the australian by zhouwenjuan


									                             th e australian

     issue 43                wagyu
    The Australian Wagyu Update is produced by the Australian Wagyu Association Ltd. on behalf of the membership
                                                                                                                                                      AuG 2009

                                                                                                                IN THIS ISSUE
                                                                                                                   n    Top Chef celebrates Wagyu
                                                                                                                   n    Organic Wagyu finds a niche
                                                                                                                   n    National AWA conference information
                                                                                                                   n    Bedrock's strong consumer response
                                                                                                                   n    Wine-fed beef makes its mark
                                                                                                                   n    Calf harvest in full swing

                                                                                                                DATES for THE DIARY
                                                                                                                   n    Early bird deadline Sept 4th 2009
                                                                                                                        Wagyu Conference
                                                                                                                   n    AWA Conference Sept 25-27th 2009
                                                                                                                   n    American Wagyu Oct 29-31st 2009
                                                                                                                        Annual Meeting
                                                                                                                   n    Wagyu Update Nov 1st 2009
                                                                                                                        Advertising deadline

     Genetics focus for ‘09 conference
     WAGYu cattle breeders                        Set down for Friday to Sunday       Greet cocktail party, sponsored     first high ranking Japanese
                                                  September 25-27, it is again        by Elders International, where      academic involved in the
     from all Australian states
                                                  expected to attract a wide          delegates can renew old             cattle industry to speak at
     will converge on the                         cross-section of industry           acquaintances and make              an Australian Wagyu
     nsW central coast city                       stakeholders from breeders to       new ones. The Annual General        conference, and his address
     of coffs Harbour for the                     feedlot operators, wholesalers,     Meeting of the Australian           will be keenly anticipated.
                                                  exporters and others involved       Wagyu Association will take         Prof Kunieda’s presentation
     2009 Australian Wagyu
                                                  in the Wagyu supply chain.          place first-up on Saturday          will cover the topic
     Association conference,                      Venue for all the 2009              morning, prior to the start of      “Understanding recessive
     which this year carries a                    conference and social activity      the formal conference sessions.     disorders and genetic
     special focus on genetics.                   is the beautiful Aanuka Beach       As the name suggests, this          conditions in Wagyu cattle.”
                                                  Resort, positioned on absolute      year’s conference theme,            His focus will be to look at the
                                                  beachfront just north of Coffs,     ‘Building Links with Genetics’      main genetic disorders present
                                                  with magnificent ocean views        will adopt a strong technical       in Wagyu. Other key conference
                                                  and surrounded by open              focus, with genetic improvement     topics related to genetics
                                                  parklands. The facility offers      being the central topic.            this year include:
                                                  stylish accommodation ranging          The keynote speaker will         n The release of new
                                                  from hotel rooms and beach          be Japanese animal scientist,            GROUP BREEDPLAN

                             above  Coffs
                                                  bures to villas and apartments,     Professor Tetsuo Kunieda                 EBV results, including
                                                  and an array of dining choices.
                 1989 2009

                             Harbour’s idyllic                                        from Okayama University. His             information on the new
            th               Aanuka Beach            First official function on the   primary area of interest is in           economic Dollar Indexes
                             Resort will play
                             host this this       Friday evening as guests arrive     recessive disorders in Wagyu             seen for the first time
OF AUSTRALIAN WAGYU          year’s conference.   will be the popular Meet and        cattle. Prof Kunieda is the             Continued page 7
2   australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                                                                              wagyu news

                         top chef celebrAtes
                         orGAnic WAGYu
                         top sydney chef Justin north is providing strong support for the
                         development of a certified organic grassfed Wagyu niche in the Australian
                         food service industry.

