September 24, 2023


Food Information

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

5 min read

THE purple meat business might quickly have a brand new software 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 satisfy market specs.

“Utilizing this machine 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 mentioned.

“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, significantly 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 mentioned.

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

The machine 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 will likely be knowledgeable by the suggestions from this machine,” Dr Gardner mentioned. “Targeted producers are all the time tweaking ending to boost their compliance to carcase slaughter grids, so higher, extra clear suggestions will encourage them to belief their information to boost their techniques.”

Challenges and subsequent steps

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

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

“We had to return and reinvent our calibration technique,” Jayaseelan mentioned. “This has made our measurements extra sturdy and extra transportable, that means any machine can now be used anyplace 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 mentioned whereas there have been nonetheless a number of steps earlier than full adoption of the machine – together with accreditation, consumer coaching and kill-chain implementation – he was excited by the problem of rolling it out to business.

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

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

ALMTech has innovated, prototyped, and is now commercialising this machine 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 presently 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, other than correct placement of the antenna on the desired web site of measurement. Not like DEXA, the low energy frequencies are non-destructive, therefore it poses no well being danger to dwelling or lifeless 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 machine which might take the operation’s carcase efficiency to the subsequent stage.

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 intervening time, we’re primarily utilizing it to measure fats on the P8 (rump) of our feeder cows,” Mr Hughes mentioned.

“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 are able to tailor their feed ration.

“The system itself may be very fast and easy – we simply contact the machine on the animal’s physique after 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 intervening time, our kill sheets point out our cows have anyplace between 10–12mm to 45–50mm of P8 fats when processed, with 10–15mm the perfect measurement,” he mentioned.

“By utilizing the system to measure fats on every particular person animal, we are able to now modify our administration to maintain throughout the 10–15mm superb vary.

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

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

As soon as the machine is accredited for business use, Mr Hughes hopes processors will even reap the advantages of the expertise.

“If we’re not sending animals over that superb 10–15mm fats measurement, processors will minimise the waste they create within the boning room by means of trimming,” he mentioned.

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

“As soon as commercially accessible, we count on the system to supply an instantaneous, correct studying of P8 fats. Into the long run, we might even have a look at the way it may also help assess consuming high quality primarily based on intramuscular fats,” he mentioned.

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




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