Meat & Livestock News

Meat Standards Australia Boosts Farm Gate Returns by $463 Million

The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program has significantly impacted the Australian beef industry, generating $463 million in farm gate returns for producers over the past two years. This finding is part of the 2023 Australian Beef Eating Quality Insights (ABEQI) report, which analysed all MSA-graded cattle during the 2021–22 and 2022–23 financial years. The report incorporates data from MSA-accredited graders, the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS), and other sources, providing a comprehensive overview of industry trends and outcomes.

Dr David Packer, Program Manager for MSA at Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), highlighted the report’s role in collating data to analyse trends and guide future improvements in the industry. The report reveals a trend of continuous improvement and provides detailed data to support further advancements.

The increase in farm gate returns is attributed to premiums for MSA-compliant cattle and the growing number of cattle being MSA-graded with higher carcass weights. Processors and brand owners often offer financial incentives for meeting MSA compliance and eating quality specifications, which has led to significant returns for MSA beef producers.

Dr. Packer noted that from 2021 to 2023, non-grain-fed cattle meeting MSA and company requirements received, on average, an additional $0.36/kg over-the-hooks (OTH) compared to non-MSA cattle. The average non-grain-fed cattle consigned for MSA grading weighted 306 kg, potentially adding an extra $110 per head. Similarly, grain-fed cattle meeting MSA requirements earned an additional $0.15/kg compared to non-MSA grain-fed cattle, with an average weight of 347kg, leading to an additional $51 per head.

The MSA program, developed by the Australian red meat industry, aims to enhance the eating quality consistency of beef and sheepmeat. It is based on extensive consumer taste tests involving more than 250,000 consumers from 13 countries and considers all factors affecting eating quality from the paddock to the plate.

For more detailed insights, the full ABEQI report is available here. This development marks a significant milestone for the Australian red meat industry, demonstrating the value of quality standards in boosting economic returns for producers.