Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

New England producers have been acknowledged as producing some of New South Wales’s tastiest beef in the 2023 Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Excellence in Eating Quality Awards, by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) – but the most outstanding producer award has gone to Bathurst’s Ardsley Pastoral.

The awards recognise producers from across the country who consistently deliver beef of superior eating quality, based on the parameters of the MSA program. 

MSA is based on more than 1.7 million taste tests by over 250,000 consumers from 13 countries and considers the factors that affect eating quality from the paddock to plate. 

The objectivity of MSA and the eating quality measurements also allow producers to connect in a meaningful way with others in the supply chain. 

MSA Program Manager, David Packer, said the awards recognise beef producers in NSW who have achieved outstanding results in a very large field of tough competition. 

“This is the 25th year of the MSA program and in that time, it has become the world-leading eating quality grade program for Australian beef,” Dr Packer said. 

“It is a key driving force behind the quality of Australian beef, so these awards are a prestigious achievement for the producers.” 

This year’s Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producers for NSW are as follows: 

Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer – Feedlot 
Winner JHW Paterson & Son, Balranald 
Finalist – 1st runner up R C Mackenzie & Sons P/L, Bunnaloo 
Finalist – 2nd runner up Bective Station Feedlot, Tamworth 
Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer – Band 1 (larger businesses) 
Winner Ardsley Pastoral, Bathurst 
Finalist – 1st runner up LM&LJ, RJ&SA Wilkinson, Merriwa 
Finalist – 2nd runner up Wiseman Bros, Attunga 
Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer – Band 2 (smaller businesses) 
Winner Tarrabah Pastoral Co, Attunga 
Finalist – 1st runner up Kotupna Grazing, Armidale 
Finalist – 2nd runner up Tattersalls Development, Hillston 

Winners of the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Award for NSW Band 1 (larger non-grainfed) producers, Roger and Missy Wilkinson, together with their daughter Primrose, run a steer-trading enterprise on their 1,215-hectare property, Ardsley, near Bathurst on the NSW Central Tablelands. 

Roger and Missy have been specialising in steers for more than 20 years. Typically running between 600 to 800 Angus or Angus-cross steers, the Wilkinsons have been MSA producers since 2011. 

Over the past two years, they have consigned more than 900 head and achieved an average MSA Index of 65.16 and a high compliance rate of 97%. 

 The Wilkinson’s buyer selects their cattle on type and temperament over specific genetic lines of suppliers. 

Originally, the Wilkinsons bought steers in at around 300 kilograms. Today they target an entry weight of 350 kilograms and find the cattle perform better. 

“Buying them when they’re that little bit older, we find they go on a bit faster, metabolise better and are easier to handle,” Missy Wilkinson said. 

“They are also through the stress of weaning, rather than having come straight off their mothers.” 

Supplying to JBS Scone and targeting a carcase weight of 400-410 kilograms, the Wilkinsons have found handling and management to be key drivers of performance for their steers. 

Low-stress stock handling and improved technology in the cattle yards has also helped the Wilkinsons get better results with their steers. 

This management style has been supported by the objective data and measurement tools the Wilkinsons use through myMSA. 

“Initially we moved to MSA because it allowed us to differentiate our product from standard cattle and it is now a requirement for our Farm Assurance program,” Roger Wilkinson said. 

“We really rely on the MSA feedback to understand our performance and make changes where we need to.” 

“Getting that objective measurement helps you understand how your management style is impacting the end product, and you can make business decisions based on that.” 

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