The path to a carbon neutral future, environmental sustainability and profit for the red meat and livestock industries will be the focus at a forum in Wagga later this month.
NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) livestock, soil and pasture research will be showcased as part of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation’s Livestock Forum to be held on 30 July in Wagga.
The Forum is a great opportunity for NSW DPI, Charles Sturt University and industry experts to showcase beef and sheep research that can be applied on-farm to benefit the red meat industry.
The Australian red meat and livestock industry has set the ambitious target to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
Panel discussions will bring together speakers from Meat & Livestock Australia and NSW DPI who are driving research in this area, consultants and producers who are implementing change.
People can join the Forum online through an interactive conference platform.
NSW DPI Research Scientist Dr Benjamin Holman will present on the safeguarding of Australian beef exports and market access with the verification of ‘total volatile basic nitrogen’ (TVB-N) as a freshness biomarker.
Dr Holman said the association between TVB-N and freshness was first established using fish products and this threshold was then transferred to red meat, although the biochemical pathways for TVB-N and its relationship to red meat freshness biomarkers are at present, ill-defined.
“Without this information and in the event of trade discussions, the Australian red meat sector could find constricted export access and market share,” he said.
“A recent study of Australian beef demonstrated that TVB-N is associated with measures for colour, microbial load, tenderness and moisture content.”
“TVB-N was found to provide more precise and accurate categorisation of beef as fresh or spoilt, compared to other quality and spoilage parameters tested, when meat status was classified using microbial load.”
As global demand for high-quality, safe meat and animal products is increasing, NSW DPI Research Scientist Dr Steph Fowler’s research will cover the use of objective technologies for lamb carcase assessment to enable the transfer of objective meat quality data throughout the supply chain.
Dr Fowler said the assessment of lamb carcases is an area that has potential to benefit from increased information available along the supply chain as carcases are currently only traded on weight and fat depth, which relates poorly to yield and gives no information on the nutritional or eating quality of the carcases.
“Two technologies have been evaluated to assess the ability to predict intramuscular fat and eating quality traits continues to complement existing systems such as Meat Standards Australia (MSA), providing objective data to consumers and producers.”
NSW DPI Soils Research Officer Belinda Hackney’s presentation will cover ‘Lessons from the drought – hardseeded legumes for soils and productivity’
Dr Hackney said the ability of pastures to reliably produce useful quantities of high-quality forage is becoming increasingly difficult with seasonal growing conditions showing greater variability than ever before.
“Hardseeded legumes can provide more flexible pasture-crop rotation systems than afforded by traditional legumes as they produce more herbage, supply more nitrogen and have capacity to support increased livestock production compared to traditional legumes,” she said.
Hardseeded annual legumes meet and exceed threshold seed production across a range of growing conditions including extreme drought, with seedbank establishment critical to future regeneration.”
Dr Cathy Waters, NSW DPI Climate Research Leader is presenting a keynote on transitioning the agricultural sector to a decarbonised economy. Cathy will present DPI modelling which shows transition to net-zero emissions will require both emissions reduction and sequestration.
“No single solution, but a portfolio of solutions will support a low carbon transition for the agricultural sector,” she said.
“Many abatement activities such as livestock emissions reduction practices and on-farm sequestration in vegetation and soil also have productivity benefits but the value proposition to farmers needs to be made.”
The Graham Centre is a research alliance between Charles Sturt University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Photo caption: NSW DPI to present livestock, soil and pasture research as part of the Graham Centre Livestock Forum on 30 July 2021.