4.6.2 Alternative technologies for measuring carcass composition
In Australia, both the beef and lamb industries have long sought a solution for measuring composition in the whole carcase, enabling industry to move away from their reliance on simple tissue depth measurements. In the late 90’s an imaging system called VIAscan was developed that could predict carcase lean meat yield percentage from a 2-dimensional image. This system demonstrated adequate precision in both beef and lamb and has been widely adopted in the New Zealand lamb industry. It is no longer in use in Australian abattoirs. Companies continue to develop vision imaging systems using multiple camera’s to capture 3-dimensional images for predicting carcass composition, with examples including the Frontmatec’s BCC3, and the E+V imaging system.
In 2016 an alternative system using Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry (DEXA) was installed in an Australian lamb abattoir in Bordertown, SA. This system was an adaption of an existing single energy Xray system that was used to direct automated cutting of lamb carcasses. This system demonstrated excellent precision and accuracy in determining carcass fat, lean, and bone percentage, and has since been installed in 5 lamb abattoirs and one beef abattoir across Australia.