Meat imaging technology, which will soon be available in the UK, can help beef producers gain greater understanding of links between genetics and carcase quality.
Desi Cicale, Wagyu breeder and CEO of Meat Imaging USA spoke to the BCBC conference about her experiences in Japan. She learned about carcase grading from representatives of Meat Imaging Japan which developed the camera technology.
“When I took the first carcase captures I knew I had to bring this technology to the US,” she said.
It is a two-fold instrument which could help breeders assess both carcase quality and genetics and is currently undergoing certification by the US Department of Agriculture. “I am thrilled that the UK is on board to use this technology. We begin a new year towards a future of a global grading system and breeders getting paid for the quality of beef they produce.”
The camera scans the carcase barcode first before taking a picture of the ribeye area, she explained. It then gives a digital marbling percentage for the capture, a score for marbling fineness and a marbling score amongst two pages of results.
“You get an image where you can look at your ribeye and see the symmetry and how the fat courses through this particular carcase.”
It is possible to compare the ribeye areas and see which have finer marbling. This is important as producers learn how to use the technology for genetic interpretation, she said.
“With this technology you’re going to be able to define and grade the merits of the carcase. You’re going to have real time carcase data and that helps improve your genetics and maximises the performance of your herd.
“The MIJ mobile will turn perceived performance into proven performance. I think that’s something we all need. We need objective concise grading. We need to be able to take these measurements and have estimated carcase values. We need to know how our herd is performing.
“I’m very excited that we’re all on board to improve our herds and be more knowledgeable, and of course have the best beef in the world.”