Genetics, handling key says SA’s MSA award winner + VIDEO


QUALITY genetic make-up and a low-stress production environment are the prime ingredients to producing high quality Meat Standards Australia beef, according to South Australian beef producer Angus McLachlan, named SA’s best MSA producer last night.

“For us the key to the MSA opportunity is the genetic background of the cows, combined with the use of a Limousin bull over them to give our cattle the early growth and weight that suits the domestic trade,” Mr McLachlan said.

“We have Friesian in the background of our cattle which gives us a bit of marbling and clearly, milk for the calves.

“We get the beef from the other half of the female with the fat that comes with an Angus. And then the Limo bull, although not particularly suited to marbling, gives us the bulk and the muscle that we are looking for.”

Mr McLachlan’s picturesque 2000ha property Rosebank, near Mt Pleasant in the Adelaide Hills, was featured as one of the farms in Channel Nine’s hit soapie McLeod’s Daughters.

Every year for the past 20 years, Mr McLachlan has turned off between 100-115 stress-free grassfed vealers of mixed sex to Woolworths, aiming for dressed weights around 225kg.

“I buy my heifers from Camperdown in Victoria on the point of calving as two-year-olds. Those heifers have been hand-raised and bucket-reared as poddy calves, and as a consequence they’re very quiet,” Mr McLachlan said.

“My overseer, Paul Shutz, is very gentle with the cattle. No one shouts at them and they rarely need anything more than reasonable encouragement.

“As a result, the calves are very easy to handle, and when we separate them to weigh them, they don’t seem to get too upset.”

This low-stress environment has resulted in excellent compliance rates to the MSA specifications by avoiding dark-cutting meat and the consistent growth path to slaughter has resulted in low ossification scores assessed during grading – a measure directly linked to tenderness.

Click the link below to view of short video profiling the production system on Rosebank

MSA is a Meat & Livestock Australia supported program where the eating quality of every beef cut is determined using a grading system that measures key attributes such as carcase weight, ossification, marbling, rib fat, tropical breed content, meat pH and temperature, hanging method, hormonal growth promotants and meat colour.

Each carcase receives an MSA Index value that represents its potential eating quality based on the measurements collected.

During 2014-15, almost 13,000 producers throughout Australia consigned over 3.2 million cattle to the MSA program.

To be eligible for the MSA awards, a producer’s annual MSA-graded volume had to be equal or above the average for the State they were produced in during 2014-15.

Each producer that met the eligibility criteria received a score out of 100 weighted on two factors: the compliance to MSA minimum requirements, and eating quality performance as determined by the MSA Index for cattle consigned to MSA in 2014-15.

A modest Mr McLachlan was pleasantly surprised to be named as the SA winner of the inaugural MSA beef producer of the year competition.

“To be named this State’s best MSA producer mystifies me I’d have to say. Whilst we take great care with the cattle, we don’t buy the most expensive heifers at Camperdown; on the contrary we are looking for the smaller, softer more feminine types,” he said.

“It’s quite a low-cost operation, and yet the quietness of the cattle mean that we can turn off a beast that fits well into these MSA standards.

“But of course job satisfaction is related to somebody buying your product and paying an adequate price for it.”


Click this link to view this morning’s story on last night’s SA MSA Producer of the Year awards.


Source: MLA




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