• Winners of the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Award for NSW  (larger non-grainfed), Roger and Missy Wilkinson.
    Winners of the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Award for NSW (larger non-grainfed), Roger and Missy Wilkinson.

New South Wales’ best beef has been recognised by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) at the 2023 Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Excellence in Eating Quality Awards.

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.

Winners of the 2023 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Award for NSW Band 1 (larger non-grainfed), producers Roger and Missy Wilkinson, together with their daughter Primrose, run a steer-trading enterprise on their 1,215-hectare property, Ardsley, near Bathurst on the NSW Central Tablelands.

The Wilkinson’s have been specialising in steers for more than 20 years, typically running between 600 to 800 Angus or Angus-cross steers, and have been MSA producers since 2011.

Over the past two years, they have consigned more than 900 head and achieved an average MSA Index of 65.16 and a high compliance rate of 97 per cent.

Originally, the Wilkinsons bought steers in at around 300 kilograms. Today they target an entry weight of 350 kilograms and find the cattle perform better.

“Buying them when they’re that little bit older, we find they go on a bit faster, metabolise better and are easier to handle, they are also through the stress of weaning, rather than having come straight off their mothers,” Missy Wilkinson said.

Supplying to JBS Scone and targeting a carcase weight of 400-410 kilograms, the Wilkinsons have found handling and management to be key drivers of performance for their steers.

Low-stress stock handling and improved technology in the cattle yards has also helped the Wilkinsons achieve better results with their steers.

This management style has been supported by the objective data and measurement tools the Wilkinsons use through myMSA.

“Initially we moved to MSA because it allowed us to differentiate our product from standard cattle and it is now a requirement for our Farm Assurance program.

“We really rely on the MSA feedback to understand our performance and make changes where we need to. Getting that objective measurement helps you understand how your management style is impacting the end product, and you can make business decisions based on that,” Roger Wilkinson said.

MSA program manager David Packer said the awards recognised beef producers in NSW in a very large field of tough competition.

“This is the 25th year of the MSA program and in that time, it has become the world-leading eating quality grade program for Australian beef.

“It is a key driving force behind the quality of Australian beef, so these awards are a prestigious achievement for the producers,” said Packer.

This year’s Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producers for NSW included: 

Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer – Feedlot

JHW Paterson & Son, Balranald

Finalist - 1st runner up
R C Mackenzie & Sons P/L, Bunnaloo

Finalist - 2nd runner up
Bective Station Feedlot, Tamworth

Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer – Band 1 (larger businesses)

Ardsley Pastoral, Bathurst

Finalist - 1st runner up
LM&LJ, RJ&SA Wilkinson, Merriwa

Finalist - 2nd runner up
Wiseman Bros, Attunga

Most Outstanding MSA Beef Producer – Band 2 (smaller businesses)

Tarrabah Pastoral Co, Attunga

Finalist - 1st runner up
Kotupna Grazing, Armidale

Finalist - 2nd runner up
Tattersalls Development, Hillston

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