Meat Standards Australia delivers more than $152m in farm gate returns

The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program is estimated to have delivered $152 million in additional farm gate returns in 2017-18, according to the latest data contained in the MSA annual outcomes report.

The new data also shows more than 3.1 million cattle and 6.1m sheep processed through the MSA program in 2017-18.

For cattle, this represented 43 per cent of the national adult cattle slaughter, an increase of 3 per cent on the 2016-17 financial year.

The number of sheep following MSA pathways in 2017-18, represented 26 per cent of the national lamb slaughter.

READ: Sheep and goat traceability requirements increased

Seventy-four per cent of those lambs supplyed brands underpinned by MSA.

MSA program manager Sarah Strachan said latest figures showed the MSA program continued to grow and strengthen, providing strong farm gate returns.

“This year marks 20 years since this world-leading eating quality program was released to industry, and adoption rates continue to rise with more than 5,000 new cattle and/or sheep producers becoming registered to supply livestock through the MSA program in the past financial year,” she said.

“Producers continue to also embrace carcase feedback, with a 32 per cent increase in the number of beef producers accessing reports and benchmarking tools on myMSA in 2017-18.

“The uptake in accessing carcase feedback is reflected in outstanding compliance to MSA minimum requirements, which was maintained at 94 per cent across all feed types, nationally, and the average MSA Index for compliant carcases improved by 0.19 Index points to 57.78,” said Strachan.

Sixteen new brands became MSA-licensed to underpin their brands with the independent endorsement of eating quality, taking the total number of MSA-licensed brands to 172.

Almost 3,000 producers received MSA education through more than 81 workshops or information sessions, including the MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards series, which reached more than 500 producers at six forums across the country.

Strachan said looking towards 2020, MSA had its sights set firmly on ensuring all cattle in Australia will be eligible for MSA grading and have their eating quality accurately described.

“The goal is for more than 50 per cent of the national cattle slaughter and 43 per cent of the lamb slaughter being MSA graded,” she said.

“At the same time we are looking for ways to help producers improve their compliance rates, their MSA index values and supporting brand owners to fully embrace eating quality principles.

“These goals are driving the focus for investments in new eating quality research and striving to extract greater value from the MSA program for the whole supply chain,” said Strachan.

MSA is focused on ensuring the program continues to grow and deliver benefits to its more than 50,000 registered producers, 53 MSA processors, 172 brands, and 3,681 end user outlets, by consistently meeting consumers’ expectation for beef and sheepmeat eating quality, she said.

State breakdown (MSA proportion of state slaughter):

–          New South Wales represented 62 per cent of MSA cattle and 17 per cent of MSA sheep

–          Queensland represented 39 per cent of MSA cattle

–          South Australia represented 20 per cent of MSA cattle and 55 per cent of MSA sheep

–          Tasmania represented 58 per cent of MSA cattle and 14 per cent of MSA sheep

–          Victoria represented 20 per cent of MSA cattle and 33 per cent of MSA sheep.

–          Western Australia represented 56 per cent of MSA cattle and 33 per cent of sheep.


Cattle prices trend down as drought conditions increase pressure in market

Cattle prices have generally trended down during 2018, but some states have been more stable than others, Meat and Livestock Australia has reported.

In the eastern states, young cattle have struggled to find consistent support in the market as the poor season has unfolded, with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) on a downward trajectory for the most part of 2018.

EYCI category cattle in Queensland have seen the biggest decrease for the year, down 99¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) from the beginning of 2018 to the 16th of September.

NSW has declined 61¢/kg cwt and prices in Victoria have remained relatively stable easing 10¢/kg cwt.

READ: Sheep and cattle slaughter increases to reduce stock numbers during drought

WA has benefited from a more typical season, especially in the south with prices down only 8¢/kg cwt for the year.

Young cattle in the west are now trading at a considerable premium through the yards, with a 52¢/kg cwt premium over NSW and 57¢/kg cwt above Victorian prices.

The figures below are for the year-to-date – to the 16th September.
NSW – down 61¢ to 504¢/kg cwt
Queensland – down 99¢ to 482¢/kg cwt
Victoria – down 10¢ to 499¢/kg cwt
WA – down 8¢ to 556¢/kg cwt

Similar to young cattle, cow prices have been under pressure through most of 2018.

Poor conditions coming in to winter and minimal rain during that time contributed to low restocker competition and consequently, lower prices.

However, over the last month, the medium cow indicator has started to see a bit of a resurgence as spring brings some optimism.

NSW and Queensland have seen the best of the increases recently – the NSW medium cow indicator rose 79¢ from the start of August to average 441¢.

Queensland increased 81¢ to 460¢/kg cwt. Victoria has also increased, although not to the same extent, up 47¢/kg cwt.

The cow price differential for 2018 is WA, where the indicator remained most stable and recorded a slight upwards trend throughout the year.

This is partly due to its low starting point, a 40¢ discount to the eastern states, at 364¢/kg cwt in January.

The medium cow indicator for WA was 432¢, only 9¢ below NSW prices and a 24¢/kg cwt premium over Victoria.

The figures below are for the year-to-date – to the 18th September.
NSW – up 20¢ to 441¢/kg cwt
QLD – up 34¢ to 460¢/kg cwt
Victoria – up 2¢ to 408¢/kg cwt
WA – up 68¢ to 432¢/kg cwt