Bindaree Beef red meat pilot trial
- As part of this trial, Bindaree Beef implemented an animal disease system on the slaughter floor to be able to capture real time animal disease and defect data for individual carcases.
- 100,000 animals were processed through the station as part of this trial. 20% of bodies per lot processed were found to contain disease and defects, or typically one third the number of head of cattle being processed within the lot.
- The data gathered provided Bindaree Beef with several insights around on farm and feedlot management decisions that improved the health of the cattle and reduced diseases such as bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
The purpose of the Bindaree Beef animal disease data pilot study was to demonstrate the value of sharing and utilising disease and defect data along the supply chain to improve productivity and profitability.
The project was part of the red meat pilot trials for the Rural Research & Development for Profit project Health 4 Wealth.
While many meat processing recording systems are already in place, data collection and feedback on disease-related carcase and offal condemnations varies considerably.
The Health 4 Wealth project aims to introduce a standardized, comprehensive approach to data collection and feedback on disease-related carcase and offal condemnations. This will allow producers to monitor disease prevalence in their livestock and make informed decisions to maximise yield outcomes.
The objectives of the Bindaree Beef Animal Disease Data Pilot Study project were to:
- Demonstrate that individual and lot-based animal disease and defect data can be effectively and efficiently transferred to producers.
- Demonstrate that animal disease and defect data can be correlated to an individual animal where an individual ID is present.
- Provide animal disease and defect inspection information to producers to help them make better informed decisions regarding on-farm practices to improve livestock/carcase performance.
- Provide learnings that can be incorporate into the wider Health 4 Wealth project.
Bindaree Beef implemented an animal disease system on the slaughter floor to be able to capture real time animal disease and defect data for individual carcases. This included embedding the Draft Australian National Standard for the Development, Collection and Reporting of Animal Health Data in the plant on-floor software system to be able to capture animal disease and defect data in a consistent way.
Software was procured through Bindaree Beef on-floor software provider who have implemented the Draft Australian National Standard for the Development, Collection and Reporting of Animal Health Data. This means that other processor companies using the same software will be able to switch on the animal disease and defect data functionality quite quickly.
Installing the animal health station within the business was a multistep process that included:
- Internal management signoff.
- Reaching agreement on critical animal health conditions to be include in the pilot study.
- Amending existing plant systems to allow standardised defects and disease to be recorded, including reviewing carcase disease and defect data collection against the Draft Australian National Standard for the Development, Collection and Reporting of Animal Health Data.
- Reviewing and updating plant system maintenance for carcase disease and defect data so the disease and defects reported for vendor feedback could be controlled.
- Data validation and training
- Soft launch of animal health information within the Bindaree Beef supply chain.
The company decided to start small and grow capability. Data collection started with an initial pilot of selected number of disease and defect, followed by all Myola feedlot cattle for all disease and defect codes. Once this was operating smoothly data collection was expanded to all cattle processed.
Bindaree Beef processed approximately 100,000 animals through the animal health station between May and November 2019. Analysis of the data revealed that on average:
- 20% of bodies per lot processed contained disease and defects.
- The number of total faults identified within a lot was typically one third the number of head of cattle being processed within the lot.
- The cost associated with condemning of carcase parts was $2 per head.
Within their own supply chain, the collection and analysis of animal disease and defect data helped Bindaree identify that cattle backgrounded prior to feedlot entry were less likely to have bovine respiratory disease. The data also highlighted the importance of yarding new animals together to reduce stress for a period, regardless of backgrounding, prior to commencing a high protein ration.
As a direct result of data collection, Bindaree Beef is now considering the expansion of its feedlot induction yards on the basis that it can improve offal retention by 10% for every animal within the feedlot over the next five-year period.
Future research and recommendations
Bindaree Beef identified that there needs to be further economic analysis at an industry scale to confirm that the:
- Increase in offal recovered by the processor provides enough of an increase in profitability that processors will be willing to pass this on in part to producers to reward them for their additional efforts, creating a win-win environment.
- Financial uplift for producers generated by feedback is enough incentive for them to improve their on-farm practices and that the reward matches the effort required to make these changes.
Health 4 Wealth Rural Research and Development for Profit
Rural Research and Development for Profit