BETWEEN laughing off jokes about nuclear codes and delivering an almost $5 million funding boost for the beef industry, Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also found time to blow out some birthday candles.

With a crowd of Rockhampton business people and beef industry leaders singing happy birthday on one side of The Great Western and prime cattle in a pen on the other, it was a fitting early celebration for the Agriculture Minister and National Party leader.

With Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on business in China, the man who threatened to kill Johnny Depp's dogs is filling in the top job.

In a light-hearted moment at the end of the press conference, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry presented Mr Joyce with an early celebration ahead of his birthday on Sunday. 

>> WATCH: Barnaby's birthday surprise in Rockhampton

Touching down in the Beef Capital, Mr Joyce announced a $4.8 million grant for Meat and Livestock Australia's research and development program.

He said access to cutting-edge technology through the funding would keep the industry at world-class standard.

"MLA will use these funds to develop new technology to allow the industry to measure meat yield and identify traits that help predict eating quality of meat cuts," Mr Joyce said.

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with Michelle Landry at the Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton to announce specialised funding for research and development in the Australian beef industry. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with Michelle Landry at the Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton to announce specialised funding for research and development in the Australian beef industry. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Mr Joyce said people throughout Central Queensland would benefit from the investment.

"This is technology that gives us a better yield and also we can deliver back to the customer a better product," he said.

Meat and Livestock Australia managing director Richard Norton said the X-ray and 3D imaging technology would allow for precise valuing of carcases, benefiting every element of the beef supply chain. 


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