DEXA timeline

Beef Central, 11/07/2017



  • 2006-2016: MLA’s farm gate price index averages between 30pc and 35pc of retail price (from a low of 28pc in 2013 to a high of 52pc in 2016).


  • 2010: MLA releases value proposition for using SEXA in lamb processing automation after success in NZ and SEXA is installed in Aus lamb abattoirs for R&D.


  • 2012: DEXA introduced to replace SEXA for the dual purposes of lamb processing automation and grading in NZ.


  • November 2013: New ag minister Barnaby Joyce initiates a Senate Inquiry into grassfed beef industry levy and structural arrangements, in response to producer dissatisfaction with low farm-gate prices as percentage of retail price as compared to their US counterparts.


  • 2013-2015: Momentum builds at inquiry hearings, industry meetings for improved price transparency in the Australian cattle and beef supply chain and the adoption of objective carcase measurement.


  • 2014: JBS begins trialing DEXA technology in conjunction with robotic boning technology in its Borderdown, SA, lamb abattoir.



  • 2015: R&D commences for the use of DEXA in beef.


  • March 2015: Nationals Senators initiate a senate inquiry into the effect of consolidation in red meat processing, after the ACCC finds no issue with a JBS buyout of Primo and producers accuse processors of boycotting a Barnawatha cattle sale in retaliation to the new centre’s pre-sale weighing policy.


  • October 2015: Processor Teys Australia announces it is embarking on an historic move to use emerging DEXA technology to establish a Value-Based Payment system, designed to reward producers for the meat yield their cattle produce, as well as their quality.


  • July 2016: MLA receives $4.8 million funding under the Commonwealth Government’s Rural R&D for Profit program to further progress OCM technologies towards commercialisation, leading to the establishment with AMPC of the ALMTech project.


  • August 2016: MLA MD Richard Norton tells a Victorian beef conference the Australian red meat industry is positioning itself as a world leader in the use of objective carcase measurement technologies.


  • October 2016: MLA MD Richard Norton, CCA director David Hill, AMPC CEO Peter Noble and AMIC chair Lachie Hart tour regional Queensland with Senate Rural Affairs committee chair Barry O’Sullivan. Introducing Objective Carcase Measurement and value-based marketing is a central focus of discussions with producers.



  • Australian Meat Industry Council says meat processors support Objective Carcase Measurement but have not been consulted on MLA’s plan and need more detail.


  • The ACCC releases an interim report from its six-month beef and cattle supply chain investigation. The report prioritises the introduction of objective carcase measurement, saying the technology will greatly enhance both the objectivity and the scope of carcase feedback provided to producers.




  • February 2017: AMIC says red meat processors remain unconvinced that MLA’s DEXA project in its current form justifies industry-wide investment, identifying a long list of “conceptual, methodological, and policy-related deficiencies”.


  • AMIC and AMPC commission EY (Ernst & Young) to independently review whether MLA’s proposed DEXA rollout is a prudent operational and commercial decision for processors.


  • March 2017: The ACCC releases its final report with 15 recommendations to improve price transparency, including introduction of consistent objective carcase measurement technology in plants “as a matter of priority”.



  • April 2017: AMPC says ACCC study showed that OCM technology was not a panacea for the complex issues surrounding price transparency, and says adoption of any technology must be a commercial decision for individual processors.



  • Teys says it will soon be in a position to quickly prove the technology across different types of cattle and environments. Producers could soon start getting DEXA-based LMY in carcase feedback, but could be three years before changes to payment systems are made.




  • AMIC welcomes trials and notes $10m investment is not from producer levy funds, but private funds from participating processors and matching Government funds through MLA Donor Company.


  • AMIC says it is still considering OCM options for the processing sector and waiting for the outcomes of the EY review.


  • June 2017: EY’s final report released. Says there is general industry-wide acceptance of the need for and benefits of OCM, but says the DEXA technology advanced in MLA’s proposal remains unproven for beef in a commercial setting. Says more research of potential impacts and benefits is needed.


  • AMPC supports EYs call for more research “to answer the many questions raised by the review”.


  • AMIC says MLA, AMPC and AMIC must work together, as recommended in the EY review, to develop an outcome “suitable for the whole supply chain”.


  • AMIC says it will form a specialised OCM/DEXA committee from within its beef and sheep/goat policy groups to manage progression of the technology within industry, and provide direction to AMIC executive on OCM/DEXA.



  • CCA calls for a united front between MLA and AMPC to co-operatively invest and accelerate the rollout of DEXA objective carcass measurement technology.


  • MLA holds an all industry briefing on DEXA in Brisbane. In a joint statement following the briefing, red meat peak councils CCA, SCA, ALFA and AMIC jointly give their support the introduction of objective measurement across industry including the adoption of DEXA technology, to provide a single scientific measurement of lean meat yield.


  • The peak councils also endorse further work on MLA’s DEXA rollout proposal, including costings and installation requirements within individual facilities, to allow them and individual processors to consider the most appropriate funding model.


  • MLA and peak councils endorse establishment of an Objective Carcass Measurement (OCM) adoption & commercialisation taskforce to assist in managing the various aspects of industry OCM adoption and commercialisation.


  • Reporting deadline for Senate Inquiry into effects of consolidation in red meat processing sector extended to take into account ACCC report findings and recent reports on DEXA is extended.


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