Central Australia Premium beef opportunities

Central Australian cattle producers are being supported to push into premium beef markets, through a project which investigates the production system from paddock to plate.

The Quality Graze Trial on Old Man Plains Research Station is investigating the effect of the latest Grazing Land Management on the consistent supply of premium beef from Central Australia.  

The project sends cattle to abattoirs in South Australia and monitors the meat grading (MSA), as part of a push to diversify markets for Central Australian pastoralists.

Chris Materne, Livestock Industry Development Officer, said moving into premium markets would capitalise on the grass quality in Central Australia and easy access to southern markets.

“Because of the good quality feed, we can run the British breeds which produce meat that better suits the high value Australian market,” Chris said.

“We can also value add on the property by fattening the cattle here. You’re seeing 600 kilogram steers at two and a half years old, which is a great rate of growth.”

Chris said industry was moving to focus on sustainable production systems which relieve pressure on land conditions.

“We’re seeing the approach of looking at the production system in terms of performance and matching grazing numbers to country capability,” Chris said.

“That involves a lot of fringe benefits like stress relief and ability to deal with the dry season.”

Chris said this shift also brings an increase in the weight of cattle, as well as ability to get a better price per kilo.

“Instead of three animals going to the meatworks to get a product, there are two going. So getting the same number of kilos on eight legs instead of 12 reduces other costs as well.”The project is working towards producing consistent Meat Standards Australia grading results by investigating potential causes for any variation.

Last updated: 10 October 2017