A program to improve the eating quality of Australian beef must identifY the factors that effect this trait. These factors may be genetic or environmental. Among the environmental factors the growth path of the animal from birth to slaughter is of particular interest since this is under the control of the grazier or feedlot operator. Cattle raised for slaughter in Australia typically experience variable nutrition and this is expressed in growth paths which may vary widely depending on the food supply. While deficits in food supply may be supplemented this option incurs a cost which needs to be managed within the value of the product to the market. If growth path was shown to have an effect on the eating quality of beef then it might be economic to direct resources to achieving growth rates which improve eating quality.