FOR progressive Northern NSW operation Rangers Valley, the move to a more global and domestic outlook was the catalyst to develop a suite of brands.
Rangers Valley has been in the beef brand game for more than 20 years and Japan was once its only market.
Seven years ago, 75 per cent of its product was still sold into Japan, the majority pure black Angus under the Naruo label and a small amount of Wagyu.
Today, it has four Angus brands, sells into 25 countries and has doubled its feedlot capacity.
Black Onyx, with a marble score of three, guaranteed Black Angus parentage and on feed for a minimum 270 days, and Black Market, with a marble score of five, has provided the company the opportunity to be more specific in its targeting, according to managing director Don Mackay.
“We are the only company producing longfed pure black Angus cattle and that gives us the opportunity for higher returns,” he said.
“It’s a new category for high-end restaurants and retail, a product similar in marble score to that which is typical of Wagyu.”
Black Market and Black Onyx collected a gold and silver medal at the World Steak Challenge in London in October.
With about 30,000 head of Angus produced per annum, 2500 go into Black Market, about 7500 to Naruo and Highland (mostly loin cuts), sold into Japan only, and 20,000 to Black Onyx.
Black Onyx cattle have an average carcase weight of 460 kilograms and Mr Mackay said Rangers Valley “can’t get enough” to meet the strong demand.
However, Rangers Valley is strategic in how its Angus cattle are selected.
DNA samples of every animal are taken so the company can provide information to seedstock producers on what genetic lines provide the marbling and growth it needs and to prove traceability.
Angus suppliers come from the Queensland border through to King Island.
Seven years ago, the Glen Innes feedlot was only half full.
It is now licensed to 50,000 and has environmental approval to 40,000.
Continued growth is on the agenda.