MLA strategic plan aims to build more profitable and sustainable meat industry

Sheep Central, June 27, 2016

SHEEP and cattle paid on value-based pricing heads a list of industry opportunities outlined in Meat & Livestock Australia’s latest strategic plan for 2016-2020.

MLA said the successful delivery of its new strategic plan will yield a more profitable, sustainable and globally competitive Australian red meat and livestock industry by 2020.

The plan’s priorities will see MLA maintain a relentless focus on delivering real commercial outcomes for the industry’s beef, sheep meat and goat meat sectors.

Developed in collaboration with industry and the Australian Government, each of the priorities within MLA’s strategic plan falls within six “pillars” that include: Consumer and community support, market growth and diversification, supply chain efficiency and integrity, productivity and profitability, leadership and collaborative culture and stakeholder engagement.

MLA managing director Richard Norton said the strategic plan sets clear targets for MLA to achieve by 2020 to underpin the growth and prosperity of the red meat and livestock industry.

“By 2020, MLA will be a truly global marketing and innovation company, generating higher returns for Australian red meat and livestock producers.

“MLA will also be the leading generator of commercial research and development outcomes, driving productivity gains and profitability across the value chain,” he said.

“The plan acknowledges the need for continued community support and confidence in our industry, as well as the need to maintain industry’s success to date in increasing market access and reducing technical trade barriers.

“MLA’s strategic plan also identifies how we will continue to invest in research and development to improve efficiency and integrity across the value chain.”

Working in partnership with stakeholders, MLA said its suite of programs will help unlock opportunities which include:

  1. Cattle and sheep supplied direct-to-works will be paid on value-based pricing, with productivity gains expected along the value chain from new tools and practices, and high-tech carcase measurement technologies.
  2. A reduction in the economic and welfare impacts of livestock diseases. MLA’s animal health and welfare research will ensure continuous improvement and reinforce community support for the industry. Opportunities include a simple, single-use animal tattoo that changes colour according to the animal’s health status and a vaccine to protect sheep against all strains of footrot. Pain relief research will continue.
  3. Improvement in producer productivity and farm profits while reducing emissions, through feedbase development, new technology and on-farm practices.
  4. MLA leveraging at least $2 from co-investment for every $1 of industry levies across the research and development portfolio to develop new research partnerships, enhance collaboration and attract new sources of income.
  5. Improving grazing systems with new establishment of persistent legumes that boost soil nitrogen and improve pasture quality, dry matter production and livestock productivity. In northern Australia, the release of a new psyllid-resistant variety of leucaena developed by MLA will dramatically expand the areas using this drought-resistant tropical legume pasture.
  6. New online market information services to assist producers make better business decisions through continuous improvement of MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service. MLA’s Livestock Data Link is already providing producers with more timely and accurate slaughter feedback, lifting compliance to market specifications.
  7. A commitment to superior eating quality to drive improvement in the MSA Index. Opportunities will be created to add value to more cuts from MSA-graded carcases to even better meet the needs of consumers in Australia and abroad. MLA will also work with supply chains to support producers in meeting market specifications and capturing more value on-farm. Genetics research will improve breeding values for traits that drive profit.
  8. Improvements in market access through a reduction of economic and technical trade barriers, optimising free trade agreement benefits and improvements in livestock export supply chain delivery costs and welfare outcomes.
  9. Improvements in the return on investment in marketing and innovation through the application of new data and insights, ensuring MLA marketing activities better differentiate Australian red meat from its competitors to expand the consumer base. Value chains will be supported in creating new products using secondary cuts and identifying opportunities to grow demand.
  10. Enhancing integrity systems and technology to help protect Australia’s reputation as a clean, safe and natural producer, providing industry participants, customers and consumers with absolute confidence in Australia’s product quality, pricing and integrity systems.

This strategic plan now informs MLA’s Annual Investment Plans, which outline MLA’s annual programs and the actions, key performance indicators and budgets for each.

To view the full strategic plan, visit


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