Pillar 4

Pillar 4: Productivity and profitability

Increasing productivity and profitability across the industry will assist red meat and livestock participants to raise their competitiveness and long-term sustainability and help offset the long‑running cost–price squeeze.

Encouraging the red meat supply chain to increase its productivity requires a new approach to research adoption. Providing producers, lot feeders, live exporters and processors with compelling commercial benefits to implement research and development is another priority. Also critical is the supply of timely, accurate and relevant tools, technologies and information.


Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP) 2020 priorities

Investments Investment source KPIs


  • 11 R&D projects worth $35 million funded under the Livestock Productivity Partnership
  • Pasture Trial Network website launched to provide objective pasture variety data to producers
  • 19 research proposals endorsed by National Livestock Genetics Consortium
  • MLA awarded the first annual Hitachi Transformation Award
  • Condition score targets identified to boost non-Merino ewe productivity
  • Prototype feed bunk scanner developed for feedlot industry
  • $13 million opportunity identified for domestic goatmeat
  • First beef DEXA unit installed to provide producer feedback on carcases
  • Four LEAP V automated lamb forequarter processing modules installed in processing plants
  • 750 attendees at the third Livestock Export Program Expo and Conference in Indonesia

Production efficiencies in farms and feedlots

For producers and lot feeders to remain competitive and sustainable in the long-term, MLA’s research, development and adoption programs need to deliver outcomes that improve their bottom line. This priority is focused on providing producers and lot feeders with options to improve the efficiency of their operations through programs including genetics and genomics, feedbase, reproduction, animal nutrition, compliance to market specifications and feed efficiency.

MLA will support the uptake of new practices through outcomes focused on producer education, training and coaching.

Livestock Productivity Partnership

Eleven research and development projects, valued at $35 million over five years, are now underway as part of the Livestock Productivity Partnership (LPP).

Over the next five years, the LPP aims to increase productivity gains for livestock producers in northern NSW and southern Queensland. However, some of the intended findings and tools will have application in other regions and nationally.

National Livestock Genetics Consortium

MLA established the National Livestock Genetics Consortium (NLGC) as a genetics and genomics collaboration model in 2016. The aim of the Consortium is to double the annual rate of improvement in the industry’s genetic value by 2022 through investment in livestock genetics projects that deliver one or more of the following:

  • world-leading research and development
  • cultural change
  • disruptive technologies
  • accessible data platforms.

Regional consultation framework

Through MLA’s regional consultation process, livestock producers directly influenced the investment of $9.7 million of levy funds into 13 new research, development and adoption projects in 2017–18.

Pasture Trial Network launched

Southern livestock producers now have access to data about the performance of more than 100 pasture varieties with the launch of the Pasture Trial Network (PTN) website in September 2017.

Goatmeat value-adding opportunities

A feasibility study into opportunities to encourage domestic goatmeat consumption has identified that value‑adding could create more demand and potentially generate $13 million/year for the industry.

Award-winning technology for northern beef

MLA, in conjunction with vertically integrated beef supply chain business Australian Cattle and Beef Holdings and Australian Country Choice, was awarded the first annual Hitachi Transformation Award for its work in using data to help drive innovation in the red meat industry.


A new software license agreement for BREEDPLAN, the genetic evaluation system for beef cattle in Australia, has commenced to ensure greater accessibility for seedstock producers and improve transparency and accountability in the system.

Management guidelines for non-Merino ewes

With non-Merino ewes producing about 45% of lamb supply in Australia, MLA‑funded research has identified that condition score targets at lambing of 2.7 for singles and 3.3 for multiple-bearing non‑Merino ewes are likely to achieve nearmaximum lamb survival and weaning rates.


Feedlot bunk scanner automation a reality

In a major step towards automation of manual processes in the feedlot industry, a prototype feed bunk scanner has been developed to objectively determine the quantity of feed remaining in cattle feed bunks.

Processing productivity

With Australian red meat facing intense price competition from other proteins and exporting nations, every cent counts during processing.

To help processors increase their efficiency and minimise production costs, this priority is focused on maximising value, addressing labour availability and workplace health and safety issues. Automation technologies and objective measurement will be the primary avenues to achieve this.

Development of LEAP V

The development of the LEAP V automated lamb forequarter processing module was completed in 2017–18, with the technology now installed at two processing plants.

Single tower lamb primal cutter

A single tower lamb primal cutting system for lower throughput plants has been successfully manufactured and the first commercial unit installed in June 2018 at a Wagstaff Cranbourne Pty Ltd plant.

Automated beef boning room concepts

Australian beef processing is moving to the next stage of efficiency and global competitiveness using learnings from recent lamb automation projects.

DEXA for lamb progresses

Processor confidence in the accuracy of DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) technology for lamb is increasing, with more research now underway to ensure the integrity of lean meat yield data from lamb carcases processed through the DEXA system.

Baggage scanning to be adapted for red meat

MLA will invest nearly $28 million into the objective measurement of eating quality – both on-farm and in processing plants – over the next five years.


Flicking the switch on beef DEXA

Objective carcase measurement for the beef industry took a step forward in May 2018 with the commissioning of beef DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) technology at Teys Australia’s Rockhampton processing plant.

Live export productivity

One of the significant challenges for the Australian livestock export industry is to remain internationally competitive while working within existing regulatory frameworks.

This priority addresses this by identifying cost savings, particularly in regulatory compliance and transport. This area also aims to improve animal health and welfare and productivity through the supply chain.

Managing Abattoirs, Training and Exchange of Skills program

The Managing Abattoirs, Training and Exchange of Skills (MATES) in-country training program was officially launched in April 2018, aimed at improving the skills of local Vietnamese workers who handle imported Australian cattle.

Young Applied Ruminant Nutrition Network

The Young Applied Ruminant Nutrition Network program, designed to provide participants with applied feedlot nutrition skills, was conducted in Vietnam in April 2018. The MLA-led program comprised an intensive three-week practical and theoretical training course, focused heavily on building the capability of Vietnamese feedlot employees to ensure the sustainability of the trade within Australia’s second largest live export market.

LEP Indonesian Feeder Steer Competition

Five feedlots participated in the second annual Livestock Export Program (LEP) Indonesian Feeder Steer Competition 2017, with Consolidated Pastoral Company’s PT Juang Jaya Abdi Alam winning the competition with a score 88.89 out of 100.


LEP Expo and Conference 2018

More than 750 people attended the third Livestock Export Program (LEP) Expo and Conference on 10–11 April 2018 at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition – more than double the attendance at the 2016 event.