With more than 2.7 million cattle being graded through the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program in 2016-17, an estimated $130 million was delivered back to beef producers through additional farm gate returns.
According to new 2016-17 data released in the MSA Annual Outcomes Report, cattle presented for MSA grading represented 40% of the national adult cattle slaughter, an increase of 2% on the 2015-16 financial year, despite the decline in overall national cattle slaughter.
There were 5.7 million sheep presented for MSA grading in 2016-17, representing 25% of the national lamb slaughter, with 71% of those lambs supplying lamb brands underpinned by MSA.
MSA Program Manager Sarah Strachan said beef producers have continued to embrace carcase feedback and the new benchmarking tools on offer, with one-third of producers consigning MSA cattle during the 2016-17 financial year accessing the myMSA feedback system.
“Impressively across the country, MSA beef producers increased carcase compliance to MSA minimum requirements to 93.9% and the average MSA Index improved to 57.59,” Ms Strachan said.
“Over the hooks cattle price indicators for MSA cattle remained higher on average than non-MSA cattle in both Queensland and New South Wales, with the average differential for young cattle (excluding accredited grainfed) across all weight ranges 23 cents/kg.
“Based on the average carcase weight of MSA compliant cattle in 2016-17, MSA beef producers potentially received an additional $65 per head for these cattle and additional $34 per head for accredited grainfed cattle.
“With strong adoption continuing at the farm gate, more than 3000 cattle and/or sheep producers registered to supply livestock through the MSA program.”
The 2016-17 financial year saw 16 new brands become MSA-licensed to underpin their brand with the independent endorsement of eating quality.
There are now 156 brands using MSA as their quality system to ensure consumer satisfaction, with 11 of those brands now using MSA exporter guidelines to tell their story in international markets.
Ms Strachan said looking towards 2020, MSA has its sights set firmly on ensuring all cattle in Australia will be eligible for MSA grading and have their eating quality accurately described.
“The goal is for more than 50% of the national cattle slaughter and 43% of the lamb slaughter being MSA graded. These goals are driving the focus for investments in new eating quality research,” Ms Strachan said.
“The dedicated team at MSA is focused on ensuring the MSA program continues to grow, improve and deliver benefits to its 48,000 producers, 54 MSA processors, 156 brands and 3,668 end user outlets, through consistently meeting consumers’ expectation for beef eating quality.”
Ms Strachan said the success of the MSA program was complemented by the robust industry consultation and ongoing support provided by all Industry Councils.
“A dedicated group from the Industry Councils willingly provide their time regularly throughout the year as a MSA Taskforce, to ensure the research, integrity and further development of MSA continues to address key industry priorities,” Ms Strachan said.