Cowra at the forefront of increasing popularity of Aussie beef

DPI senior principal research scientist, David Hopkins with students from the prestigious Shandong Agricultural University in China.

DPI senior principal research scientist, David Hopkins with students from the prestigious Shandong Agricultural University in China.

A visit to Cowra on February 24 will continue the push to increase the popularity of Australian beef in the Chinese market.

A new agreement between the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and a major Asian agricultural university to boost demand for Australian beef in China will be cemented during the visit by Chinese scientists.

Australian beef sales to China surged six-fold in three years to a record $917 million in 2015, data from Meat & Livestock Australia show.

DPI senior principal research scientist, David Hopkins, who is based in Cowra, said Dr Yimin Zhang from the prestigious Shandong Agricultural University (SDAU) will be working on joint research projects to deliver beef into the Chinese market.

“Dr Zhang will work with local researchers to identify how Australian beef can meet Chinese market preferences and encourage growth in demand for Australian beef,” Dr Hopkins said.

“DPI established a fertile relationship with the university in 2014 when SDAU funded a twelve month placement for Dr Yanwei Mao to gain new skills in experimental design, laboratory work and data analysis.

“That placement, here at the DPI Centre for Red Meat and Sheep Development in Cowra, led to published research, which clearly showed that demand for beef and sheep meat will continue to grow in China.”

Now the aim is to build on these initial findings by uncovering new insights and better ways for Australian producers and processors to deliver meat products into Chinese markets.

The relationship between DPI and SDAU has been formalised in a memorandum of understanding and the appointment of Dr Hopkins as adjunct professor at SDAU.

"Australian red meat is the best in the world, and China has a lot to learn in terms of beef quality," Dr Mao said during his visit to Cowra in 2015.

"As part of my studies and research, I want to learn how to improve meat quality and tenderness, and then take that knowledge with me back to China to work on reinventing our meat industry,” he told the Cowra Guardian.

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