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‘Best of the best’ earns MSA win

15 May 2024

Key points:

  • The Ayres regularly top dress pasture with fertiliser and lime and invest in reseeding during autumn to ensure a constant supply of high-quality feed.
  • Only the best of the best makes the cut. The family critically evaluate each animal before they get on a truck.
  • MSA has been a factor in encouragement to further evolve their cattle management approach to bring our best-quality product to market.

WA beef producer Graham Ayres uses Meat Standards Australia (MSA) in his commitment to quality and to give his business a competitive edge.

Graham and his daughter, Ingrid, run 250 head of Angus/Friesian F1-cross breeders joined to Charolais bulls on their 450ha Bornholm property.

He’s an early adopter and has been MSA-registered since its inception in 1998.

MSA award

The Ayres won the award for WA’s Most Outstanding Non-Grainfed Band 1 Producer in the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards.

The cattle they consigned for processing over the two-year period of 2021-23 achieved an average MSA Index of 66.33 and MSA compliance of 99%.

Graham said being a MSA-registered producer supported his aim to deliver a quality and consistent product to his customers, and to attract premium prices for his cattle.

“Our calves are ideally sold between 10.5 – 11 months, with a minimum carcase weight of 220kg and an ideal target of 250kg,” Graham said.

He consistently supplied cattle to Woolworths over the past 6 – 7, with combined focus on delivering what he describes as the ‘best-we-can-do’ product.

“MSA has helped us bring our best-quality product to market, setting us apart. And the financial rewards have been good.”

On-farm strategies

We maintain a clover/rye mix in the pasture, provide supplementary pasture hay, regularly top dress with fertiliser and lime, and invest in reseeding during autumn to ensure a constant supply of high-quality feed,” Graham said.

“Our motto is clear: only the best of the best makes the cut. We critically evaluate each animal before they get on a truck.

“This focus on quality over time has helped us foster a good reputation and drive strong business relationships with customers over the years. They know they’re getting not just quality, but a consistent, product.”

Graham said the results of this management are really starting to speak for themselves.

“Particularly over recent years, MSA has been a factor which encouraged us to further evolve our cattle management approach,” Graham said.

“It helped us look closer and better assess cattle behaviour, emphasising the upmost importance of understanding and respecting our animals.

“This shift in perceptions has impacted our entire herd management strategy.

“Whether we’re in the yards or the paddock, our focus is on creating and maintaining a quiet environment for our livestock through our handling techniques, which has paid dividends.”

Genetic focus

The Ayers use quiet Charolais bulls known for muscling and docility. They have sourced bulls from the same breeder for more than two decades because they know they will get a consistent animal, with a good temperament.

“When purchasing bulls, we look at Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), mainly birth weight, as we like to target smaller framed bulls,” Graham daid.

Grham said he has learned valuable lessons over the years.

“We just want to run the best herd and deliver the best product we can,” Graham said.

“MSA has been a key factor in helping us bring our best to market, where we’re now consistently delivering a quality product that’s grading MSA, meeting specifications for customers, and getting a premium price.

“While we might not have a silver bullet to achieving good MSA outcomes, the results are starting to speak for themselves.”