Meat Standards Australia represents over half of national beef production

The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program has achieved record-breaking results, with 3.3 million beef carcases presented for MSA grading, representing 53% of the national adult cattle slaughter, according to the 2020-21 MSA Annual Outcomes Report released today.

The number of MSA licensed brands also increased over the past 12 months, with the program reaching a new milestone of 205 beef and sheepmeat brands. The use of the Eating Quality Graded cipher has also grown, with businesses that represent 53% of MSA volume using the cipher to describe beef by eating quality outcome.

MSA Program Manager, Dr David Packer, said the latest MSA Annual Outcomes Report demonstrated the red meat and livestock industry’s growing commitment to eating quality and meeting consumer expectations.

“The report highlights the record-breaking participation across the supply chain of Australia’s world leading eating quality grading program, MSA, over the past 12 months,” said Dr Packer.

“For MSA beef producers this has resulted in an estimated $157 million in additional farmgate returns in 2020-21, reinforcing the value that the MSA program delivers to industry.”

In an important breakthrough for the sheepmeat industry, the first cuts based sheepmeat model was developed in 2020-21, based on over a decade of research. MLA are now working closely with industry towards commercialisation, which includes benchmarking and testing the system with a number of processors, and is partly dependent on technology to capture intramuscular fat content in sheepmeat.

“Once this model is commercialised, processors and brands will be able to apply sophisticated eating quality segregation within their supply chains to underpin branding, and offer incentives to encourage improved supplier performance,” said Dr Packer.

In 2020-21, of the total lambs processed in Australia, 57% were estimated to be processed through MSA-licenced processing plants that follow processes to improve eating quality.

Dr Packer also recognised that producer engagement programs and the enhanced myMSA platform continued to drive increased on-farm performance. Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, over 700 producers and over 300 livestock advisors were engaged in MSA education during 2020-21, whilst 3,445 producers used the myMSA feedback system 22,407 times – an increase of 38% on the previous year.

Strong producer performance was evidenced through a national average MSA index of 57.62 and a record 95.5% compliance to MSA minimum specifications.

“The program also saw 2,594 new producers sign up this year, taking the total to almost 40,000 beef producers and over 26,000 sheep producers,” said Dr Packer.

“Overall, these results indicate that the MSA program continues to evolve and play an important role in the Australian red meat industry’s goal to double the value of Australian red meat by 2030.”

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