MSA producers among guest speakers at Biloela Forum

Queensland beef producers targeting Meat Standards Australia (MSA) specifications can hear from one of the State’s top MSA producers when the MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Forum is held at Biloela on 10 September 2019.

Western Downs commercial beef producer and veterinarian Lee McNicholl, ‘Arklow’, Dulacca, will be among the guest speakers at the ‘Consumer trends driving on-farm change’ Forum, discussing on-farm management practices for turning off cattle that consistently achieve high rates of MSA compliance.

Local processors and commercial brand owners will also be speaking at the Forum, giving producers the opportunity to hear about the market and where MSA beef is being consumed.

The Forum is designed to equip producers with the tools to make practical on-farm changes to benefit their herd’s eating quality outcomes, the end consumer, and the profitability of the industry.

Mr McNicholl and his wife Megan have been registered MSA producers since the system was first launched some 20 years, and supplied cattle for Queensland’s earliest MSA kills which occurred at Chaplain’s Miles Abattoirs in 1998.

“At the MSA Excellence in Eating Quality forum at Biloela, I’ll be discussing how to produce MSA beef in a Queensland environment that’s getting hotter and drier,” Mr McNicholl said.

“We run 1200 Angus-Shorthorn-Brangus breeders turning off 1000 yearlings annually. However, we’re now in our seventh year of consistently below average rainfall and this year is the worst of the seven years. We are concerned that we are facing long-term climate change-induced drier times. Consequently, we have decided to reduce breeder numbers by 50%.”

The McNicholls run their business across ‘Arklow’, ‘Melrose’, ‘Tilbury’, and ‘Boralley’ at Dulacca, and ‘Forest Grove’, Wallumbilla, and custom-feed their cattle from 250kg to 480kg, depending on the season and the market, at Lillyvale Feedlot, Condamine.

At the 2019 RNA Paddock to Palate Competition, the McNicholls won the feedlot weight gain section, and were placed second overall in the 70-day trade class for a line of Angus-Shorthorn cross steers. In 2012, they were the overall winners of the RNA Paddock to Palate 100-day Competition.

The Queensland MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Forum starts at 1.30pm at the Biloela ANZAC Memorial Club, and will be followed by the announcement of the 2019 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Award winners.

The Awards are presented to producers who have achieved outstanding compliance rates to MSA specifications, as well as high eating quality performance, as represented by MSA Index results for MSA graded cattle during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years.

The event is free, but registration is essential.

Source: MLA