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How to avoid the dark side (of beef)

There is a major reason why pasture-fed cattle in southern Australia are failing to make the grade in Meat Standards Australia's quality grading system: dark-cutting carcases.

This dark coloured meat is not the choice of consumers due to its unappetising colour, variable tenderness, inferior flavour, reduced shelf-life and poor cooking ability. Dark-cut carcasses are downgraded at processors and have an estimated cost to the Australian beef industry up to $38.5Million a year in production losses.

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Murray Local Land Services and the Holbrook Landcare Network are running a producer workshop next week to inform and assist producers on managing the risk of dark cutting and meat quality of their cattle.

The workshop will outline current research and explore on-farm strategies that will assist in minimising the risk of dark cutting. Topics include:

  • A ‘dark cutting’ problem – How has this been managed at ‘Killandayle’? – Oliver, Tony and Marg Killalea
  • The importance of colour and issues of dark cutting – David Hopkins, NSW DPI
  • On-farm management and feed quality effects of dark cutting – Michael Wilkes, the University of Adelaide
  • National Landcare Program project updates – Janelle Jenkins and Sue Briggs, Local Land Services
  • Ideas and options for farm building cattle yards – Graham Bowers, beef producer

The day will be held at the property of Oliver, Tony and Marg Killalea, ‘Killandayle’, 1970 Jingellic Rd, Holbrook, on Friday 1 December at 9.15 am for a 9.30 am start. It will finish at 1.00 pm, and morning tea and lunch will be provided.

Please advise staff at RSVP of any dietary requirements, bring a chair and come prepared for being outdoors.

For further information and to RSVP, contact Monica Ley (Murray Local Land Services Livestock Officer) on 0448 294 997, or email

Media contact: Matt Lane, 02 6051 2252, M 0427 459 755