The meat industry has installed a system of meat grading to ensure a good quality eating experience for consumers.

But implementing the MSA grading system in Tasmania has meant that one of the state's major processing companies has been in and out of the saleyard cattle market for the last month.

If they were to be removed altogether competition would be damaged and the prices on offer to cattle farmers through the saleyards would take a hit.

MSA or Meat Standards Australia, is a scientific meat grading system that has been adopted Australia wide as a measure of quality.

Beef cattle producers have to comply with strict rules and regulations around the rearing, transport and slaughter of cattle - and then meat is tested for quality.

If you want your beef cattle to make the grade, and the $100 extra per head that goes with it, herds cannot be mixed.

Not in the paddock, not at the saleyard and not in transit.

But that is difficult when you're operating within a small market with small producers. The average offering per seller in Tasmania is 1.7 cattle according to Roberts Livestock Manager Warren Johnston.

Moving and yarding those animals separately during and after sales becomes a nightmare with such small numbers.

But the impact of mixing cattle on taste and tenderness is measurable according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Manager of eating quality R & D with the MLA Alex Ball says there is strong evidence that mixing herds has an impact.

"When you mix cattle, you get a lot of interaction between cattle, and some of those interactions can result in an impact on eating quality," he said.

"Some of those are dark cutting and PH, and we can quite easily look at those from a grading point of view.

"But what we saw in at least two out of seven trials was the fact that over and above what we could explain with PH and dark cutting, was that there was an impact of mixing of animals on elements such as tenderness," he said.

Through a series of trials, taste tests and research over the last 20 years, Mr Ball says Tasmanian producers need to understand that this has to be taken seriously.

So how can the problem be managed?

Roberts State Livestock Manager Warren Johnston says the problem is not as simple as segregation of cattle at the saleyards.

"It's over the segregation of those animals post sale," he said.

"So the rules say that cattle have to remain in their vendor groups and then be trucked and killed in those groups post the sale.

"Where as given our numbers in Tasmania, and at a lot of saleyards in Australia, we're dealing with smaller numbers and its very, very hard when they're buying ones and twos off people to then transport those cattle either on their own or by having to put them together," he said.

The problem created by small numbers of cattle can be compounded further according to Mr Johnston.

"To remain within the MSA guidelines is very difficult given that someone might send 10 cattle in, but there might be two steers, seven heifers and a couple of cows," he said.

"Again its hard for growers to keep those cattle in their groups and truck them accordingly."

If one or other of Tasmania's two processors were to exit the weekly cattle sales, it would have a big impact on the cattle market according to Mr Johnston.

"The impact obviously would be a reduced market," he said.

All stakeholders are currently engaged in negotiations around how to keep the saleyards functioning and keep MSA cattle in the yards.

Cattle Council of Australia CEO Jed Matz says he understands the issues faced by smaller producers in selling through a sale yard and still making the MSA grade.

But ultimately, he says, its about maintaining the integrity of the product and putting the consumer first.

"I think what people have to keep in mind with eating quality is that the most important person is the consumer," he said.

"Making sure the consumer gets a perfect eating quality every time, a guaranteed eating quality every time is number one, number two and number three on our list of priorities.

"If we make decisions based on commercial outcomes it could have an adverse outcome on eating quality, and that's going to be a longer term problem for the entire industry," he said.