Kahlers’ care at feeding and handling pays MSA dividends

31 March 2016

Queensland cattle producers Graham and Kay Kahler have come close to producing the perfect Meat Standards Australia (MSA) graded steak through their careful breeding and feeding of their predominantly Limousin yearling steers and heifers.
Turning off around 100 yearling steers and heifers each year from their property near Geham in South East Queensland, the Kahlers were recognised at a ceremony in Toowoomba as the State’s best MSA producers for 2015. 
Mr Kahler said the secret to turning off cattle to meet MSA requirements is in the feed and also the breed.
“Our calves are reared on good kikuya country at Yarraman and when they are weaned they come onto oats cultivation here at Geham,” Mr Kahler said.
“They are then moved into smaller lots and fed on a hay and grain mix. They are fed until 10 months of age before being sold into the market that best suits the cattle.” 
Mr Kahler said genetics also played a key role.
“You’ve got to have the right breed for producing quality MSA-graded beef and that is what we are trying to do,” he said.
“We are targeting the domestic market through processors close to us because our cattle are young, and I like the idea of keeping them in Australia and producing food for Australians.
“I reckon that if we’ve got a good article and the consumers love it, then it makes us feel better and you know you are doing the right thing.”
Mr Kahler said that MSA was good for the bottom line, adding “a few more cents per kilo”, and it gives him a goal to work towards of producing a product that the consumer likes.
“To be named the State’s best MSA producer is something I would never have dreamt of, but it is lovely to have that honour,” he said.
“A lot of hard work goes into getting our cattle to meet the MSA requirements and perform well but it’s good when you get a stamp at the end of the day to say it has been done right.”
MSA is a Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) supported program where the eating quality of every beef cut is determined using a grading system that measures key attributes such as carcase weight, ossification, marbling, rib fat, tropical breed content, meat pH and temperature, hanging method, hormonal growth promotants and meat colour.

Each carcase reviews an MSA Index value that represents its potential eating quality based on the measurements collected.
To be eligible for the MLA MSA awards, a producer’s annual MSA-graded volume had to be in the top 50th percentile for the State they were produced in during 2014-15.

Each producer that met the eligibility criteria received a score out of 100 weighted on two factors: the compliance to MSA minimum requirements, and eating quality performance as determined by the MSA Index for cattle consigned to MSA in 2014-15. 
The competition assessment showed the Kahlers sitting well above the national average with their MSA index.
Their cattle’s ossification or maturity scores were low, a measure which relates to the access to nutrition and quick growth path of the cattle, and has an impact on meat tenderness.
Coupled with that, their cattle exhibited desirable amounts of marbling which enhances the juiciness and flavour of the beef.

For more details about the Queensland MSA Awards click here.
More information on MSA is available at www.mla.com.au/msa

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