The Australian sheepmeat industry is $317 million better off thanks to the research and new technologies delivered by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) over the last 19 years.
In compiling its final reports to the Commonwealth and industry before it closes its doors on June 30, the Sheep CRC has undertaken a series of economic assessments to measure the impact and adoption of the tools and technologies it has developed.
The assessment of the Sheep CRC's meat program estimated a $317M net present value benefit based on the current rate of adoption of technologies driving improvements in meat eating quality and value, and the impact they will have on productivity over a 15-year period from 2015-2029.
The study, conducted using the CRC Program's economic assessment protocols, measured the benefits accruing to industry from: the development of a cuts-based Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system for measuring saleable meat yield and eating quality, and providing enhanced feedback to producers; new processing technologies to assist in meeting consumer expectations; and genetic technologies to assist breeders deliver higher quality lamb.
Sheep CRC meat program leader Professor Dave Pethick (pictured), of Murdoch University, said the estimates, which were independently reviewed, showed an overall cost:benefit ratio of 1:41/2.
"By improving customer satisfaction and driving demand, these technologies have together delivered an increase in the price paid to producers of 20c/kg and a benefit to processors of 50c/kg - or an additional $15.40/carcase," Mr Pethick said.
"This is an impressive result and would not have been achieved without the collaborative approach taken by the sheep industry and the meat processing sector, led by the Lamb Supply Chain Group which was established by the Sheep CRC."
The economic analysis factored in a cost of $70M for the research, development and commercialisation of these technologies, including $40M in foundational research conducted in the previous terms of the Sheep CRC from 2001-2014.
"In addition, in-kind contributions from research organisations, meat processors and other companies involved in the meat supply chain was estimated at a further $19M," Mr Pethick said.
"In valuing the impact of these technologies the cuts-based calculator developed by the CRC in collaboration with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), was identified as a key contributor, delivering an extra $1.80/carcase for 10pc of carcases more accurately allocated to the correct market thanks to this tool.
"As a result of information from the calculator, more carcases will meet processor targets for improved margin and delivering increased value."