• Merinotech WA is a West Australian group of performance based Merino ram breeding enterprises. Merinotech breeding objectives ensure a highly profitable, white wooled, easy care merino sheep suited to each specific environment.
  • Farmers choosing Merinotech rams profit by maximising the rate of genetic gain in their merino flocks.The primary aim is to continuously improve the profitability of our members and clients merino wool and livestock enterprises.
  • We invite you to browse through our website and find out about Merinotech activities. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information about our animals.
  • Merinotech WA is a West Australian group of performance based Merino ram breeding enterprises. Merinotech breeding objectives ensure a highly profitable, white wooled, easy care merino sheep suited to each specific environment.
  • Farmers choosing Merinotech rams profit by maximising the rate of genetic gain in their merino flocks.The primary aim is to continuously improve the profitability of our members and clients merino wool and livestock enterprises.
  • We invite you to browse through our website and find out about Merinotech activities. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information about our animals.
  • Merinotech WA is a West Australian group of performance based Merino ram breeding enterprises. Merinotech breeding objectives ensure a highly profitable, white wooled, easy care merino sheep suited to each specific environment.
  • Farmers choosing Merinotech rams profit by maximising the rate of genetic gain in their merino flocks.The primary aim is to continuously improve the profitability of our members and clients merino wool and livestock enterprises
Merinotech Articles
The latest eating quality science
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Managing intramuscular fat and tenderness to improve the consumer experience 

David Pethick and Alex Ball - School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, South St., Western Australia, 6150 and Meat & Livestock Australia, North Sydney, NSW, 2059 and Sheep CRC, CJ Hawkins Homestead, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351. 

Abstract 

This paper discusses the new research and potential implementation phases associated with managing eating quality in Australian lamb. Firstly we discuss the need for electrical stimulation systems as part of lamb processing, especially for supply chains with a domestic focus. We then describe the new eating quality traits being developed in the Sheep CRC Information Nucleus program namely intramuscular fat, shear force tenderness and consumer evaluation using Meat Standards Australia taste panels. Finally we discuss future ways the Industry will underpin and guarantee eating quality of lamb cuts. 

Introduction 

The current recommendations for managing the eating quality of lamb meat are captured in the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) lamb system. The key elements of the recommended pathway for best practice are summarised in Figure 1 (MSA 2012). This requires meeting recommended growth rates, carcase and fat specifications, curfew and lairage times, pH x temperature windows (i.e. controlled with electrical stimulation) and meat aging. In addition there are cut x cook recommendations for commercial cuts of lamb. A key feature is that the pathways are not difficult to achieve and represent Industry best practice throughout the lamb production supplychain. 

 
Genetic fat – bullet proofing the Merino ewe
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A.N. Thompson, M.B. Ferguson, S.E. John, G. Kearney, G. Rose and J. Young School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150  Sheep Industries Group, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, South Perth, WA 6151 

Introduction 

Merino ewes are the backbone of the Australian sheep industry and this is likely to be the case for some time. Stocking rate will remain a key profit driver in Merino enterprises and to maintain or improve profitability producers will need to continually adapt their production systems to deal with even larger changes in feed supply between seasons and years. The reproductive performance of the Merino ewe also needs to improve, largely through improving the survival of twin born lambs, to rebuild flock numbers and meet market demand for lamb and sheep meat. Increasing both stocking rates and reproductive performance need to be achieved in the context of producers wanting to run more sheep per person with less intervention and increased consumer demand for welfare friendly products. Improving genetics and matching sheep genotype to the production and management system will inevitably become more important. We believe this will include defining traits to more easily identify Merino sheep that are more robust, that lose less liveweight when faced with sub-optimum nutrition and that produce more progeny with higher survival rates both pre- and post-weaning. 

 
New genomic technologies – opportunities for the Australian lamb industry
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 Dr Rob Banks - Manager, R&D Strategy & Evaluation Program Manager, Meat & Livestock Australia, Level 1, 165 Walker Street, North Sydney, NSW 2060, Australia. 

Summary 

There are real opportunities for the Australian lamb industry arising from the genomic tools that are now becoming available.

They are in three areas: 

  • Being able to simultaneously breed for improved lean meat yield and aspects of product quality such as tenderness, flavour and nutritional composition. 
  • Being able to accelerate genetic progress, especially on the maternal side, for traits such as lambing rate and parasite resistance. 
  • Being able to significantly reduce the overall cost of making rapid genetic improvement. 

Exploiting these will require a combination of innovation by individuals and industry collaboration. 

 
The importance of Lean Meat Yield
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The value it creates in the supply chain and the importance of better feedback to farmers 

G. Gardner, D.W. Pethick, F. Anderson 

Murdoch University 

Lean meat yield – a definition:Lean meat yield percentage (LMY%) refers to the proportion of a carcase that is composed of lean tissue (muscle). 

Why is lean meat yield important? 

Lean meat yield is a key efficiency and profit driver throughout the supply chain. Lamb is sold in lower yielding formats at a retail level (ie more bone and fat) compared to beef, pork and chicken and is typically more expensive, especially when compared on a $/kg lean at retail (Pethick, Ball et al. 2010). High yielding carcases deliver cuts that have a better shape and ensure retailers do not have to present products of overly fat animals for display and sale.For processors a high yielding animal represents increased efficiency in the boning room. These carcases require less labour to trim fat and there is less carcase wastage. For producers, higher yielding animals can be finished to heavier weights without becoming overly fat and accruing penalties. Additionally, fast growing, high yielding animals can be finished either faster or to heavier weights, in a shorter period of time, offering the producer savings on feed costs. 

 
Efficient Production in the Future
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Prevailing circumstances can cause a downward spiral - more stock needed, to produce more wool or meat, which then can create issues in terms on management, finances, workload and raise community concerns about land degradation. In many cases what is produced is not done in the most efficient way. Efficiency of production is about getting the most out of what you have, but not sacrificing any one area for shot term gain.

Firstly, three questions need to be answered:

  • Where am I now?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • How do I get there?

As a basis to determine your enterprise decisions.These questions underpin a business approach to livestock production. The answer to the third question, is associated with harvesting available information. Once a target is determined, decisions around activities are all focussed on achieving that target. New practices, skills and knowledge may be required to implement this business approach to management to assist achieving the target.

 
What is a Supply Chain?
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A supply chain is an integrated and co operative approach by organisations that aims to satisfy the expectations of customers and participants. This means sharing information and resources and working closely together instead of in isolation. Wool will compete successfully with man made fibres when the supply system can deliver volume, information, services, quality and customer satisfaction better than its competitors. This will only be achieved through openness and cooperation.

Supply chains can be established in many different ways but can be identified in two main categories, horizontal and vertical.

 
Breeding Merinos for the Future
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Merinotech is part of the coming revolution in Merino breeding ~ a revolution that will turn upside down many long-held perceptions and beliefs about sheep breeding, but that will also reinforce the value and strength of some traditional approaches and insights.

 
Challenges of the Future
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Challenges of the future by Kevin Bell

As in all WA agricultural industries the over ridding challenge will be to continue improving productivity at the accepted rate of at least 3% whilst:

  • reaching and maintaining sustainability
  • providing the basis for vibrant and fulfilling communities of people

The farming systems now practised in the wool belt of Western Australia are demonstrably very productive and quite sustainable with the addressing of hydrological issues. The continuing productivity improvements demonstrated by monitored group performance attest to improving rather than degrading resources.