Gerald Young named WA’s MSA Producer of the Year

15 April 2016

Bridgetown cattle producer Gerald Young has been named Western Australia’s ‘MSA Producer of the Year’ at the inaugural MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards in Bunbury 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.

Gerald and his partner Denice Brookes run Angus-Friesian cows joined to Simmental bulls to turn off about 60 MSA-graded vealers each year.

Mr Young won the MSA title from a field comprising over 1,500 registered producers in Western Australia who consigned cattle during the 2014-15 financial year.

MSA Producer Engagement Officer Jarrod Lees said the low ossification scores of Mr Young’s cattle was indicative of their nutrition and handling.

“Being milk-fed vealers, Gerald’s ossification scores are really low, but we can also tell that they’ve had a really easy path to slaughter,” Mr Lees said.

“He has no dark cutters, so we can also tell that he’s handling his cattle with a minimum amount of stress and that’s a really key part of MSA to meet the program’s minimum requirements.

“Gerald should feel over the moon about how well he’s done. The compliance rate is really admirable and his MSA Index score is top rate.”

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.

‘Dark-cutters’ are carcases which have a dark meat colour rather than the desirable cherry red and often a high muscle pH. It can be influenced by factors including inadequate pre-slaughter nutrition as well as stress imposed on the cattle.

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 on Mr Young's operation

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