'MEATING consumer demand' was the theme of Tuesday's Victorian sheepmeat producer forum at the All Seasons Hotel.
Jointly hosted by the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and the Victorian Farmers Federation, with support from Meat and Livestock Australia, the forum was a chance for sheep farmers and meat producers to learn more about industry expectations and to ask questions.
The forum's objective was to collate information for producers and then to gain feedback from producers to send back to industry, based on a question and answer session at the end of the forum.
We pick speakers we believe will be of interest to this audience.
Victorian Farmers Federation livestock president Ian Feldtmann and Sheepmeat Council's Kate Joesph provided an overview of the sheepmeat industry, levy investments and key priority areas.
Meat and Livestock Australia's Dr Alex Ball spoke about MLA's eating quality research and development program and the impact on-farm management has on eating quality.
MLA's global marketing general manager Michael Edmonds provided insights into what customers were looking for when they bought lamb, big trends around the globe and how MLA global marketing is moving towards a globally consistent message and position.
Speaking before the forum began, Ms Joseph said the two MLA speakers were chosen because they were thought to be of interest to local producers.
"Sheepmeat Council is the peak body for the sheep meat industry and we represent producers at a national level," she said.
"Meat and Livestock Australia is a provider company, where our levies go, and one of the roles of Sheepmeat Council is to oversee the spending of those levies. We pick speakers we believe will be of interest to this audience."
She said the market for sheep meat was good at the moment.
"It’s big, over 50 per cent of lamb is exported and about 96 per cent of mutton is exported," she said.
One of the attendees, Kotupna sheep farmer Graham Sudholz, said the topic which stood out the most during the forum was Meat and Livestock Australia's research and development into eating quality.
"If you have too lean a lamb with not enough intra-muscular fat, it can have an impact on the taste and tenderness of the meat."
Mr Sudholz had knowledge of intra-muscular fat because of a trial he had taken part in but said he was impressed “some of the research was reasonably new”.
He said learning what breeds of sheep tasted better was also informative.