Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today commissioned new x-ray technology which places Western Australia at the forefront of research to improve the meat quality of sheep.
Mr Chance said the State Government provided $380,000 to purchase a new Dual Emission X-Ray Absorption Machine (DXA) to allow researchers to study animal body composition.
The Minister unveiled the DXA machine today at the Department of Agriculture’s Great Southern Agricultural Research Station field day at Katanning.
“The research station has a very strong focus on sheep research, including work on ewe productivity, improving sheep meat quality and looking at new animal husbandry methods,” he said.
“The DXA technology will complement the department’s research and work for the benefit of the State’s sheep industry where it is critical that we provide a quality meat product to overseas and domestic markets.”
Mr Chance said the machine was used to measure the body composition of live animals, enabling researchers to study changes in body composition on the same animals at different times.
“The WA Meat Marketing Co-operative (WAMMCO) in Katanning also secured Government support to purchase a VIASCAN machine to measure fat and lean meat yield content on individual carcasses,” he said.
“Linking the DXA with this VIASCAN technology provides a powerful tool to obtain information from live sheep and carcasses that was not previously possible.”
The new equipment enables the study of the genetic and underlying biology of meat production, allowing researchers to develop new management and breeding technologies to improve lamb and mutton production.
In particular, it provides the opportunity to improve the meat production capability of merino sheep without sacrificing wool production traits.
Other key research highlighted at the field day included cereal variety trials examining the establishment and management of the new soft wheat Bullaring and Kojonup oat, and trials of the new barley variety earmarked for release next year.
The latest work on canola response to gypsum and potash application was also discussed, as well as research on improved methods of grain storage and fumigation and chemical use on farms.
“Research is vital if our agricultural industries are to operate at world’s best practice and at economic levels,” Mr Chance said.
“It is also vital that research remains relevant to industry, and the research station field day is one of the most important ways the Department of Agriculture can share its information.
“The Gallop Government is protecting and enhancing WA’s unique environment.”
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