Disclaimer: MLA acknowledges the matching funds provided by the Australian Government to support the research and development detailed in this report. Numbers in graphs and tables within the report may be affected by rounding. © Meat & Livestock Australia 2023. ABN 39 081 678 364. This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all rights are expressly reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be directed to the Content Manager, PO Box 1961, North Sydney NSW 2059 or info@mla.com.au
Annual Report 2022–23
Adopt and

MLA invests in research and marketing activities for the benefit of the Australian red meat and livestock industry

What we do
Research, development and adoption

MLA invested $196.6 million in a range of research, development and adoption programs during 2022–23. This included $101.3 million invested through MLA Donor Company (MDC). This investment includes matching funds from the Australian Government and grants.

In 2022–23, MLA completed or terminated 326 research contracts, worth $228.1 million. These include 106 MDC contracts, contributing a total value of $147.6 million.

MLA commenced 212 new research and development contracts totalling $108.7 million in 2022–23. This included 57 contracts through MDC that were worth $78.5 million, with milestones across multiple years. This has resulted in 461 current contracts as at 30 June 2023, worth $550.4 million.

Marketing, market access and insights
During the year MLA invested $111.4 million in marketing, market access and insights to grow demand for Australian red meat and livestock domestically and abroad. The majority of this investment was ineligible to be matched with funds from the Australian Government.
How we work

As the declared industry research and marketing body under the Australian Meat and Live-stock Act, we operate in partnership with the Australian Government and value chain partners. The Australian Government sets high priority research and development objectives covering community, industry and environmental concerns.

Peak industry councils Cattle Australia, Australian Lot Feeders’ Association, Sheep Producers Australia and Goat Industry Council Australia assist MLA in consulting with levy payers on industry needs and priorities and provide guidance to ensure MLA strategy reflects these.

MLA also works closely with the Red Meat Advisory Council, the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, the Australian Meat Industry Council, LiveCorp and the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council to develop programs that address key industry issues and opportunities through the supply chain, manage projects and communicate outcomes.

How we are funded
MLA is primarily funded via transaction levies paid on livestock sales by producers and these levies are used to support marketing, research and development activities. However, we also receive funding through:
  • funding co-contributions matching levy investment through the Australian Government
  • unmatched grants
  • other funding streams.
For the full breakdown of MLA’s funding sources, visit mla.com.au/how-we-are-funded
Who we are
Our board

The MLA Board’s nine directors combine a broad range of skills, experience and expertise to set strategic priorities for the company, and approve and monitor progress against MLA’s Strategic Plan 2025. mla.com.au/board

Our business units

MLA delivers marketing, research and development on behalf of cattle, sheep and goat levy payers through five business units and two subsidiary companies. mla.com.au/how-we-deliver

Our staff

As at 30 June 2023, MLA had 290 employees, both domestically and internationally.


2022–2023 highlights


All MLA programs are evaluated on a regular basis using a comprehensive Triple Bottom Line (TBL) evaluation framework. This allows MLA to calculate investment returns in a systematic and timely basis rather than relying on a five-year evaluation cycle, as well as the ability to continuously monitor the timing and value of the economic, social and environmental benefits derived from MLA’s investments.


Status of MLA’s 2022–23 key performance indicators as at 30 June 2023

KPIs in Annual Investment Plan 2022–23

No Data Found

AchievedPartly achievedNot achieved

Strategic focus KPIs in MLA’s Strategic Plan 2025

No Data Found

On trackNot on track


Membership of MLA is voluntary and free to all levy-paying grassfed cattle, grainfed cattle, sheep, lamb and goat producers. MLA had 50,137 members as at 30 June 2023, an increase of 362 members from 2022. The table below shows the composition of MLA’s members.


The Data is Not Available


R&D priorities

Science and research priorities (%)

No Data Found

Rural research, development and extension priorities

No Data Found

Value of research contracts at 30 June each financial year

No Data Found


The favourable position of Australia’s red meat industry continues despite a number of significant challenges over the past year, which will continue to develop as we look ahead.

Operating environment

Lamb, sheep and cattle carcase weights were at historically high levels in 2022 due to the seasonal conditions, as well as high prices and a greater proportion of grainfed animals being turned off. Carcase weights were also bolstered by improvements in genetics and management practices however, as conditions have normalised, carcase weights have eased.

The national flock grew 3.6% in the 2022–23 financial year to reach 78.8 million head, its highest level since 2007.

In a similar fashion, the national herd grew 4% to 28.7m head – fuelled by good growing conditions in Queensland and the Northern Territory. The scale and size of this national rebuild has resulted in a significant increase in slaughter-ready animals – both cattle and sheep – during the first half of 2023. This large supply increase has put significant downward forces on the livestock prices that producers are receiving.


The last year has seen significant change for our industry following three years of herd and flock rebuild on the back of strong seasonal and market conditions.

Increased adoption will accelerate industry towards our goals

Through much of 2023, drier conditions have seen re-stocker demand ease and an increased supply of livestock on the market, putting downward pressure on prices as a result.

MLA acknowledges the challenging conditions being experienced by many producers and we continue to focus our efforts on investments and activities that drive meaningful outcomes for the industry.

Over the past 12 months the red meat and livestock industry has built further momentum towards our carbon neutral by 2030 (CN30) target, with solid investments in research, development and adoption (RD&A). I am delighted to share some of the initiatives and major project highlights from the past year, and particularly showcase how they deliver both for the environment and in terms of productivity.

Financial summary

Revenue ($ million)

No Data Found

$287.9 million

Expenditure ($ million)

No Data Found

$308.1 million

Retained earnings by funding source 2022–23

No Data Found

Grassfed cattle leviesGrainfed cattle leviesLamb levies
Mutton leviesGoat leviesMLA Donor Company
Integrity Systems Company

$44.8 million

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