May 16, 2024

Interpretive Summary: Carcass assessment and value in the Australian beef and sheepmeat industry

Interpretive Summary: Carcass assessment and value in the Australian beef and sheepmeat industry

By: Sarah M Stewart, Rod Polkinghorne, David W Pethick, Liselotte Pannier

Beef and sheepmeat are major high-volume foods produced in Australia for both domestic consumption and export markets. Australian carcass and meat evaluation has evolved from very basic and imprecise carcass assessments to more sophisticated systems over the last 30 years, reflecting changing technologies, market systems, and consumer preferences, with significant investment in eating quality research (Polkinghorne, 2018).

Uniquely to Australia, systems of carcass classification and description largely based on sex, dentition, and crude measures of yield (carcass weight and fat depth) have expanded with the introduction of consumer-focused grading through the Australian Meat Standards Australia (MSA) system for beef and sheepmeat. The MSA grading system aims to deliver an eating quality guarantee to consumers through the implementation of eating quality grades (Polkinghorne and Thompson, 2010Pannier et al., 2018) based on a combination of carcass classification and grading evaluation traits as defined under the AUS-MEAT language (AUS-MEAT, 2022).

Most recently, the development and commercialization of new objective grading technologies have provided dramatically improved yield predictions and assisted quality grading trait accuracy and repeatability (Gardner et al., 2021b). To maximize carcass value across the supply chain, accurate carcass grading systems for both eating quality and yield are paramount (Pethick et al., 2021). Therefore, objective grading technologies to accurately measure lean meat yield (LMY) and eating quality traits will be critical to implement value-based payment systems in the Australian beef and sheepmeat industries.

This paper addresses the current grading systems utilized in Australia with the potential utilization of combining yield and eating quality systems in value-based payment systems that can accelerate industry efficiency and profitability through consumer pricing signals.

Read the full article in Animal Frontiers.