                         The 2009 Sydney Morning Herald Chef of the               The downside for users of dry-aging was
                         Year, Justin operates the highly successful           that up to 30 percent of the original weight
                         award-winning Becasse and Etch restaurants in         could be lost through the process, and there
                         Sydney’s inner city area. He is an enthusiastic       was a delay of six weeks before getting a ‘return
                         advocate for ethical, sustainable food products,      on the investment.’ Regardless of these costs,
                         and features Certified Organic Wagyu F2 beef          however, Justin insists that the process delivers
                         from Rob Lennon’s Gundooee Wagyu herd near            an extremely high quality eating experience,
                         Dunedoo in NSW on his menus, along with a             which more than justifies the effort. In his
                         range of other Certified Organic produce. Justin      flagship restaurant, Becasse, Justin puts the
                         was in Brisbane in early June for Greenfest, a        spotlight squarely on his ingredient suppliers,
                         major cultural and food festival celebrating          like Rob and Nita Lennon at Gundooee.
                         World Environment Day, where he gave a series           “It puts into perspective the larger picture
                         of cooking demonstrations using Gundooee beef         about the role that the producer plays, and what
                         and other organic ingredients. One demonstration      they have to do to get a high quality product to
                         on the festival stage included taking a full bone-    us, under organic conventions,” he said. Justin
                         in rib and boning out the rib-cap and scotch fillet   and his team prepared 6000 lightly-seasoned
                         to prepare in two different ways.                     Gundooee Wagyu patties to feed to the hungry
                            “We dry-age our Wagyu beef for up to six           hoardes during Brisbane’s Greenfest festival.
                         weeks before use in the restaurants. In the           The burgers, which sold like hot-cakes at $12
below Top  Sydney chef   process, some of the moisture evaporates,             each, were a tasty introduction for consumers
Justin North pauses      producing an even more concentrated flavour.          to the delights of non-grainfed Wagyu.
while preparing some     The enzymes also help break down the beef
of the 6000 Wagyu                                                                 “I thought people attending would be
burgers sold during      fibres and connective tissue, further improving       interested to see a different product,” Justin
Brisbane’s Greenfest.    the texture,” he said.                                said during the event. “Organic Wagyu is quite
                                                                               unique, and represents a new market segment
                                                                               for beef generally in Australia.”
                                                                                  He first offered the Wagyu pattie burgers
                                                                               at the recent Taste of Sydney food festival,
                                                                               where they were an equally big hit among
                                                                               patrons, accounting for another 6000 serves.
                                                                               While the great majority of Wagyu in Australia
                                                                               was raised on extended grainfeeding programs
                                                                               producing a rich, highly-marbled, powerful
                                                                               product, Justin believes there is a strong niche
                                                                               opportunity for a lighter, leaner, healthy Wagyu
                                                                               option through organics and grassfeeding.
                                                                                 “This Gundooee beef, for example, is raised
                                                                               on native perennial grasses, is free of HGP,
                                                                               and is tender and rich in flavour,” he said.
                                                                                 “The difference with grassfed beef is that the
                                                                               texture can tend to be a little chewier, which
                                                                               the public often perceives as poorer quality beef.
                                                                               While this Gundooee product is from grassfed
                                                                               animals, it’s Wagyu, so it remains very tender.” n                                                                                                                  3
from the editor

future                                        will be very difficult and costly to correct
                                              the mistakes later. If access to the original
                                                                                                these animals genetic gain cannot be
                                                                                                achieved, the market place cannot buy with

