ACCC welcomes MLA’s market information improvements

09 March 2017

This week’s release of the Cattle and beef market study by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission welcomes improvements made by MLA to its market information services and notes that MLA’s ability to continue to improve its reporting will depend on the information provided to it by live exporters, processors and retailers.

The recently upgraded Prices & Markets section on MLA’s website now offers a greater variety of market information. This is in response to producers’ appetite for easier access to information and the opportunity to carry out simple, yet in-depth analysis of that data.

The ACCC recommendations relating to MLA’s market information service are:

Improvements to market reporting are needed

Recommendation 4: Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) should continue its work to improve the collection and public reporting of cattle sale prices, including:

a. reporting cattle prices across sales channels on the same basis so that indicative prices for each channel are easily comparable

b. making improvements to the reporting of prices throughout the supply chain, including wholesale, retail and export beef prices.

The ACCC welcomes progress made on some of these measures as recommended in its Interim Report. These include improvements made by MLA to the Market Reports & Prices section of its website.

MLA’s ability to continue to improve market reporting will depend on the quality of information

provided to it by other industry participants, such as live exporters, processors and retailers.

Additional market reporting is needed

Recommendation 5: Data collection and reporting should be expanded to cover prices paid for:

a. direct (paddock) sales

b. OTH sales, noting that some processors pay prices over and above those quoted on their price grids, and

c. cattle sold to the live export market.

MLA’s ability to improve market reporting will depend on the quality of information provided to it by other industry participants, such as live exporters, processors and retailers.

More detailed reporting of saleyard purchases

Recommendation 12: Saleyards, commission buyers, auctioneers and agents should provide MLA with information that enables regular standardised market reports for each reported saleyard. These reports should include information about the identity of buyers, and the proportion of stock purchased by each buyer.

This will increase transparency at the saleyards and reduce the likelihood of conflicts of interest occurring. It will also allow principals and producers to make informed decisions about the commission buyers or saleyards that they use for cattle transactions.

Next steps

MLA will work through these and other relevant recommendations that are within its remit in consultation with industry (this includes the ACCC’s recommendations about objective carcase measurement technologies), noting the ACCC’s view the Red Meat Advisory Council should be responsible for overseeing their implementation and monitoring compliance.

More information

Click here to access MLA’s new prices and market reporting service.

Read the ACCC’s Cattle and beef market study – final report

Read MLA’s media release on the ACCC’s report

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