Understanding price grids and carcase feedback – join our free Webinar

Beef Central, 08/03/2017



In the 1990’s thousands of Australian cattle producers received training from AUS-MEAT in how to interpret carcase feedback and over-the-hooks price grids from abattoirs.

However, when industry funding for the workshops was discontinued the training stopped, leading to what has been identified in recent Senate Inquiries as a generational gap in industry knowledge.

In recognition of this, AUS-MEAT has reintroduced workshops and training material to assist producers with over-the-hooks trading. The training focuses on helping producers to understand the factors in AUS-MEAT Language that directly influence the farm gate price ($ per/kg) of cattle.

To help producers across Australia access this information, Beef Central and Future Beef are hosting a free webinar to pinpoint topics that producers need to be mindful of when assessing carcase feedback for compliance to the grid.

Topics of this webinar will include:

  • Types of industry communication (Livestock grids, carcase feedback)
  • The AUS-MEAT Trading Language (Both slaughter floor and basic chiller assessment)
  • The impact of MSA Grading on carcases

Depending on the level of interest, a second webinar will follow to explore answers to producer questions in more depth.

QUESTIONS? To ensure this webinar focuses on questions and topics producers would like to see specifically answered, please email questions you would like addressed to, or in the comment box below

‘A myriad of information to get better outcomes’

Central Queensland cattle producer and Cattle Council of Australia director David Hill said producers had much to gain in improving their knowledge of carcase feedback and price grids.

Mr Hill attended a two-day AUS-MEAT course in the 1990s and said that information had been invaluable in understanding where his cattle fit, where premiums are available and where changes were needed to improve his returns.

“There is a myriad of information out there you can use to get better outcomes.

Non-compliance with grids and cattle falling outside of specifications was also a major problem for processors.

“If we can educate people on grids, and where their cattle fit the spot on the grid, they can get their compliance up and that makes it better for everyone,” Mr Hill said.

“We can bring in value-based marketing and we can look to shift the industry into that next quality, and then the next value niche.”



Understanding price grids and carcase feedback

Join us for a webinar on Mar 10, 2017 at 12:30pm QLD time (1.30pm NSW/VIC time).

Register now!


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  1. John Gunthorpe, 10/03/2017

    “Well done to Beef Central and FutureBeef for holding this webinar. The complexities of purchasing cattle on a weight and grade basis over the scales is not understood by our industry and the difficulty of matching the timing of when the stock are ready for slaughter and when the abattoir has space for their kill often leads to mistrust on both sides of the transaction.

    Over time it is in the interest of both parties to develop a close relationship so the animals can be presented in prime condition for slaughter and the processor can extract the maximum value from the meat, offal and by-products produced. My experience is that most producers achieve this level of comfort with one or two processors and have no surprises when they receive their feedback sheets.

    It is important for the producer to be present whenever possible as his livestock are killed so he can see the quality of his carcass with their hide off. He or she should be aware of the specifications of the carcass pre the scales and witness the pre trim and understand why the product is downgraded if necessary. Again it is the relationship between the processor’s livestock buyer and the producer that will underscore the trust necessary for a sale this year and into the future.

    Of course there are many other factors important in securing a livestock sale. With the price premium for MSA graded meat, pH is critical. To minimise the likelihood of it being greater than 5.7 we try to deliver to our local abattoir. So distance to market is an issue for those supplying to MSA specifications. For those supplying to export markets, muscle score, fat score, dentition, marbling, fat colour and meat colour are important. These will be known to the processor from prior year records and reflected in their grid price to meet the market conditions at the time.

    Ability to get space for your kill can be a problem. More recently there is space available as numbers are short. However as feed shortens the time is approaching when we will again need to call upon our relationship with the processor to gain access. During the last severe drought we were asked by the processors’ livestock buyers to book our cattle in for slaughter well in front and without known pricing. Producers try to turn off their stock to an abattoir in prime condition to maximise their return and revenue for the processor from sales of meat, offal and by-products. Conditions dictate the relative importance of grid pricing.

    When at AMH we had 20 or more break square models to determine the price we could afford to pay for livestock depending on how they were to be cut. The models were sensitive to exchange rate, market prices, operating costs and overheads. At the end of each day we knew what profit or loss we had made. The business was run on weekly financial reports and the monthly results were prepared for the board and to confirm our weekly numbers. Each week the management team looked at what we achieved last week, what we were doing this week and what we planned to do next week. In processing your window for influence is very short. Fortunately we had a talented team and for the most part enjoyed what we were creating as flexibility was introduced to put an end to strikes and give greater certainty to a worker’s take home pay.

    Those producers who today seek out competing abattoir grid prices do so to ensure they are getting a fair price from their livestock buyer. Some need to balance live export with slaughter. Hot boning is a further complication in this mix. It is best processing spent bulls and cracker cows. Now some processors will argue this but as a generalisation it is true.

    From my experience I can see no reason why grid prices should not be published. Yes some definitions will need explaining to the industry but this is already happening to regular clients. There is no genie in that bottle. It will not lead to a significant change in where processors source weight and grade cattle. You never know it may discourage the processor collusion that is happening in some saleyards across our industry and to local trim activities that reduce the price paid for weight and grade livestock but I suppose that is what DEXA technology is about.”

  2. Wendy Bowman, 25/02/2017

    It is still difficult to get carcass data from feedlots, they won’t supply it without you hounding them for it. There must be an easier way.

  3. Brad Densley, 21/02/2017

    As a carcass producer and beef cattle society director I would like more industry relevant information on carcass and msa grading.

  4. Naz Mahfooz, 21/02/2017

    As an independent meat retailer, I’d like to know more about the industry, stay on top of things and be more aware of the market.
    Beef central seems to be a great place to start 🙂

  5. Tony Petersen, 21/02/2017

    People often seem to get confused between grading under MSA criteria, and grading/penalties under the processor’s own criteria – bruising, dentition, fat cover, carcase/side weight etc. I’d like to see some discussion during the webinar in this area.

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