directions                                    Japanese genetics is soon to be lost
                                              where are the replacement bulls? Almost
                                                                                                confidence and the industry will stagnate.
                                                                                                   Because Wagyu is a stabilised
                                              certainly they already exist. We have been        composite breed there is more potential
                                              very fortunate that those who selected the        for genetic gain through a progeny-testing
Seikidoi is dead. So too is Shikikan.
                                              genetics to import chose well. It stands          program than there is for more traditional
So too is Sanjiro, and Haruki II and
                                              to reason, therefore, that, if bred skilfully,    British and European breeds. Thus there
Terutani 40/1 and J001, J002, J003
                                              their offspring should potentially be as          will be a better return on investment.
and many more familiar names that we
                                              good if not better. These animals have               The impending loss of further Japanese
have come to recognise as the genetic
                                              not, however, necessarily been identified         genetics represents an opportune time for
base on which the Wagyu herd in Australia
                                              and promoted. Some have not even been             our Society to decide whether or not we
has been created.
                                              identified by their owners. In part this is       wish to develop an industry based progeny
   The semen from some North American
                                              because we do not yet have a coordinated
bulls can no longer be imported for health                                                      testing program and if so in what format
                                              system for evaluating and documenting
and quarantine reasons. The semen from                                                          would we be best served.
                                              genetic potential.
others is either no longer available or now                                                        To be successful a progeny-testing
                                                 The defining characteristic of Wagyu is
in short supply. These bulls represent all                                                      program needs to be affordable, credible,
                                              meat quality. There is as yet no single tool
the male genetic material imported from                                                         reliable, relevant and reproducible. It needs
                                              to measure and predict meat quality. There
Japan in the 1990’s and they will soon all                                                      a simple structure, should be able to be
                                              are ranges of scientific techniques, which
be gone. Importation of further genetic                                                         implemented on farm and have standard
material from Japan cannot be anticipated     together create a picture. DNA parent             documentation. Ideally it should be able to
in the foreseeable future. What we have is    verification, EBV’s, and MSA grading              be linked, via reference sires, to Japanese
what we have got.                             are current reasonably well-developed             progeny testing systems in order to have
                                              programs. SNP trait loci analysis is in its       significance for the Asian marketplace.
   An era is almost over and stage one of
the history of the Wagyu breed in Australia   developmental stage, has great potential
                                                                                                   If the development of a progeny testing
will soon be complete. From now on the        but will not be of general application for
                                                                                                protocol were to take place widespread
development of the Wagyu herd will be         perhaps a decade.
                                                                                                consultation would be necessary. The
dependent on the genetics that we breed          Progeny testing is perhaps the most            final format would best be reviewed by a
for ourselves. To date our herd has been      relevant assessment for predicting meat           cattle geneticist to add scientific credibility.
heavily influenced by Japanese breeding       quality currently available to us. The
                                                                                                   If progeny testing works for predicting
philosophy. From now on we will, of           technique is considered scientifically
                                                                                                sire performance why not apply the
necessity, be using our own genetics. The     valid. A coordinated progeny-testing
                                                                                                process to the assessment of females?
choice is now ours. We can either choose      program specific for the Wagyu breed
                                                                                                Fifty percent of an animal’s genetic
to continue to develop in accordance          could be developed and implemented
                                                                                                compliment is derived from the dam.
with Japanese breeding principles or we       within a relatively short time frame.
                                                                                                This would allow in farm comparison of
can choose to develop our own animal to          Wagyu is a stabilised composite                dam lines and the identification of superior
best fit our own environment and our own      breed. The degree of stability may                dams within those lines. Optimal mating
markets. This is a choice that we must        not yet be complete. This give us the             combinations can then be planned.
get right. The bulls that we breed in the     advantages of both the hybrid vigour
                                                                                                   The production of superior dams and
next decade will determine the direction      associated with cross breeding and the
                                                                                                sires, supported by vigorous assessment
our breed takes for many years to come.       potential for genetic gain associated with
                                                                                                and documentation, and results published
This is to state the obvious. Yet it has      line breeding. This also explains in part
                                                                                                in the public arena is the foundation on
great significance as we are at a point of    why some animals perform far better
                                                                                                which all segments of the Wagyu industry
potential divergence with the Japanese        than their pedigrees would predict and
                                                                                                can proceed and develop.
Wagyu industry. If we do not take great       others do not meet expectations. If we
care with our breeding programs now it        do not utilise a method of differentiating        Angus McClure

    CONTRIbuTORs                              wagyu bREEdplaN ExECuTIvE                        dIsClaIMER
                                              OffICER michael Beattie                          the views expressed in the wagyu update are not
    EdITOR angus mcClure
                                              email            necessarily those of the australian wagyu update
                                              phone 02 6773 3355 | fax 02 6772 5376            or the publisher. reproduction in whole or part is
    phone 0400 435 631
                                              australian wagyu association,                    strictly forbidden without the written permission
    wRITERs enoch Bergman, rick hunter,       aBri, university of new england,                 of the publisher. acceptance of an advertisement
    michael Beattie, nicole szollos           armidale nsw 2351 australia
                                                                                               does not imply endorsement of any product or
    aRT dIRECTION heather frazier             MagaZINE ENQuIRIEs                               service by the magazine of the association, nor
    email          phone 02 6773 3138                               support any claims by the advertisers. published
    phone 0432 949 764                        email                        by squish Creative. printed by litho art.

