Ovation New Zealand is partnering with inMR Measure to test the development of an intramuscular fat lamb grading technology, with support and co-funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.
Developed by inMR Measure (inMR), the Marbl technology uses a single-sided nuclear magnetic resonance sensor (like a medical MRI) alongside the longissimus muscle to capture intramuscular fat (IMF) measurements.
The non-invasive, automated tool can determine the IMF percentage, a key trait in the eating quality of lamb.
Ovation NZ’s general manager, Alastair Bayliss, said automatically and accurately measuring IMF on hot carcases can help processors respond to market demands and greatly improve production efficiencies.
“Importantly, it will enable us to sort carcasses directly from the end of the processing floor into the chillers according to IMF percentage measurements,” he said.
InMR co-founder and director Dr Barbara Webster said over the course of the project, the Marbl technology will advance from a prototype system to a fully functional in-line, real-time automated measurement tool.
“The tool was previously trialled with 100 hot carcases at Ovation’s Feilding Processing Plant before it was shipped to Australia, where more than 1000 hot carcases were measured over two different seasons.”
“This pushes the technology down the path to commercialisation for the whole industry,” she said.
Ovation will support this project with co-funding and Bayliss said the “entire Ovation team are thrilled to be involved in this project based in our Gisborne processing facility”.
“Leading the way in this innovative new technology is very exciting for us. We have a large focus on increased value to the farmer and also the consumer, and are looking forward to being part of something that helps build a stronger lamb industry in New Zealand.”