The impact of extended transportation time on the eating quality of beef, without compromising animal welfare, will be the focus of a newly-commissioned MLA-funded research project with findings expected early next year.
The research into the effect of transport duration on MSA scores will monitor 352 Bos indicus-cross and Bos taurus animals, sourced from four collaborating properties in south and central Queensland.
The cattle will be transported for four different periods of transport (up to 36 hours) and lairage (up to 12 hours before slaughter at JBS Australia’s Dinmore processing facility. One treatment will look at the benefits of rest during longer duration transport.
Blood and urine samples will be collected from all animals at the time of slaughter and striploin samples will be taken for sensory testing at time of boning.
MLA’s Manager Northern Production Research, Wayne Hall, explained the research could have far-reaching implications for production of MSA-graded beef.
“Currently MSA requires that all cattle are slaughtered the day after dispatch. In practical terms, this generally limits maximum transport duration to approximately 24 hours,” Mr Hall said.
“However, if the research provides evidence that longer periods of transport of up to 36 hours do not impact on MSA eating quality, the potential for many more producers to supply into MSA is greater.”
Source: Meat and Livestock Australia