Wednesday, October 28, 2009


MLA’s David Thomason’s claim (QCL Oct 22, read HERE) that Richard Torbay’s NSW Meat Labelling Bill “could set the industry back 20 years” shows how out of touch he is.

Australian cattle producers currently receive about 30% less in real terms for their cattle than they did 20 years ago and prices continue to fall.

Twenty years ago Australians each ate 43.2kgs of beef every year compared to the MLA forecast of 31.3kgs this year.

Despite the continued increase in our population, the total volume of beef consumed in Australia is falling with Australian domestic beef consumption now down to 33% of our total production.

Only about 20-25% of the cattle destined for the Australian market are MSA graded and cattle from the Top End, the Channel Country, cattle sold through saleyards and cattle from non-MSA accredited properties, which would eat well, can’t be MSA graded because of the MSA rules.

A system has to be worked out to grade the beef that would eat well that is not eligible for MSA as well as the beef that does not make MSA grades.

MLA has spent a fortune on MSA but where are the results?

If we could encourage Australians to eat as much beef as they did 20 years ago and cattle producers were paid the same price for their cattle in real terms that they were 20 years ago, then producers may believe that they had received good value for their levy dollars.

Here's what readers of QCL thought about the article...

Ted O'Brian said:

"One thing we know for sure is that the lack of labelling has not been good for producers. It would be thirty years now since Ian Steele-Park told us that beef grading was just around the corner, waiting only for the fixing of problems with the device that measured the fat depth. Thirty years. Clearly somebody was being paid for thirty years to drop this jigger on the concrete."

Mac said:

"It is high time that we caught up with the USA and had a complete grading scheme not just for the upper echelons of the market; if it is good enough for them, why not the rest of us? I have been buying some meat lately as it is too dry to kill, it really is disgraceful that you have no idea what you are buying. Pig and poultry producers market their products much better than the beef industry. I wonder why that is? Someone may be able to tell me."

Les said:

"When you see 26-28 month old bullocks off oats making $1.60, & 8 &12 year old cows making $1.40 in yards recently, we need meet grading. All cows, know matter what age, should be mince. The wagons are circling - QCL editorial, Jon Condon, MLA, Cattle Council, AgForce, 2 abattoirs ... they stick together like glue. The day QCL & Jon Condon ever criticise MLA, AgForce, or Cattle Council on any issue, I'll send them a bottle of blue label Johnny Walker each. Go for it Richard Torbay."

Qlander said:

"The issue of generic description and labelling of beef has always bumped into the competition for brand marketing between the breeds."

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