AUSTRALIA can take ownership of Wagyu beef production globally based on its adventageous production systems and the ongoing growth in premium market worldwide.
Speaking at the Rural Press Club in Brisbane, NH Foods Australia marketing manager Andrew McDonald (pictured) said the Wagyu industry still had significant scope for expansion.
The high-value Japanese breed and its large crossbred Angus herd is now the fourth biggest in Australia. The highly marbled beef has attracted significant investment, particularly from major pastoral companies.
Longer term it’s a niche that Australia can do very well.
“It’s part of that area that Australia can take ownership of globally for sure,” Mr McDonald said.
“It’s an area we can fundamentally beat South America every day. The US does not have a substantial focus on a Wagyu product. “The Japanese product is prohibitively expensive even if it does come into Australia, which their talking about. You’re talking kilos not tonnes that would come in per month.”
“There might be an initial phase depending on the timing of additional Wagyu supplies as F1 cross comes through as to whether we find homes for it all, but I think longer term it’s a niche that Australia can do very well.”
To illustrate the point, NH Foods provided a Wagyu marble score 6+ eye fillet processed at Oakey Beef Exports for each of the 165 guests at the Rural Press Club dining at Tattersall’s Club in Brisbane.
Japanese-owned NH Foods operates meatworks at Oakey, Mackay and Wingham, the 70,000 head Whyalla feedlot at Texas, and a specialist Wagyu breeding herd on King Island.
The focus of the Wagyu industry is now on the WagyuEdge Conference in Mackay on May 2-4. That event runs into Beef Australia 2018 in Rockhampton, which is on May 6-12.