BEEF producers could one day be paid for the quality of carcass they send to abattoirs.
While the plan is still on the drawing board, Teys Australia is in the early stages of developing a system that pays on how carcasses perform.
Teys Australia feedlot general manager Grant Garvey said the company was keen to be able to pay for what they received.
He quoted an example of beef cattle which were the same weight, had the same fat depth, but had yields which varied up to 4 per cent.
"We want to be able to pay for cattle in a more accurate way," Mr Garvey said.
"We see a chance, through value-based models, to more closely align performance to reward."
But much was hingeing on the ability to accurately measure individual carcasses.
"The information that comes out also needs to be relevant to both parties," Mr Garvey said. "We would like to move towards performance-based trading systems and for there to be a clearer line of sight between performance and reward."
Recently, Teys Australia was involved in a feeder trial where 70 teams of cattle were fed and then slaughtered.
The huge variation in carcasses meant there was a $224 difference between the returns from the top team to the bottom team.
"There are really good cattle in every breed, but when you go into a mob of even 40, you will see a top and a tail in them," he said.
"It's about trying to concentrate on getting a more even line.
"We are a way off in terms of paying on performance, but it is certainly on the radar."
Teys Australia is now Australia's second-biggest meat processor, with its major plants in Naracoorte, South Australia, and Wagga Wagga, in NSW.
Mr Garvey said the company sourced 80-90 per cent of all its cattle direct, choosing to opt out of the saleyard system.
This is both for their feedlot operations at Temora and Condamine, which have a combined capacity of almost 50,000 cattle, as well as for their abattoirs.
"For feeder steers, it's about not having the additional stress from being in the saleyards," he said.
"And for our processing cattle, especially those which are going through as Meat Standards Australia, we can make the saleyards work but in practical terms it doesn't work," Mr Garvey said.
About 50 per cent of beef processed by Teys Australia in the country goes to Australian and New Zealand customers, dominated by retail sales and food service markets.
The balance of their beef goes to 53 different export destinations, led by North America, Japan, Korea, China/Hong Kong, the EU and Taiwan/South-East Asia.