Robotic dogs monitoring dangerous areas in plants, augmented reality placing people on-the-ground in a flash and three dimensional printing of machinery parts - the type of technology coming down the pipeline in red meat processing is phenomenal.
Much of it was on show at a conference in Melbourne this week, which certainly stretched minds and delved into the futuristic in a big way.
Hosted by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, the research and development organisation for the red meat processing sector, the three-day event, called Innovation Showcase 2022, was also certified carbon neutral.
In a bid to demonstrate its commitment to mitigating climate change, AMPC engaged carbon measurement and accounting specialists Ndevr Environmental to drive the process of making the conference carbon neutral.
Ndever's Dan Raftopoulos said the event's inventory was calculated to be creating 330 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Everything from the flights delegates took to arrive and how long they stayed in Melbourne hotels to the footprint of the food served and the freight involved in getting the necessary equipment on site was factored in, Mr Raftopoulos said.
Offsets were then purchased from the Nulla Carbon Project, a three-farm cattle operation on the NSW/Queensland border which has turned over areas of land to regeneration. Over the life the Nulla project, it expects to sequester 60,000t of carbon.
The end result was the AMPC conference being certified carbon neutral by Climate Active, the Australian Government's certification program.
Along with a plethora of technology, the conference delved into big ticket items facing the beef and sheep meat processing sector, with solutions touted from both within the sector and from other service providers.
Labour, of course, was heavily discussed. So too sustainability, objective carcase measurement, eating quality, advocacy, megatrends and plant costing.
AMPC chief executive officer Chris Taylor said the showcase was about equipping Australian red meat processors to continue delivering world-class products and creating jobs in the communities where they operate.
"We actually have about 300 research and development activities underway," he said.
"We wanted to give processors a chance not only to understand the breadth of what we are doing, but to understand what is coming for the industry and what might be relevant in their own business so they can make confident decisions around where to invest."
The event featured eleven panel discussions and presentations from innovators and futurists. Topics ranged from the use of artificial intelligence in processing plants to the evolution of the circular economy.
AMPC general manager of R&D and adoption, Nick Pagett, said the circular economy offered opportunity beyond achieving sustainability goals.
"The circular economy is about optimising the use of resources, and of course sustainability is an important outcome, but it's also about how we get the absolute maximum value out of the products we create," he said.
"That means utilising technology to transform waste into energy and other saleable products. All this sits alongside other sustainability goals like re-using water and managing energy usage."
Further reports on speaker presentations to come.