4                                                                                    australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                                                                         Chairman’s report

Better                                     or impossible during much of 2008.
                                               On the production side, feed grain prices
                                                                                           Wagyu, Mayura Station and Sher Wagyu
                                                                                           all received major commendations, in a

times AHeAd                                have continued to decline this year, on
                                           the back of a solid summer crop harvest
                                                                                           field including many of Australia’s premium
                                                                                           food producers and suppliers.

for industrY                               and excellent prospects in many areas for
                                           a large winter harvest ahead. Barley ex
                                                                                              Similarly, Wagyu-infused entries shone
                                                                                           in the Royal Brisbane Show’s National
                                           Darling Downs was trading in mid July at        Branded Beef taste test held in July.
                                           $225/t – a far cry from prices of $350/t           An F1 sample representing the
Local and international signals suggest
                                           or more seen earlier last year.                 Australian Agricultural Company’s Darling
that Wagyu, and indeed the broader
                                               It’s interesting to note, also, that some   Downs Wagyu brand was judged overall
grainfed cattle industry, are now edging
                                           Wagyu cattle feeders are now fine-tuning        champion, while an F2 sample from
past the bottom of the recent industry
                                           their feeding regimes to optimise the           Cabassi & Rea was runner-up, and winner
cycle and can look forward to some
                                           efficiency of operations. In some cases         of the open class.
more encouraging times ahead.
                                           this means backgrounding cattle longer,            I look forward to seeing as many
  At time of writing this column, the      placing them on feed a little older and
Australian dollar was worth about US79c,                                                   members as possible at this year’s annual
                                           heavier, and reducing the days on feed a        conference and annual general meeting
down from its lofty highs this time last   little. The challenge many are facing is in
year when it was close to parity with                                                      in Coffs Harbour. The excellent speaker
                                           how far this process can be taken without
                                                                                           program focussing on genetic issues
the Greenback. That 20pc decline in        compromising marbling performance in
                                                                                           should attract a strong audience again this
comparative value is making our Wagyu      any significant way. There has been no
                                                                                           year, and there will be important discussion
exports more attractive and better value   shortage of acknowledgement for quality
                                                                                           on a host of important industry issues,
on the international stage than they       Wagyu beef products during recent
                                                                                           such as Wagyu certification. The social
were a year ago.                           important national food industry events.
                                                                                           aspects, as always, promise to be another
   Many customer countries are now also        At the recent 2009 Vogue
                                                                                           highlight for members……See you there!
ridding themselves of the credit access    Entertainment and Travel magazine
issues which made purchasing difficult     awards, leading producers Blackmore             Rick Hunter                                                                                                                     5
in the paddoCk

orGAnic WAGYu
finds a niche
At face value, the ideals of Wagyu beef and grassfed
certified organic beef production might appear to be in
direct conflict, however one nsW family enterprise is
proving that the two can comfortably co-exist.

