They say ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ and for two Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) students working with scientists at Texas Tech University was an opportunity to maximise Honours research.
A collaboration between Charles Sturt, Texas Tech and Teys Australia paved the way for Ms Kate Webster and Mr Harry Meek to spend four months in the United States.
It was a jam-packed visit that included meat judging competitions, an international conference, and working with Texas Tech students to gain an understanding of laboratory work, consumer and sensory research and preparing retail meat cuts.
“I enjoyed getting to meet so many like-minded people who share a passion for the world meat industry,” Ms Webster said.
“By going to Texas Tech I have experienced a broad range of research methods, an opportunity not many Honours students get. I was also able to work in some excellent facilities using some great techniques and technology which will aid me in any future research.”
Mr Meek said, “The trip gave me new insight into the world beef trade and where the meat industry is headed in terms of production and sustainability. This practical understanding of the system as a whole, will hopefully help me in future employment within the agricultural sector.”
Ms Webster’s Honours research, supported by a scholarship from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, is examining the flavour of lamb raised in pasture-based systems compared with lamb fed grain concentrate diets.
“Lamb has a very distinct flavour due to certain flavour volatiles and fatty acids present in the meat. The research is comparing lamb raised predominantly on concentrate diets in the United States with lamb raised mainly on pasture diets in Australia and New Zealand.
“This information will help the industry develop new products and meet consumer demand as certain markets prefer different flavours. For example American consumers prefer grain-fed lamb over grass-fed lamb.”
The close relationship and healthy rivalry between Texas Tech and Charles Sturt students came to the fore at the annual Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging competition held in Wagga Wagga in July.
Charles Sturt lecturer in farming systems Dr Michael Campbell said having international teams like the Texas Tech team was a highlight of the event.
“While the students and researchers from Texas Tech were in town for the ICMJ we took the opportunity to showcase our meat science research, cementing our collaboration for the future,” said Dr Campbell.