Riverina scientist's meat research making everyone 'appy

Leading Cowra-based scientist, Dr Benjamin Holman, this week received a grant of up to $22,000 to pursue a cutting edge project called ‘iMeat’, which aims to swap the subjective colour chips used to grade meat in abattoirs with a smart phone app.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, said Dr Holman’s work had won the Australian Meat Processor Corporation Award at the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

“The Coalition Government is committed to investing in research and development because we genuinely believe it is critical for productive, sustainable and profitable industries and the future competitiveness of Australian agriculture in global markets,” Minister Joyce said.

Mr McCormack said investing in the outstanding depth of talent across Riverina and the Central West was essential to the future of local industries.

“Agricultural industries are fundamental to the prosperity of our region, but we need to be very smart about how we secure that prosperity for future generations,” Mr McCormack said.

“Innovation is critical, but successful innovation is always based on a practical understanding of industry and the unique challenges faced on a day to day basis.

“Dr Holman’s work demonstrates the huge opportunities that investment in regional excellence offers.”

Dr Holman’s ‘iMeat’ project is using smart device technology to improve objectivity and costs associated with manual colour assessment for red meat.

“While customers prefer brighter coloured meat, dark cutting—the term used for meat that does not brighten when it is exposed to air—is thought to occur in 10 per cent of all beef carcasses.

“Dark cut meat is estimated to cost industry more than $36 million each year, but the only measure is a subjective, manual test against colour chips on a wall.

“This research aims to establish a consistent, easy to use and cost effective technological alternative for colour evaluation in abattoirs.”

Dr Holman said working directly with industry was the most rewarding aspect of his work.

“It’s good getting out there and having a yarn with industry because you tend to learn more about the issues and the gaps that need to be filled,” Dr Holman said.

“It gets me out of the office to where the action is.”

$230,000 in grants were awarded to 11 young scientists and researchers through the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

For more information about the Science and Innovation Awards, please visit:


Cristy Houghton