Gary Coventry named Victorian MSA Producer of the Year

06 April 2016

North East Victorian beef producer Gary Coventry has been named the State’s ‘MSA Producer of the Year’ at the inaugural MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards in Bendigo last night.
The Awards recognise the State’s top producers who have achieved outstanding compliance rates to the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) specifications for cattle MSA graded during 2014-15.

Mr Coventry operates a cattle fattening and finishing business at Benalla, turning off between 250 to 300 steers a year. 

He won the MSA title from a field comprising over 1,400 registered producers in Victoria who consigned cattle during the 2014-15 financial year.
MSA Producer Engagement Officer Jarrod Lees said Mr Coventry’s beef was high quality primarily due to optimising the weight for maturity of his cattle, reflected in the low ossification scores.
“Gary has been very effective in buying in good quality young cattle and feeding them out very quickly, ensuring optimal growth for maturity,” Mr Lees said.
“This has contributed to the low ossification scores of his cattle.”
Ossification is a measure of the physiological maturity of the beef carcase, and eating quality declines as ossification increases. While ossification increases as the animal ages, it can also increase with nutritional or health stress.
Mr Lees said Mr Coventry’s beef had exceptional marbling scores, corresponding to excellent flavour and high levels of juiciness.
“High marbling scores can be attributed to managing high quality nutrition, as Gary only buys in cattle when quality feed is available,” Mr Lees said.
“The quality of the beef from these animals is very good - Gary should be really proud of himself.”
To be eligible for the awards, a producer’s annual MSA-graded volume had to be in the top 50th percentile for the state they were produced in.
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 Awards aim to raise awareness of best management practice from producers who consistently deliver superior eating quality beef ultimately for the benefit of consumers and for the profitability of the industry.
The MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards are being held throughout Australia in conjunction with a ‘Future of Eating Quality’ forum in each state.
MSA was developed by the Australian red meat industry to improve beef eating quality consistency. The system is based on over 700,000 consumer taste tests by over 100,000 consumers from nine countries and takes into account all factors that affect the eating quality from the paddock to the plate.

During 2014-15, almost 13,000 producers throughout Australia consigned over 3.2 million cattle to the MSA program.

Click here for more details about Mr Coventry's operation.

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