Rob and Nita Lennon from Gundooee,               Organic Certification in 2005.                 of four butchers who were interested
near Dunedoo are believed to be the                 The Lennons felt that by incorporating      in sampling Certified Organic Wagyu.
world’s only Certified Organic Wagyu             both ‘Organic’ and ‘Wagyu’ into their            “It wasn’t hung or aged or cut terribly
beef producers. After spending a decade          business model, this would provide             well, but it was enough to establish
managing farming enterprises for others,         choices over how the product was               some long-lasting business relationships,”
the couple bought their own property near        marketed, using either point of difference     Rob said.
Dunedoo 11 years ago. With finances low,         in the marketplace.                              One of those first contacts was
they originally agisted their country before       “That sounded great in theory, but in        Tony Jenkins, a progressive Balmain
gradually working their way into their own       reality, it meant we could not pursue either   butcher who remains one of the Lennons’
cattle breeding program.                         stream effectively in isolation, regardless    core customers to this day.
  It was through an early association with       of which way we sold the cattle. We either        Rob said one of the secrets in making
their next-door neighbours, Rick Hunter,         went through all the limitations associated    a process like this work was in trying to
the current AWA president, and his wife          with Organic production, and then sold         find the right end-customer to do business
Dawne that the Lennons first began to            the cattle to a conventional feedlot; or we    with, and then working hard on building a
explore the possibilities in Wagyu.              copped the Wagyu’s slower growth and           close working relationship.
  “We used to go over for barbecues,             other limitations and sold them as non-           Today Gundooee services a range of
and while Rick did not make a big deal           breed specific Organic beef.”                  boutique high-end independent butchers in
out of it, I thought, wow, this beef is really                                                  Sydney and Canberra and some key food
nice,” Rob said.                                                                                service sector outlets, who understand
  At that time, the Japanese live feeder of tHe secrets in                      and support Gundooee’s unique approach.
steer market was very strong, and after                                                         While most of the business is through
doing some reading about the health
                                                 mAkinG A process like tHis
                                                                                                direct trading with retailers, two providores
benefits associated with Wagyu, the              Work WAs in trYinG to find                     are also used to extend the reach. One of
couple bought their first bull from              tHe riGHt end-customer                         these is also developing a promising direct
the Hunters in 2001.                             to do business WitH.                           home-delivery retail business.
   The first conference Rob attended                                                              One of the more recently recruited
at the Gold Coast in 2004 proved a ‘real                                                        customers is high profile Sydney chef,
eye opener’.                                        Eventually in 2005, under guidance          Justin North, whom Rob met at the 2007
   “We came away thinking that while             from Helen Favour from the Organic             AWA conference in Brisbane. Justin and
Wagyu live export was a great stepping           Traders and Consumers Network (a body          staff visited Gundooee in 2008, and the
stone, we were also interested in Organic        helping Organic producers market their         business today is the sole beef supplier to
principles. Nita had just finished a Masters     products) the Lennons decided to try to        Justin’s three award-winning restaurants.
in Natural Resources, which led us in that       retain ownership .of their unique product        All of the customer-direct work is in
direction,” he said.                             further down the supply chain.                 fullsets, not specific cuts, either in whole
   The business spent two years in                 They headed for Sydney armed with            or half-bodies, sold on a cold carcase
transition before receiving full BFA             some sample T-bones, and the addresses         weight basis. n

6                                                                                      australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                           move from f1 to f2 empHAsis
                                                        The first Wagyu to arrive on Gundooee in 2001 was a fullblood
                                                        Takeda-bloodline son of Itomichi, bred at Sweetwater, NSW.
                                                        Initially the plan was to use him to       and 4, and we are hitting that with
                                                        produce F1 feeder cattle out of            considerable regularity,” Rob said.
                                                        Angus breeders for sale into the             The business aims at turning
                                                        live export market to Japan, but by        off animals producing a cold
                                                        the time the Lennons move towards          carcase weight of 250-260kg at 24-
                                                        direct supply to domestic end-users        plus months of age. Like all Wagyu
                                                        had emerged, the strategy changed          breeders, one of the challenges faced
                                                        a little. Going into a bad drought, they   by Gundooee is how to convert more
                                                        decided to use the circumstances as        of those score 2 cattle into score
                                                        an opportunity to make a change.           5s or 6s. The Lennons are working
                                                           “We elected to retain our F1            closely with NSW Department of
                                                        weaner females for use as breeders.        Ag extension officer, Brett Littler, to
above  Gundooee’s Rob Lennon with a line of F1          They were not worth much at the            refine the management process to
breeders on the property last spring. Conditions have
deteriorated considerably since this photo was taken.   time due to the drought, and we felt       help deliver this. Because of seasons
                                                        the bigger-framed Angus would have         and other circumstances, 2008 was
  from page 1 - Genetics focus for ‘09 conference       higher maintenance requirements            the first year for some time that the
  n     The effects of inbreeding, using                during the dry,” Rob said. “While          business has been able to mother-
        Breedplan and inbreeding coefficients to        we would lose the income from the          up cows and calves, which will allow
        better understand the issues related to         heifer calves for that year, we had the    for some subsequent cow family
        inbreeding. Speaker in these segments           opportunity to change our emphasis         marbling assessment based on
        will come from either ABRI or AGBU              from breeding F1s to F2s.”                 progeny performance. When all
  n     The benefits of ultrasound scanning                Today the business maintains about      future intakes of replacement F1
        from a genetic selection perspective,
                                                        120 F1 breeders, producing a similar       heifers are purchased, all subsequent
        presented by Wayne Upton from AGBU
                                                        number of calves each year. Both           calves will be mothered-up, allowing
  n     DNA/genomic technologies update                 heifer and steer progeny are sold,         the bottom 10-20pc to be culled on
        presented by US-based beef extension            with replacement F1 breeders bought        marbling performance.
        specialist, Dr Alison Van Eenennaam,            as required.                                  “But having said all that, we won’t
        from University of California, Davis
                                                           “Ultimately we felt that if we          be selecting on marbling alone,
  n     An MLA senior representative will               wanted to call our beef a ‘Wagyu           partly because the market does not
        provide a snapshot on the global market         product’, the genetics needed to be        yet demand outright marbling from
        situation for high quality beef.                predominantly Wagyu, rather than           grassfed, and partly because we
    The final session will involve all guest            50 percent. The other attraction in        don’t want to compromise too much
  speakers in an interactive question and               moving to F2 was that the additional       on other functional traits like growth
  answer session with the audience. The                 Wagyu content could help us maintain       rate, muscling and ultimate carcase
  major social highlight of the weekend will            as much residual Wagyu meat                weight,” Rob said.
  be the industry dinner on Saturday evening,           quality and marbling performance              Because under its Organic
  featuring beef supplied by AA Co and a                as possible without the growth rate        principles, Artificial Insemination is
  charity auction. On Sunday morning, a                 limitations of Fullblood Wagyu, and        not allowed to be used, the Gundooee
  condensed version of the Southern Beef                the smaller framed cattle are easier       business continues to rely solely on
  Technology Service’s ‘Know Your Genes’                to maintain during times of drought.”      natural mating.
  program will be delivered. A barbecue lunch              Statistics suggest that has been           “A few years ago we had one bull
  will then conclude the conference for 2009.           a successful decision. In one recent       joined to 117 cows and heifers, over
    The years major sponsor is Ancare again,            kill at Cowra abattoir, a line of eight    a nine week period. The libido of
  with other major support from Stanbroke               Gundooee F2 carcases which had             these cattle is incredible. He got
  Beef, Commonwealth Bank and AA Co.                    come through a ‘pretty rough autumn’       116 pregnant,” Rob said.
    Conference accommodation, from 121 per              produced a pair of marbling score             Current bulls in use are sons of
  night can be booked direct with BreakFree             6s, two score 2s, and the remainder        TF Itoshigenami (US) and Bald Ridge
  Aanuka Beach Resort. Registration details             intermediate between those extremes.       Hayafuku, both sourced from Rick
  are on the AWA website. Book early avoid                 “By and large, our target, off native   Hunter’s Bald Ridge herd.
  disappointment. n                    pasture grass, is marbling scores 3        Continued page 9                                                                                                                             7
8   australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                                                                                      in the paddoCk

