Boost for lamb model

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Stirling To Coast chief executive Christine Kershaw, lamb producer Sandy Forbes and Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan.
Camera IconStirling To Coast chief executive Christine Kershaw, lamb producer Sandy Forbes and Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

A near-quarter of a million dollar State Government grant could help an Albany-based farmers’ co-operative increase the value of its lamb product and break into new markets.

Stirlings to Coast will spend the next 18 months developing and trialling a digital supply chain logistics model for chilled lamb meat.

The chain will capture information available to all links of the industry and its customers, such as seasonal farm data, animal health and supply volumes.

For overseas markets, the system will allow potential customers to trace where their meat comes from.

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Stirlings to Coast chief executive Christine Kershaw said it would be a win for local producers, with growing Asian markets increasingly seeking high-quality Australian meat.

Dr Kershaw said the Chinese market would be particularly interested in the system given recent biosecurity concerns surrounding the global pork supply.

“There is a lot of pressure on the Chinese market at the moment on traceability as well as biosecurity,” she said.

“You’ve seen what has happened with pigs, so biosecurity is becoming increasingly important.

“Having electronic tags and traceability means if there is an outbreak of something, you can prove where your animal has come from, it can prevent you from being shut down.

“But also by having a co-op, helping you manage your quality assurance, it may well help your biosecurity measures as well on the farm.”

Using the system which traces individual sheep throughout the supply chain will help local producers differentiate themselves for competitors, something Dr Kershaw hopes will increase the value of Australian chilled lamb meat.

“One of the ways we do that is by improving our production and transparency on farms,” she said.

“So better individual animal management welfare and also digitising supply chain so that we can prove where the products have come from.

“The good thing about it is everyone can access that system, the consumer can use that system through an app, but also the transporters, the agents, the processors and the farmers themselves can track that product, if permission is given by people along the chain.”

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced Stirlings to Coast’s $225,000 grant towards trialling the system last Friday, as part of the State Government’s Regional New Industries Fund grants program.

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