MSA softens freight bill | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
MSA softens freight bill

The premium gained from cattle meeting MSA market specifications has just about removed the cost of freight from the equation for the Atkinson family, from Katandra, Hughenden. During August and September, two consignments of grassfed, HGP-free Droughtmaster steers and heifers were trucked 950km from their North Queensland property to Tey’s Australia’s Lakes Creek meatworks in Rockhampton. The first four decks sent in August consisted of 88 No.0 steers. Of these, 87 were presented for MSA grading. The results showed 83 head, or 95 per cent, graded in boning groups of one to 11, while 66pc of the steers graded in bonging groups from one to eight. The MSA premium for this consignment was $5362 or $62/head. Rob Atkinson said it almost paid for the freight component, which was $69. The second consignment of 22 No.0 steers and 36 No.9 and No.0 heifers was sent to Lakes Creek towards the end of September. Twenty-one steers were presented for MSA grading, and all of them graded in boning groups one to 11. Fifty-two per cent graded in boning groups from one to eight. The heifers returned similar results with 33 heifers, or 85pc, grading in the boning groups one to 11. Again, 27pc made the boning groups of one to eight. For the second consignment, the MSA premium was $55/head for steers and $51/head for heifers, totalling $2580. Mr Atkinson said the average ossification was 166, and the top MSA marble score was 570, with an average of 213. “The average carcase weight was 292kg, which indicates excellent weight for age,” Mr Atkinson said. “Only one animal dropped out of the consignments because of pH. “For us, we’ve never had much luck with cattle meeting MSA standards because we’ve used HGPs up until recent years. “We didn’t do anything special with these cattle. We mustered them into the yards the day before we trucked, and we loaded early the next morning, but they seem to travel well. “These results indicate that cattle can cope with long- distance transport and still manage to achieve excellent MSA premiums,” Mr Atkinson said. “Freight is such a big component, but these premiums just about pay for the bill, which is a huge saving.”

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