Meat & Livestock News

Queensland’s Finest Beef Producers Honoured in 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards

A butcher is standing by the big pieces of meat in a slaughterhouse and smiling at the camera.

Queensland’s beef industry celebrated its top producers at the 2023 Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Excellence in Eating Quality Awards, hosted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). These awards acknowledge producers who consistently deliver beef of superior eating quality, adhering to the stringent standards set by the MSA program.

The MSA Program: A Benchmark for Beef Quality

The MSA program, renowned for its rigorous quality benchmarks, is based on over 1.7 million taste tests conducted by more than 250,000 consumers from 13 countries. It assesses various factors that influence beef quality from the farm to the consumer’s plate.

Cameron Smith and NKP Pty Ltd: Excellence in Non-Grain-fed Beef Production

Cameron Smith and NKP Pty Ltd, a South West Queensland grass-fed beef producer, were awarded Queensland’s Most Outstanding Band 2 (smaller non-grainfed) Producer in the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards. Over the 2021–23 period, NKP achieved an impressive average MSA index of 60.59 and a compliance rate of 98.6% for cattle consigned for MSA grading.

New Kooroon: A Model of Sustainable Beef Production

The Smiths manage a self-replacing herd of 360 breeders at New Kooroon, supplying cattle to the Teys Grassland’s range, and to major retailers like Coles and Woolworths. Their steer carcass weighs an average of 346kg, achieved through finishing on oats.

New Kooroon, with an annual average rainfall of 525 mm, features pastures primarily of buffel grass on red loam soil types. Each year, approximately 300 hectares of oats are planted in late March, providing feed for rising two-year-old progeny throughout the winter before processing.

Innovative Farming Practices and Genetic Selection

Cameron Smith highlighted their innovative farming practices, including a rotational grazing system and the selection of bulls with favourable Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), particularly focusing on rib and rump fat. The herd predominantly consists of Devon-Hereford cross females with some Shorthorn genetics.

Recognition and Pride in Quality Production

Expressing immense pride in receiving the MSA award, Mr Smith emphasised the satisfaction of knowing their cattle genetics perform well in their environmental conditions. He stressed the importance of delivering a top-quality product to the consumer, a goal central to their breeding and finishing operations.

MSA Program Manager’s Perspective

David Packer, MSA Program Manager, commended the achievements of beef producers in Queensland, noting the intense competition in the field. He remarked on the MSA program’s 25-year history, highlighting its role as a world-leading eating quality grade program for Australian beef and a driving force behind the quality of the product nationally.

2023’s Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producers

The awards also recognised the Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer in the Feedlot category for Queensland, celebrating the excellence and commitment of the state’s beef producers.

In summary, the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards not only honour the achievements of Queensland’s top beef producers but also underscore the importance of quality, sustainability, and consumer satisfaction in the Australian beef industry.