50pc of cattle slaughter to be MSA graded by 2020: MLA target

Beef Central, 30/07/2016

Meat & Livestock Australia has set its sights on the Meat Standards Australia eating quality program grading more than 50 percent of all cattle slaughtered by 2020 – and brand programs will be one of the big drivers used to achieve it.

Under its new five-year plan, MSA is aiming to ensure all cattle in Australia will be eligible for MSA grading, to enable their eating quality to be accurately described.

MLA has led the development of the MSA program, which has grown to the point that 3.1 million head of cattle were graded in 2015/16, representing 38 percent of the national adult cattle slaughter.

Michael Crowley

Michael Crowley

MSA program manager Michael Crowley said hitting the target of grading more than 50pc of all cattle slaughtered by 2020 would be achieved through a range of strategies outlined in the program’s new five-year plan.

Mr Crowley said growth would be driven by supporting beef brands in underpinning their products with an MSA endorsement of eating quality.

“Investment in research that improves accuracy of the MSA model and covers all pathways, cattle types and production methods will be key to achieving these ambitious goals,” he said.

“And by empowering brand owners to drive the success of MSA globally, we are confident we can continue to drive benefits from paddock to plate.”

Over the last five years the MSA eating quality program has expanded each year as a proportion of cattle slaughtered in Australia, with 1.34 million head of cattle graded in 2010/11 rising to 3.1 million in 2015/16 in line with commercial incentives. This is reflected in an increase in young cattle premiums which have risen from 15c/kg to 24c/kg, and retail premiums across key primals of $1.73/kg in 2015/16.

In 2015/16 there were 45,217 MSA-registered producers supplying 54 MSA licensed processors, 140 MSA licensed brands, and 3743 MSA licensed wholesaler, foodservice and retail outlets.

MLA is aiming to increase supply through these supply chains with a goal of more than 60,000 MSA registered cattle producers by 2020.

“The demonstrated outcomes of the MSA program and return on investment to producers are proof that the program has been successful, but we want to grow further,” Mr Crowley said.

“This includes identifying on-farm practices and tools that help producers increase the eating quality of their cattle and improve compliance to both MSA and company specifications.

As MSA moves from delivering domestic eating quality solutions to globally focussed outcomes, MLA will seek to enhance the characteristics of the trusted MSA quality mark, which is the authoritative symbol that underpins the eating quality of beef and sheepmeat brands.

“And it goes without saying that the MSA program will remain underpinned by world leading science,” Mr Crowley said.

The plan features ongoing investment in research (reference this recent Beef Central article on the impact of different type of HGPs on grading outcomes), as well as a focus on continued improvement of MSA’s integrity systems, and more efficient, accurate and transparent grading through development and adoption of objective carcase measurement technologies.

The new five-year plan has been developed in close consultation with the Peak Industry Councils through the MSA beef and sheepmeat taskforces representing producers, processors, brand owners and end users.


To view presentations from Mr Crowley and others at a recent series of Future Eating Quality forums, visit


Source: MLA




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