                                    Asked where the price point sat for                     well understood by the customer, however, it
                                    Gundooee Wagyu, given that its                          must be well understood and appreciated at
                                    production cost was significantly                       the wholesale, retail and restaurant level.”
                                    lower than longfed Wagyu (or longfed                      The Lennons supply a product data sheet
                                    Angus, for that matter) Rob gave a                      with every carcase, and try to work with
                                    careful, and measured response.                         butchers and restaurant staff, so they can
                                    ‘I try to stay away from comparisons with               better understand the product they are
                                    grainfed. They are two distinctly different             receiving in terms of feeding/breeding.
                                    products,” he said.                                       “That way, when they are asked, they can
                                       “It’s a little like wine: there’s a diverse          give a better-informed response,” Rob said.
                                    palate out there – many people still like grainfed,       Each carcase is DNA-traceable back
                                    while others are seeking a product with other           to the farm through the AWA commercial
                                    qualities. There are no wrong answers, but              registration system.
premiums                            suffice to say that the returns we get make it            The unique aspects to the Lennons’ beef
possible for                        worth our while to pursue the strategy we have.         operation have not gone unnoticed around the
                                    The Wagyu name still carries some resonance
Grassfed WaGyu                      in terms of a premium, within a grassfed/
                                                                                            food world. A film crew from a major US cable
                                                                                            food channel visited the property late last year,
                                    Organic context,” he said.                              and following the broadcast a month or two
                                       “We’d like to make our product available to          ago in America, the Gundooee website
                                    all Australians, for ‘special occasion’ type dining.”   received 1200 hits within in a short time,
                                      “But there is still a huge awareness gap in           and numerous email requests for product.
                                    terms of both the consumer and the industry               Even outside this recent TV exposure,
above  Gundooee’s line of
F1 breeders on the property         side about products like this, apart from a few         the website
last spring.                        dedicated players. Before the product can be            regularly receives 200 to 300 hits per month. n

