Anyone in the meat industry not looking to export can’t be serious about the long term.”
Those were the words of abattoir owner Rob Radford as his Warragul abattoir Radford’s recently became the first in the state to be accredited by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources for the electronic scanning of sheep.
The practice of electronic scanning was made mandatory for Victorian meatworks after 1 January 2017.
The abattoir also recently gained a tier one accreditation for export to 28 countries.
“Our business will change. The meat industry (in Australia) is shrinking really quickly… we see record prices for cattle and lambs as retail is getting pushed hard by major supermarkets. We’ve really got to look at the alternatives,” Mr Radford said.
“As far as exports go, the (electronic scanning) is a good market tool and provides good traceability.” Mr Radford said the scanning system would allow a carcass to be traced from nearly anywhere in the world.
“It’s getting more common in overseas markets, people want know where their product comes from#People are taking more care and are very conscious of traceability,” he said.
Mr Radford explained the sheep scanning system worked in basically the same way as cattle scanning systems.
“You’ve got a button in the ear of the lamb and it gets scanned and goes into a database and a ticket gets printed out and attached to the carcass.
The barcode stays with the carcass no matter where it goes and can be scanned to tell you exactly where that lamb comes from,” Mr Radford said.
Mr Radford said the abattoir would still service the domestic market, but the export accreditation would “open up volumes to move product overseas”.
“It’ll be good for the region,” he said.
“We will be looking for a certain amount of stock and our first priority will be to try and buy it locally.
“It’s very early days. It’s been a long process and it’s been very time consuming but we’ve finally got there.”
Mr Radford said the abattoir had successfully scanned its first lot of stock from Sale recently, with 39 out of 40 livestock successfully scanned into the system.
The Gippsland Farmer is a monthly agricultural newspaper reporting on rural news and distributed FREE and direct to an area covering from Cann River through to South Gippsland. For more than 40 years Gippsland Farmer has reported on a range of issues and industries including dairy, beef, vegetables, sheep, goats, poultry, organic farming, and viticulture.