AUSTRALIA’s first uniform interactive online carcase feedback system for beef and lamb has been formally launched with tools to help correct non-compliance costing the industries more than $100 million annually.
Livestock Data Link was developed by Meat & Livestock Australia and industry partners to links carcase slaughter data from the National Livestock Identification System and MSA databases with analytical tools, benchmarking reports and solutions feedback.
The supply chain feedback system includes a decision support tool linking to a ‘Solutions to Feedback’ library that offers producers solutions to improve carcase compliance.
MLA managing director Richard Norton formally launched the Livestock Data Link program in Melbourne last week during the JBS Australia Great Southern Producer Forum.
Mr Norton said $51 million is lost every year from beef cattle not hitting market specifications and another $64 million is lost from carcases being condemned. In 2011-12 it was also estimated another $12-$49m is lost due to offal and meat condemnation.
“So this is a $100 million-plus issue that we are addressing here today, on an annual basis,” he told 350 producers attending the JBS supplier day.
Mr Norton said MLA has been trying to set up Livestock Data Link for about three years.
“I must congratulate JBS for being the first processor that has helped us in this process. “Obviously without processors on board and without getting the information to put into the system for the processor it simply doesn’t work,” he said.
“This is the next big frontier – this huge data management that is going to happen in our industry from sustainability back to genomics and genetics, on how to meet customer specifications and how you can make more money on farm through the process.
“So thank you JBS — it’s an absolute pleasure to formally launch Livestock Data Link to the market.”
There are currently eight companies piloting LDL across 13 processing plants , but MLA was unable to disclose further details.
JBS Southern was one of the early adopters of LDL and will be the first supply chain to release LDL to its producers through JBS’s Farm-Assured programs, covering more than 2000 beef and lamb producers.
LDL available for feedback from all JBS plants
JBS Australia farm assurance supply chain manager Mark Inglis said he was ‘pretty excited’ about Livestock Data Link and what it represented.
“Obviously with my background with MSA and carcase data, I live and breathe carcase data. Every day great results come across my desk and I look at them – and if they are pretty ordinary a buyer will get a phone call from me,” he said.
“When I originally arrived at JBS and looked at the format of what we actually had, it was actually a bit disappointing – the way it went back to producers – so we’ve had a fair input into LDL.”
“I’ve been trying it on the lamb front for two years and we’ve got it to the stage where our producers within the farm assurance program I think are going to actually revel in it,” Mr Inglis said. The project had equally as much application in beef.
“I certainly know there are a few in the room that over the past two years have been at me on when are we going to launch it.”
“Finally it is up and going, so get on it and get amongst it,” he told producers at the Melbourne forum.
“I think you guys will benefit from seeing JBS kill data in its format – you can all understand it.”
Mr Inglis said Livestock Data Link was now available for lamb and beef carcase feedback from all JBS plants.
He said processing plants across Australia have been using different feedback formats.
“LDL is a common form of feedback and a way of interpreting kill data.”
LDL not only allowed producers to see their carcase feedback in a format that was easy, he said, but the data could then be ‘manipulated and played-with to compare performance with others.
Lean meat yield measurement through LDL
JBS Great Southern farm assurance program lamb suppliers will also now be able to see a lean meat yield figure for their lambs using Livestock Data Link.
Mr Inglis said JBS had been trialling a lean meat yield calculation on lamb in the Bordertown, Brooklyn, Longford and Cobram plants for six months. A lamb’s GR measurement and hot standard carcase weight computed with an algorithm are used to give a LMY measurement.
“It is not 100 percent accurate, but is a start,” he said.
Mr Inglis said there was a process to be completed – including improving calculation accuracy, developing carcase scanning technology and educating producers — before the company might use a LMY measurement in a payment system. This might take two to three years on lamb.
He said LDL was being used by JBS buyers to analyse each week’s kill in farm assured lamb and beef.
“The beef buyers on a Friday morning and the lamb buyers on a Monday morning see the data on the previous week’s kill – carcase weight, fat score and lean meat yield – to help fine-tune their buying skills, he said.
“There is a whole realm of information now that is at our fingertips whereas in the past we didn’t have it.”
LDL has potential to help producers deliver for consumers
JBS southern livestock sales business cadet Jose Webb said LDL enabled producers to analyse their carcase performance in terms of compliance to market specifications with performance outcomes linked to solutions for addressing non-compliance at the on-farm level.
She said with broad uptake and utilisation, LDL had the potential to deliver value to the industry by informing the supply chain how to more consistently deliver meat to consumer requirements.
LDL is a web-based supply chain feedback system that:
- Presents carcase feedback in a user-friendly format that encourages producers to use the information to improve their over-the-hook performance,
- Demonstrates to producers in dollar terms the non-compliance or opportunity cost of not meeting market specifications
- Provides producers with the ability to benchmark individual animal and consignment carcase performance at a flock/herd, regional, state and national level, and
- Enhances the capacity to evaluate and monitor carcase performance to support business decisions.
Producers can do carcase trait analysis
MLA value chain relationship manager Verity Gilbertson said before animals are slaughtered, under the LDL system, they are allocated a target market.
“At the end of each day JBS will upload your carcase data into NLIS with this target market.”
This carcase data is then analysed against an LDL grid which is based on the discounts or penalties that apply for not complying with the processor market specifications.
“What will happen is that when you go into LDL you will have an allocated target market and you will then select the processor grid that you have entered in. This will analyse individual carcase performance against that selected grid, and calculate the cost of non-compliance for each trait.”
LDL also allows producers to look at animals that are over or under specification for each trait, Ms Gilbertson said.
“You have the capacity to download a CSV file with individual animal carcase data that will then allow you to go off and do further analysis or be uploaded onto you on-farm system.”
Ms Gilbertson said a key LDL feature is the ‘Solutions to Feedback’ library that will tell producers how to improve compliance on farm. By clicking on any of the segments within the carcase analysis grid, the Solutions to Feedback library will tell producers why each animal on the LDL grid was non-compliant and what the potential solutions are.
“It (LDL) is going to allow you to identify opportunities to improve compliance to market specification and will support you to make business management decisions by offering solutions through ‘Solutions to Feedback,” she told producers at the JBS forum.
An LDL workshop was held during Friday’s JBS forum and more training workshops will be planned with JBS depending on their supply chain needs.
Accessing Livestock Data Link
LDL is accessed with a producer’s NLIS user ID and password. Producers without an NLIS account can set this up on https://nlis.mla.com.au Those requesting an NLIS account should select the Producer account type, and enter a valid PIC (registered in your name) and email address. It may take up to seven days for NLIS to activate a new account. Assistance is available at the NLIS Helpdesk on 1800 654 743 or firstname.lastname@example.org Before producers can use LDL they need to register their NLIS user ID and password on http://ldl.mla.com.au