According to The Australian Financial Review, Meat and Livestock Australia has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with innovation specialist Xinova to help it find and solve complex problems faced by the livestock industry.
Xinova, which was recently spun out of Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures, brings together a network of 10,000 experts from more than 100 research institutes, universities and companies with diverse qualifications such as doctors, engineers and scientists, who collaborate to solve problems faced by a multitude of industries.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) general manager Christine Pitt said its deal with Xinova was in line with the organisation's broader focus on "open innovation models".
"It gives us access to a large array of potential solution providers without having to find those people individually," she said.
In the red meat industry dark cutting is when two animals are in a feedlot and when one is taken through to processing it yields a high quality meat, suitable for a fine dining restaurant, but the other animal, despite being kept in the same conditions ends up producing a low quality meat because it has been stressed.
If the animal remains stressed while it is being processed, its glycogen levels deplete and this results in a low quality meat that is purple-coloured and tougher.
To date it has been tough for farmers to identify whether or not an animal is stressed, but Xinova's team has developed a smart tattoo to combat this problem.
"The invention was effectively a bio sensor, like a smart tattoo, where you can tattoo the animal with a bio-reactive ink and it responds based on the animals blood chemistry to what is happening," he said.
"You can look across the herd and see if one cow has a red ear it must be stressed and then expand it to other things. If it's yellow it means its temperature is elevated, or if one is pregnant you can also tell, whereas usually it can only be measured invasively."
The other project involved MLA and Xinova finding a way to manage dags (an accumulation of manure and dirt on the hide of an animal). Usually they are hard to remove and take a lot of elbow grease, so the organisations have developed a spray that's safe to use and causes the dags to slide off.
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