s considerably cheaper and doesn’t require the house wanted for DEXA, which is usually restricted in processing vegetation,” Dr Gardner stated.

“The thought is that we offer a barely much less correct however far cheaper and simply deployable system for trade to entry.”

The system has demonstrated success in measuring GR tissue depth, P8 and rib fats depth in stay animals and carcases. It will likely be best suited for feedlot and abattoirs to supply carcase suggestions to their suppliers.

There’s additionally potential for the scanner to gather data on situation rating and maternal fatness in ewes – permitting producers to handle their ewe flocks to make sure optimum lambing charges.

“The end result of a producer’s genetic choice might be knowledgeable by the suggestions from this system,” Dr Gardner stated. “Centered producers are at all times tweaking ending to boost their compliance to carcase slaughter grids, so higher, extra clear suggestions will encourage them to belief their knowledge to boost their programs.”

Challenges and subsequent steps

The expertise is at present at accreditation stage, however because the mission’s lead engineer, Jayaseelan Marimuthu defined, there have been challenges alongside the way in which.

After going via the prolonged course of for accreditation to foretell GR tissue depth in lamb, the group realised their gadgets weren’t equally calibrated – that means that the carcase tissue depth predictions differed from system to system.

“We had to return and reinvent our calibration technique,” Jayaseelan stated. “This has made our measurements extra sturdy and extra transportable, that means any system can now be used wherever in Australia and get the identical reply.

“It was an early hiccup that we needed to repair to make sure the accuracy of our product.”

Mr Marimuthu stated whereas there have been nonetheless a number of steps earlier than full adoption of the system – together with accreditation, person coaching and kill-chain implementation – he was excited by the problem of rolling it out to trade.

“The system itself is a elaborate little bit of electronics. It must be handled fastidiously, so we’re working with a few collaborators on a industrial street take a look at. They’ll use it, work out the idiosyncrasies, inform us what the issues are, after which we will maintain tweaking the bodily design to make it extra user-friendly and prepared for industrial use.”

In regards to the hand-held, transportable microwave expertise:

ALMTech has innovated, prototyped, and is now commercialising this system to measure single-site subcutaneous fats depth in each stay animals and carcases. In Australia, fats depth is a key part of stay animal buying and selling and figuring out ending time for slaughter, but at present fats scoring is by way of a visible or palpated estimate, which is subjective and imprecise. Extremely-wide band microwave is a non-invasive expertise that makes use of low energy, non-ionizing electromagnetic waves to find out fats depth. The expertise takes benefit of the differing properties (permitivity and conductivity) of organic tissues whereby an antenna transmits pulses that produce a frequency-dependent diversion and scattering at tissue boundaries, enabling estimation of depth. The measurement is instantaneous and requires no particular coaching of the operator, except for correct placement of the antenna on the desired website of measurement. Not like DEXA, the low energy frequencies are non-destructive, therefore it poses no well being danger to dwelling or useless tissues.

Producer’s view

Michael Hughes focuses on maximising effectivity and assembly market specs in his NSW Angus feedlot, so he was eager to strive a brand new hand-held system which might take the operation’s carcase efficiency to the following degree.

The system, which makes use of microwave indicators to measure carcase composition, is being trialled on his feeder cows in an effort to spice up feed effectivity and carcase efficiency.

“In the meanwhile, we’re primarily utilizing it to measure fats on the P8 (rump) of our feeder cows,” Mr Hughes stated.

“Our feedlot is exclusive in that we’re placing older cows on feed for 60 days earlier than turning them off, so we get cows coming into the feedlot in numerous situations, from retailer situation to fairly fats.

“We wish to use the system to work out what physique fats the animal is carrying on the time of entry, so we will tailor their feed ration.

“The system itself may be very fast and easy – we simply contact the system on the animal’s physique once they come into the crush and pull the set off to take the fats measurement.”

Data is energy

Having this measure of carcase composition forward of time might show key to Mr Hughes’ efforts – streamlining prices and serving to meet market specs.

“In the meanwhile, our kill sheets point out our cows have wherever between 10–12mm to 45–50mm of P8 fats when processed, with 10–15mm the best measurement,” he stated.

“By utilizing the system to measure fats on every particular person animal, we will now regulate our administration to maintain inside the 10–15mm preferrred vary.

“For instance, we would elect to not feed animals which can be already too fats and as a substitute select an alternative choice for them apart from the feedlot, reminiscent of doing a grassfed kill.

“Equally, it may assist keep away from overfeeding, as you possibly can tailor rations to scale back the price of funding within the animal.”

As soon as the system is accredited for industrial use, Mr Hughes hopes processors can even reap the advantages of the expertise.

“If we’re not sending animals over that preferrred 10–15mm fats measurement, processors will minimise the waste they create within the boning room via trimming,” he stated.

“Not solely will this imply it take much less time to course of the carcase, however they can even get extra premium product.”

“As soon as commercially obtainable, we anticipate the system to supply an instantaneous, correct studying of P8 fats. Into the longer term, we might even have a look at the way it will help assess consuming high quality primarily based on intramuscular fats,” he stated.

“The probabilities are thrilling – and purposes might exist not only for cattle, however for sheep as properly.”