ICMJ aims to ‘Meat’ the challenges of the industry

Beef Central, 16/07/2013

A team from Kansas State University in the US has taken out the 24th Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging competition by the narrowest possible margin in the 2013 annual event which concluded in Wagga last weekend.

The Kansas State team clinched the title by a single point, judged out of a possible 5020 points on offer, over second-placed Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

Students judging the Beef Rib class for quality and yield at Teys Australia Wagga Wagga processing plantIn the largest and closest competition in the history of the event, Adelaide University came a close third, only 11 points behind CSU Wagga Wagga. The Adelaide University coach, Sam Walkom, was awarded the Dr Tom Carr award for coaching excellence.

More than 120 students from nine Australian Universities and five international teams from the US, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Pakistan competed for the Roy McDonald Shield sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia. The students were supported by more than 40 coaches accompanying the various teams.

Runner-up individual champion Lane Geiss from Kansas State University; Hayden Cornell, Teys Australia and the champion Individual, Courtney O'Sullivan from Murdoch UniversityThe champion individual competitor was Courtney O’Sullivan from Murdoch University who won the Teys Australia founders’ buckle, scoring 1086 points out of a possible 1255, 11 points clear of her nearest rival.

Coles general manager red meat, Allister Watson told delegates at the awards dinner that it was great to see so much enthusiasm and support for an integral part of the red meat industry. “Graduates of this program are vital to the industry, helping to deliver the high quality meat that we put on our shelves for our consumers,” he said.

In the competition, the students judge beef, lamb and pork carcases, beef and pork primals along with having to identify wholesale beef primals and beef, lamb and pork retail cuts.

The judging of carcases is based around fat cover, muscling and quality. Fat cover and muscling affect the retail yield of a carcase which drives profitability, while quality, assessed by looking at traits like marbling are important for improving the eating quality for consumers.

“The annual five day event is now far more than just a competition,” ICMJ president and general manager of Kerwee lotfeeders, Brad Robinson said. “We use this week to further the education of University graduates about the end product of the supply chain, as many university graduates can get through a whole degree without seeing inside a beef, lamb or pork processing plant,” he said.

The objective of ICMJ is to lay strong foundations for agricultural industries by educating and injecting enthusiastic graduates into a range of diversified careers in the meat and livestock sector.

Mr Robinson said the continued financial support of the program by MLA, AMPC and other companies plus the time and efforts of the presenters who make their own way to Wagga was extremely appreciated by the students and pivotal to the success and longevity of the program.

Delegates of the five-day event heard from a range of inspiring and challenging presenters including AA Co chief operating officer Troy Setter, who told the students that the people who could articulate the economic values of decisions they are making, can relate production with the economics plus safety and have a holistic view of the whole of the supply chain are valuable for the industry. 

Also presenting at the event were Teys Australia feedlots general manager Grant Garey; Lambpro director Tom Bull; livestock general manager for Thomas Foods International, Paul Leonard; Andrina and Lachlan Graham (Argyle Prestige Meats); and Dr Darryl D’Souza from Australian Pork Ltd.

Ten students were also selected from the competition to undertake a five day Meat Standards Australia training course in Brisbane, where they will receive a comprehensive introduction to the Australian meat processing sector.

They were Mikhalla Middleton (CSUW), Frederick Broughton (UNE), Nicholas van den Berg (ADE), Emily Hall (UNE), Tamara Heir (CSU Wagga), Hamish Irvine (Uni of Sydney), Tyaan Tuckey (Tocal), Laura Kemmis (CSU Wagga), Elizabeth Crerar (UNE) and Ebony Mull (CSU Wagga).

Five of these students will then be selected to take part in a tour of the US.

Participating in  the 2013 ICMJ competition were Murdoch University, University of New England, Tocal Agricultural College, University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga, Charles Sturt University Orange, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, Kansas State University, Japanese National team, South Korean National Team, Pakistan National team and Indonesian Industry representatives.

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