To keep marketing options open, they became registered Meat Standards Australia (MSA) producers in 2010 for their Englefield Grange feedlot.
During the past 12 months, the Joyce’s management practices and types of cattle finished resulted in the family being awarded the 2017 MSA Excellence in Eating Quality Most Outstanding Beef Producer – Grainfed award, presented at Gawler.
The award for grainfed producers recognises feedlots accredited under the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) that have produced cattle eligible for Australian Grainfed Beef Standards.
Mr Joyce said being part of the MSA system ensured cattle going through the feedlot could be sold into MSA-accredited processing facilities, including those of their preferred buyers, Austral Meat Adelaide and Woolworths supermarkets.
He said the feedlot was an integral part of the family’s 1600 hectare mixed cropping and grazing operation and turned off between 300 and 500 head of cattle annually.
“We produce broadacre winter crops and buy in cattle to graze on native saltbush, clovers and grasses, before moving them on to crop stubbles after harvest and then into the feedlot just after Christmas,” Mr Joyce said.
“The feedlot consumes some of our barley and wheat gradings, as well as other grains that we buy locally, some legumes and hay.
“The whole system is highly integrated and works well, reducing business risks and helping to optimise whole-farm profitability through diversity.”
Cattle typically spend 70 to 100 days in the Englefield Grange feedlot, from late December to mid-April, and are then sold at weights of about 450kg for Woolworths and about 420kg for Austral Meat Adelaide.
By managing the nutrition of the cattle, the feedlot is able to ensure cattle consistently meet the MSA requirements. These include ensuring carcases have adequate fat coverage, a minimum of 3mm and the meat pH is below 5.71.