Massey University is inviting the public to taste-test a potential new beef product developed from dairy-origin cattle at Central District Field Days in Feilding.
Wharerata Function Centre’s executive chef Sean Kereama will be preparing samples for the public to taste at Massey’s stand in the Agriculture Pavilion between 10am and 2pm each day.
Developed as part of a Massey-pilot study, New Generation Beef is a new class of red meat that takes surplus calves from the dairy industry and grows them to one year of age. The concept provides an avenue for the under-utilised resource of calves from the dairy industry to produce high quality red-meat.
Project leader Dr Nicola Schreurs, of the School of Agriculture and Environment, says the concept of New Generation Beef is building momentum, with the potential to become a marketable-product.
“As we have said before, it’s a red meat product,” she said.
“It’s not veal.
“The initial results have been promising, showing good growth rates and the meat produced has exceptional eating characteristics. It is very, very tender. It basically falls apart in your mouth – it’s delicious.
“It’s probably a little more mild than other beef products in New Zealand, but we see that as an advantage for different markets.
“When we have tested it with farmers at industry events, the response has been really great. We would like to see chefs take it up and see what they can do it with it, because at the moment it’s a bit of an unknown.
“I would love to see what kind of recipes and flavours they can they come up with, hence bringing on Sean from Wharerata. He’s going to prepare some so that the general public can taste it at Fieldays. It’s a perfect opportunity to see what people think.”
Masters students Sam Pike and Josh Hunt, who have been working on the project, will be manning the stand to gather feedback and answer questions.
The research at a glance
The pilot used 80 Kiwi-Hereford cross steers that were allocated to slaughter at eight, 10, 12 and 18 months.
The results indicated live weights of 250kg at eight months, 300kg at 10 months and 340kg at 12 months, and 550kg at 18 months. Studies on growth, carcass and meat quality attributes of these types of animals were then conducted.
The meat quality tests were within the expected range and they did not encounter any high pH value. The meat got redder as the age progressed, which was expected. The sheer force [the amount of effort required to cut through the meat] was below seven kgF, which is extremely tender and indicates this is a highly valuable prime beef.
The study also found that ageing new generation beef didn’t have much effect as the meat is already very tender.
The next stage of the project will be to identify the optimal calf type and extending the research to consider different types of calves coming from the dairy industry for New Generation Beef. By working alongside the Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics Dairy-Beef Progeny testing, led by Massey beef researcher Rebecca Hickson, there is a potential to identify sires that allow for better production of beef using dairy-beef cattle.
The New Generation beef research will also consider other potential products – they are working with the Leather and Shoe Research Association (LASRA) to do pelt quality measurements.
The programme will also enrol PhD students to assess the environmental impact of the supply chain and specificities for processing. Mr Hunt will continue on with the project, looking into how New Generation Beef would be implemented in a farm system and Mr Pike will report on the carcass and meat quality characteristics.
The research is supported by the C Alma Baker Trust and Beef + Lamb Genetics NZ.
Source: Massey University