AuctionsPlus is where the real value of Wagyu is being demonstrated as the prices for these elite cattle are consistently 50 per cent to 70pc higher than every other breed.
Black Angus females have traditionally been the breed of choice for getting the F1 (first cross) but now, Holstein cows are proving to be just as favourable and giving dairy farmers a very viable alternative income stream to milk.
Chief executive officer of Wagyu Australia Graham Truscott explained there has been between 25pc and 30pc annual growth since 2012.
“This rate of growth is forecast to continue unabated until 2020 and demand will not saturate the supply for many years,” Mr Truscott said. “In 2016, Gina Rinehart made a major investment in the Wagyu breed purchasing 900 cows from David Blackmore who established the breed in Australia in 1988. This now makes her the third largest purebred Wagyu owner in Australia and, the value of this meat in the export market was one of the motivations for her strong investment”.
He said 90pc of Wagyu meat produced in Australia is exported for prices much higher than Australians are willing to pay. The preference Australians have for eating Wagyu is as a grilled steak whereas in Asia, the hotpot style of cooking Wagyu is widespread.
High marbling scores are associated with long-term grain feeding however, grass-feeding produces Omega-3 rich meats with Gundooee Organic Wagyu at Dunedoo and Yalandra Pastoral Company two of Australia’s best-known grass producers.
Scott Giltrap and his team at Yalandra properties at Table Top, Mitta Mitta and Jindera, has built his purebred herd to 900 cows joining them to 40 bulls for spring calving. Manager, Callum McBain explained all their cattle are on grass from birth with emphasis on steady and slow weight gain and a marbling around score 6 to 7 which suits the Australian market.
“We prefer to grow our cattle slowly and so the genetics, their grass diet and age of 30-months when slaughtered, create exquisite flavour and tenderness,” Mr McBain said. “The young cattle are finished on irrigated pastures in the Mitta Mitta valley.”
A vertical integration of Yalandra Pastoral Company enterprise is a retail butcher shop in Albury which will be a feature of the Wagyu Association annual conference in May. The post-conference tour includes a full day visiting the Yalandra properties so their full story can be experienced.