Five ways the MSA Index can benefit northern producers

18 June 2015

Bos indicus cattle breeders: there is good news and bad news when it comes to your cattle grading Meat Standards Australia (MSA).

The good news? Bos indicus breeds can consistently achieve MSA grading, MLA Project Manager for Eating Quality Data Analytics Jessira Perovic told the recent Beef Australia 2015 MLA Producer Forum.

The bad news? There is wide variation in the eating quality of Bos indicus breeds, but with greater producer understanding of the MSA Index, this can be reduced.

Talking at the MLA Producer Forum (view her presentation here), Jessira said utilising the MSA Index could help producers increase profitability by:

  1. Hitting the target. The MSA Index provides a "common language for the complex recipe" that goes into determining the eating quality of beef. It allows producers to identify which aspects of their animals need improvement to lift their overall eating quality and compliance, where the MSA Index is used in processor specifications. 
  2. Using carcase feedback. MSA registered producers can use the mymsa website to read the MSA performance of their animals as measured by the Index. Animals will receive a score between 30 and 80 with 50-60 being the average (the national average in 2013-14 was 56.77). Producers can establish where their animals fit on the scale and look for opportunities to improve
  3. Herd variation. As all animals receive an individual score, producers can look for variation within the herd and assess the impacts on these different scores to fine tune their management.
  4. Drawing lines in the sand. Once groups are established according to their score within the herd, producers will then be able to work on moving the bottom performers to the middle and the middle to the top.
  5. Figure it out. Using the MSA Index calculator, producers can assess the impact that different breeding decisions will have on scores which impact on the Index, such as ossification, hump height and HGP use.

More information

Jessira Perovic


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