from page 7 - Move from F1 to F2    based reasons.”                      countless reasons,” Rob said.        grass, kangaroo grass,
One of the burning questions          “In the early days, it may have       He warned that there were         white-top and similar species.
that Rob is not yet able to         been that some members felt          some inherent challenges             The country is time-control
answer is whether there             that unless you were using long      involved in Organic production,      cell-grazed in 30 15ha
are phenotypes within the           grainfeeding finishing systems       however. In Gundooee’s case,         paddocks. Cattle entering
Japanese cattle that have a         that allowed the animals to fully    drought over the past six            the finishing phase, or weaners,
greater capacity to express         express their marbling potential,    months has forced the business       are given first access to a
marbling, off grass, than others.   that you weren’t fully committed     to agist all of its breeders         fresh paddock for five-days,
Just as some Wagyu sires are        to the Wagyu cause.”                 on a property in southern            followed by the breeders, in
better suited to F1 production        However that attitude had          Queensland. That required a          a ‘leader/follower’ system.
than others, it may be that         softened considerably in more        hunt for a similarly-accredited         Rob firmly believes that
there are sub-types whose           recent times, and there was now      Certified Organic property.          the use of non-irrigated
progeny perform relatively          greater acceptance of grassfed       As the property providing            native pastures, as opposed
better off grassfed programs.       as an emerging industry niche.       the agistment was also EU-           to irrigated exotics like
The growing number of                   “We find there are numerous      accredited, Gundooee has also        ryegrass (which carry a
Wagyu breeders interested in        reasons why customers are            had to adopt EU-accreditation,       high moisture and energy
grassfed programs would help        interested in a grassfed and/or      although there are no long-term      content), is one of the keys
identify elite bulls for grassfed   an Organic product, which still      plans to exploit this aspect.        in delivering a full-flavoured
production, Rob hopes.              retains the customary Wagyu             Currently the 2008 weaners        grassfed Wagyu product.
   “There are certainly a           tenderness and juiciness. Some       receive BFA-approved copra              Despite the fact that organic
lot more people looking at          say it is because of the distinct    meal as a supplement.                programs make no particular
grassfed Wagyu now. At the          robust grassfed flavour; others      Sale cattle also receive an          claims over animal welfare
first few Wagyu conferences I       say it is because of the negative    appropriate grain (untreated         issues, under BFA guidelines,
attended, I felt I was out on a     environmental implications in        in-crop) paddock supplement          for example, the Lennons
limb, but more recently, it has     grainfeeding; still others say       amounting to about 5pc of dry        cannot dehorn calves over six
become obvious that more            it is for the healthy attributes     matter intake per head per day.      months of age, nor can they use
people are moving in that           attached to Organics (the high       All the country on Gundooee          a range of animal treatments
direction, either through high      Omega 3 levels in Wagyu only         is native perennial pastures,        used under conventional
grain costs or other, consumer-     accentuated this). There are         principally bluegrass, wallaby       production systems. n                                                                                                                                9
Veterinary adViCe

calf harvest
under WAY                                                                                                   story by Enoch Bergman DVM
                                                                                                            Swans Veterinary Services

