THE government is funding research into 'smart-tags', which could vastly improve meat traceability and allow farmers more opportunities to tap into the conscious consumer market.
Central Queensland University has been awarded more than $200,000 to investigate how to improve meat traceability through the existing National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).
The research will focus on ways to improve tracing animal welfare and meat quality with the emerging technology of on-animal sensors, also known as smart tags.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud made the announcement at Rockhampton's Beef Week, and said the aim was to give farmers another way to tap into the growing and lucrative conscious consumer market.
"We can give confidence to our customers, both domestically and internationally, that we still produce the safest and best beef in the world," Mr Littleproud said.
"We know that consumers in Australia and internationally want greater transparency and real time advice about the origin and safety of products in the modern digital marketplace.
"We're embracing technology to help show the lifecycle of our products, from paddock to plate."
The research would also help the nation manage biosecurity outbreaks.
"Having these tools in place protects our community and producers, and allows us to mitigate any problems as soon as we face an outbreak," Mr Littleproud said.
Mr Littleproud said the smart-tags would build on what was already being used within the industry so the "technology doesn't have to reinvent the wheel".
"We already use sophisticated ear tags in the form of the NLIS, so this research can be used to improve and expand a product that is already in use," he said.
CQU Associate Professor Mark Trotter said he was grateful for the grant.
"We thank the government for its support to develop a sensor-based livestock traceability system," he said.
The smart-target research was one of 14 projects funded under round two of the Traceability Grants Program.
Other projects funded include an app to track kangaroo meat harvesting and a DNA database to combat illegal logging.