St George cattleman Cameron Smith has been awarded Queensland's most outstanding non-grainfed producer (Band 2) in the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Awards.
His beef was pitched against some of the tastiest beef from Queensland recognised in the 2023 Meat Standards Australia Excellence in Eating Quality Awards, by Meat & Livestock Australia.
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.
Entries from Mr Smith's beef achieved an average MSA index of 60.59 and compliance of 98.6 per cent for cattle consigned for MSA grading over the two-year period of 2021-23.
The Smiths run a self-replacing herd of 360 breeders at New Kooroon, supplying cattle for the Teys Grassland's range, and Coles and Woolworths.
Their steer carcase weights averaged 346 kilograms after being finished on an oats crop.
Approximately 300 hectares of oats are planted in late March each year which rising two-year-old progeny are fed on throughout winter before being sent for processing.
"Our 2021 and 2022 oat crops were outstanding with 4.5 month and 5.5 month grazing windows, respectively," Mr Smith said.
"This gave the cattle time to reach their potential.
"We rotate our mobs of approximately 60 cows between two allocated paddocks per mob to give the pastures a spell when it's needed or after a rainfall event."
Besides good nutrition, Mr Smith said the bulls they buy have a big impact on their MSA results.
"Our herd comprises predominantly Devon-Hereford cross females and some Shorthorn genetics," Mr Smith said.
"We look at EBV's particularly around the rib fat and rump fat, and refer to them when we're narrowing down a decision between two bulls for example."
Mr Smith said and his family feel immense pride feel after being awarded the MSA award for smaller producers in Queensland.
"It is a good feeling to be getting this feedback and recognition knowing the genetics in the cattle are able to perform well against all breeds in our environmental conditions," he said.
"As a breeder/finisher, we want to deliver a top-quality product to the consumer and it's rewarding to know we are."
MSA Program Manager, David Packer, said the awards recognise beef producers in Queensland who have achieved outstanding results in a very large field of tough competition.
This year's Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producers for Queensland are as follows:
Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer - Feedlot
Winner Stockyard Lot Feeders Pty Ltd, Jondaryan
Finalist - 1st runner up Maydan Feedlot, Warwick, 2nd runner up Whyalla Beef (NH Foods), Texas
Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer - Band 1 (larger businesses) Winner Bull Creek Pty Ltd, Taroom
Finalist - 1st runner up Baronga Cattle Company Pty Ltd, Roma, 2nd runner up JC Mayne & Son, Wealwandangie
Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer - Band 2 (smaller businesses) Winner NKP Pty Ltd, New Kooroon and St George
Finalist - 1st runner up Hillview Feedlot, Killarney, 2nd runner up Penjobe Pastoral, Springsure
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