Producing beef to market specifications
The type of animal required by a market may be described in various ways depending on whether it is a live or slaughter market. The market focus for a beef producer will be impacted by such things as financial return and suitability of the production system.
Target beef markets available to commercial beef producers include:
- Domestic slaughter markets
- Export slaughter markets
- Store market (live cattle for feedlot, pasture or crop finishers, growers, live export)
Specifications for slaughter markets are generally described in terms of carcase weight (kg) and fatness (mm on the p8 rump site). Most slaughter markets specify other requirements including: sex, age (dentition), muscle score or butt shape, fat distribution, breed content, hormone growth promotant and chemical residue status.
Beef carcase traits included in some specifications include: meat colour, fat colour, marbling, rib fat thickness, bone maturity (ossification) and muscle pH (acidity). Most of the slaughter traits will be influenced by pre-slaughter husbandry.
Meeting carcase specifications and understanding consumer requirements are key areas of ensuring compliance with a market requirement. There are various methods to obtain feedback. It is important to make a connection with the purchaser of stock through feedback to assess the suitability of cattle to the end user.
Click the links below to see a selection of information about:
- Growth and development patterns of different cattle and in different situations
- Breeding for specific markets, and setting up breeding programs
- Information specifically for a southern Australian environment
- Information specifically for a northern Australian environment
- Available training courses and further links related to producing beef for market specifications
Or search the Livestock Library for a wide variety of research and extension articles on all aspects of livestock production.