Beef cattle market specifications

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There is an ever-increasing number of markets available to southern Australia beef producers. Each of these has particular specifications that must be met to attract the highest price. A sound knowledge of the specification requirements is fundamental to the development of production pathways and to the decision to target certain markets in line with global demands and regional onfarm efficiencies.

Examples of animal and carcase specifications for several markets available to the southern Australian beef industry

Owner and managers should consult with their potential customers to determine precise specifications as these can change over time.

Table 1: Specifications for common prime beef markets
Characteristic Market
Japan EU Local trade MSA
HSCW (kg) 300–420 320–420 160–220
Dentition (adult teeth) 0–6 0–4 0
P8 fat depth (mm) 7–22 6–22 3–10
Butt/muscle shape score A–C A–C A–C
Bruising Nil Nil
Sex Steer and female Steer and female Steer and female
Ossification score < 180
Marbling score > 0.5
Fat colour score 0–3 0–3 0
Meat colour grade 1b–3 1a–2
Eye muscle area (cm2) > 85 70
Ultimate muscle pH < 5.71
Loin temperature (℃) < 9
Retail meat yield (%) 70
HGP status

Free Yes
Acceptable compliance (%)

90 85

 

Table 2: Feedlot entry specifications for long-fed, mid-fed, short-fed and trade feedlot targets
Characteristic Long-fed
220+ days
Mid-fed
120–150 days
Short-fed
100 days
Trade
70 days
Sex Steer Steer Steer Steer and female
Dentition (adult teeth) 0–4 0–2 0–2 0
Breed Angus, Murray Grey, Shorthorn British breeds and crosses British breeds, Bos indicus crosses, European crosses British breeds, Bos indicus crosses, European crosses
Empty entry weight (kg) 400–600 420–480 440–480 250–350
HGP status Free Free Any Any
Frame score > 4.5 > 4.5 > 4.5
Muscle score C+ C+ C+ D+
Condition score 1–2 1–2 1–2 1–2
Temperament Quiet Quiet Quiet Quiet, weaned, yard broken

 

Table 3: Feedlot cattle exit specifications
Characteristics Long-fed
220+ days
Mid-fed
150 days
Mid-fed
120 days
Short-fed
100 days
HSCW (kg) 380–450 300–420 300–450 300–40
Dentition (adult teeth) 0–6 0–6 0–6 0–4
P8 fat depth (mm) 10–40 10–27 10–27 6–22
Marbling score 3 up 2 up
50% 2 up
1 up Any
Fat colour score 0 0 0 0
Meat colour score 1 1 1 1
Eye muscle area (cm2) > 85 > 85 > 85
Antibiotic status Free Free Free
Retail meat yield (%) 67–69 68–70 65–70
HGP status Free Free Free Any
Liveweight equivalents (kg)        
• minimum 670 550 550 540
• maximum 800 750 800 720
Acceptable compliance (%) 70 90 90 96

 

Table 4: Examples of breeding and store stock specifications
Characteristic Breeding females Store weaners
Breed Angus Hereford
No. head required 25 200
Liveweight 480 220
Frame score 4.5 5
Dentition (adult teeth) 2 0
Age (months) 24 7
Condition score 2.5 1
Butt/muscle shape A–C A–C
Bloodlines Te Mania
Sex Female Steer and female
Pregnancy status Pregnancy-tested, in-calf (PTIC)
Calving date 25 July 03
Breedplan EBVs Yes
Marbling (%) 2.1 0.5
Feed conversion efficiency 8:1
Eye muscle area (cm2)
Structural soundness Yes Yes
Temperament Quiet
Health treatments 7 in 1
HGP status Free Free

 

Table 5: Compilation of grids across Australia to demonstrate average market requirements and discounts

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