Domestic Lamb

ICMJ students urged to tackle value-based marketing challenge

James Nason July 8, 2024


STUDENTS attending the Intercollegiate Meat Judging annual conference in Wagga Wagga have been encouraged to consider focusing their careers on the challenge of helping to make value-based pricing in Australian livestock markets a reality.

Value-based pricing involves paying producers for the specific value of each carcase they produce based on its individual components, including co-products such as hides and offal.

The best and worst animal in an individual consignment can vary by as much as $600 per head.

Payment systems are currently based on averages, which means producers receive the same price for high value carcases as they do for lower value carcases.

Pricing schemes that reflect the true value of individual animals are seen as an incentive to lift overall carcase value and eating quality across Australian livestock populations.

This requires developing accurate and reliable ways to measure live animals and predict how they will “perform on the hook”.

Emerging technology and data is starting to make value-based marketing a potentially realistic proposition, the ICMJ conference at Wagga on Friday was told.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s Group Manager, Adoption and Commercialisation, Sarah Strachan told the 130 university students present that finding ways to provide feedback to help producers know the true value of carcases they are delivering to processors is something MLA will be focusing on more in future.

Progress around eating quality through MSA, and yield measurement technology such as DEXA imaging systems in processing plants, along with animal health data, were combining to provide a picture of true carcase value.

Australian Country Choice Group Manager – Research Development Innovation, Paul Gibson, urged students to take up the challenge of finding ways to convert measurements of carcase traits into measurements in live cattle.

“Live measurement is where we need to now focus, particularly from the point of view of prediction,” Mr Gibson said.

“I’m very optimistic on this technology. We can do it, and we have got the means in Australia to do it, we just need the investment and we need the likes of you in this room to get in behind it and say I am going to support this program, and that is what I want the job to do, that pure and applied R&D that make these things happen.”

The annual ICMJ conference in Wagga brings together university students from across Australia for a week long program of educational sessions and work shops, culminating in the meat judging competitions and the selection of the Australian ICMJ team.

Students attending this year told Beef Central they were grateful for the amount of time leading industry figures gave to helping them in the week-long program.


Nick Greenwood, Jake Turner and Ethan Willis

“It’s amazing how unified everyone is in the red meat industry towards achieving the same goal,” UQ student Ethan Willis from Brisbane said.

“The passion in the industy that everyone shows, and the time the speakers have taken out of their jobs to foster us, it shows a lot of belief in us,”  Charles Sturt University student Jake Turner from Lake Cargelligo said.

Saralouise Graefling, Charlotte Poker and Hannah Pollard.

University of Adelaide students Saralouise Graefling from Mt Compass, Charlotte Poker from Adelaide Hills and Hannah Pollard from Sydney said the ICMJ course and careers expo had opened their  eyes to the large amount of graduate programs and interstate opportunities available in the red meat sector.

Lucy Glendinning and Holly Speers.

CSU student Lucy Glendinning and UNE student Holly Speers from Lismore also commented on how broad the opportunities in the industry are. “There are so many areas for innovation and growth that we did not even know about,” Lucy said.

Zoe Puls and Sarah Pearce.

CSU student Zoe Puls, Balmoral, Vic and Marcus Oldham student Sarah Pearce from Lameroo, SA, said the networking side of the program had been a major positive, with learning experiences extending not just from interacting with guest speakers and lecturers but also the other students from across Australia present.


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