Beef Carcase Competitions


  • Update on the MSA Index
  • What is the MSA Index?
  • What is a ‘good’ index score?
  • Can our show use the MSA Index to judge our carcase competition?
  • New MSA Pathway for Shows Now Available

Carcase Competitions are a great example of commercially relevant and educational focused events for producers. They are a great way shows can use the latest industry research to help advance the livestock industry.

Most beef carcase competitions assess three main areas:

  • Market Specifications (eg. HSCW, P8 fat depth, meat colour, fat colour)
  • Saleable Meat Yield (eg. rib fat, eye muscle area, dressing percent)
  • Eating Quality (eg. pH, ossification, marbling, HGP status, hump height, sex)

It is clear that the producers and societies that focus on understanding their feedback improve their ability to produce cattle that better meet the market specification, have higher eating quality and generally score better in competitions.


Update on the MSA Index – introduced in 2014

Last year MSA (Meat Standards Australia) introduced the MSA Index to simplify the MSA Grading system. Most MSA processors across the country were upgraded to the MSA Index system in 2014 and should now be able to provide this information.


What is the MSA Index?

The MSA Index predicts the average eating quality of a beef carcase, it is a number between 30 to 80.

It is a consistent benchmark which can be used across all processors, regions and over time, reflecting the impact of management, environmental and genetic differences on eating quality.

The MSA Index combines the impact of all MSA graded traits into one simple number. Full MSA feedback for all individual carcase traits is still available and is an important tool to understand how changes in breeding, genetics or management impact on the eating quality of the carcase.


What is a ‘good’ index score?

RASV Carcase Competition

RASV Carcase Competition

A carcase with a higher MSA index will have higher beef eating quality scores for many cuts compared to a lower MSA index carcase.

Currently the average MSA Index score is 57. Indexes over 61 are in the top 10% of cattle.


Can our show use the MSA Index to judge our carcase competition?

The MSA Index is a great standardised way to assess and compare the eating quality of cattle, but it should not be the only criteria in a carcase competition. Ensure some criteria on meat yield and market specification are also included. You can not directly compare the MSA Index score (score/80) with a carcase competition total (usually score/100).


New MSA Pathway for Shows Now Available

MSA requires cattle consignments are not mixed or split in the 14 days prior to slaughter, hence carcase competitions have previously not been eligible to be sold as MSA graded product. Research has now shown that correct management of carcase competition cattle has little impact on eating quality. Shows with large competitions that contact MSA, may now be able to arrange for their exhibits to be able to be sold under the MSA system.


See the MSA Website for further information.

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