Changes are needed to improve transparency and competitiveness in Australia’s cattle and beef markets, with an ACCC study highlighting shortcomings in price reporting, a lack of trust in the carcass grading system, and concerns about anti-competitive conduct affecting competition in cattle and beef sales.
The findings arose from a detailed market study the ACCC conducted into beef and cattle markets in Australia, which involved consultations with all parts of the supply chain, and analysis of available market information and industry data.
The ACCC’s fifteen recommendations cover issues including:
improving price information by requesting that meat processors publish price grids for sales made direct to processors. This will make it easier for producers to consider and compare price offers. Nationally, the vast majority of prime cattle are sold this way
an increase in the frequency of AUS-MEAT’s random and unannounced audits of cattle grading and trimming in processing plants to improve integrity in the system
the introduction of an independent dispute resolution process to apply across the industry
the prioritisation of objective carcase measurement technology to increase the accuracy and transparency of carcase assessments, and the sharing of the data arising from the technology with cattle producers
the introduction of a buyers register and post auction buyers report for major saleyards
expanded reporting of historical prices to make it easier for producers to compare prices paid for cattle sold through saleyards, paddock sales and over-the-hook