                                                                        until the placenta is passed.       fluids and skin of the calf is
                                                                            As a heifer or cow enters       from meconium, or calf feces,
                                                                        stage one she will usually begin    also indicating a stressed calf.
                                                                        “nesting”, separating herself       If fetal parts are noted to glide
                                                                        from the remainder of the mob       in and out of the heifer’s vulva,
                                                                        and hunting for a spot to lie       or the heifer vocalizes with
                                                                        down. She will often appear         each contraction, the cervix
                                                                        uncomfortable, shifting her         and soft tissue are likely still in
                                                                        weight, arching her back, or        the process of dilatation. Such
                                                                        wringing her tail. Stage one        a heifer has probably not been
                                                                        should not last more than eight     trying long. If that heifer does
                                                                        hours. Progression to stage         not make progress within a
                                                                        two requires the head or a leg      half hour assistance should be
                                                                        of the calf to enter the cervix.    rendered. Alternatively, if the
                                                                        If you note an animal walking       calf’s fetal parts fail to move
                                                                        the fences, mildly straining, or    with each push, the calf is
                                                                        packing their tail for over eight   probably too big for the heifer’s
                                                                        hours: put her in the crush         pelvis: put her in the crush and
                                                                        and have a look. She may be         have a look! Oversize calves
                                                                        carrying a breech calf which        can also present with crossed
                                                                        has failed to enter the cervix.     forelimbs or with the soles of
                                                                        If left alone, the calf will die,   their forelegs rotated so that
                                                                        and a few days later the heifer     the “palms” are together.
calving! the best time               much help at expelling dead        or cow will probably suffer the
                                                                                                               Most dysocias, or difficult
                                     calves. Arriving on the            same fate. Putting your arm
of year! to me, nothing              job before they get to that        inside and “having a look”
                                                                                                            calvings, present normally,
                                                                                                            meaning that the calf has
beats watching calves                stage is half the game.            won’t ever hurt a cow or calf,
                                                                                                            presented head first with
whipping and spurring                    As cows and heifers            but may save many.
                                                                                                            all of the appropriate limbs
                                     approach their calving                 Stage two begins after the
about the paddock with               date their udders fill and
                                                                                                            postured correctly, however
                                                                        “bag” has broken. The heifer
                                                                                                            the heifer’s pelvis is too small
their tails held high like           the ligaments which support        or cow should have the calf
                                                                                                            in proportion to the size of the
safety antennas on                   their vulvas relax. Heifers are    delivered within two hours
                                                                                                            calf. If the calf is in a normal
                                     especially easy to pick out as     and make visible progress
miniature four wheeled               they bag up and get springy. If    every half hour. If either of
                                                                                                            position but oversized, the first
motor bikes.                         you are experiencing a calving     these criteria is not met: put
                                                                                                            step is working out if you can
                                     wreck, weekly drafting of the      her in the crush and have           pull it without injuring the calf
   Calving season is in effect       “heavies” and keeping them         a look. Any animal with an          or the heifer.
the beef and dairy production        close at hand can help you         abnormal presentation, ie.             When the calf is too large
system’s harvest. Just like in       out tremendously.                  leg back, head back, reverse        for the heifer or cow, additional
the grain game, timing, know             The act of parturition is      presentation, etc. should           traction may be the required
how, appropriate gear, and           divided into three stages. Stage   be examined immediately.            to assist with deliver. That’s
professional assistance can all      one begins with the initiation     Calves with swollen heads and       traction, not tractors! Calf
improve your bottom line.            of labour and ends when the        tongues or with green or yellow     pullers work well, but care
   When it comes to assisting        water breaks. Stage two lasts      staining should be examined         should be taken. The force
animals during calving season,       from the breaking of the water     immediately. Swelling indicates     of two strong men is all that
the key is appropriately timed       till the calf hits the ground.     prolonged time spent in the         should be needed to deliver
intervention. Tired heifers aren’t   Stage three is from delivery       birth canal, staining of fetal      a calf. Continued page 20

10                                                                                    australian wagyu update i august 2009   11
produCt information

                                                                                             GENESIS Pour-On
                                                                                              Genesis Pour-On contains ivermectin, a
                                                                                              macrocyclic lactone (ML) anthelmintic. The
                                                                                              key advantage of ivermectin is its ability to
                                                                                              effectively control a wide range of internal
                                                                                              and external parasites. Genesis Pour on
                                                                                              has a broad spectrum of activity against
                                                                                              gastrointestinal roundworms, lungworms,
                                                                     both sucking and biting lice, mites, cattle tick and buffalo fly. The
                                                                     unique oil-based formulation of Genesis Pour-On contains 10mg/ml
                                                                     of ivermectin, which is twice the usual concentration of ML pour-ons.
                                                                     This means Genesis Pour-On is applied at the rate of 1mL per 20kg
                                                                     of liveweight. Genesis Pour-On can be applied to cattle at several
                                                                     key treatment times throughout the year, which should generally be
                                                                     tailored to the production system and climate. Your local veterinarian
                                                                     or animal health advisor can provide you with more information
                                                                     on treatment programs suited to your production system. It is
                                                                     good practice to conduct worm egg counts both before and after
                                                                     drenching in order to identify which stock require treatment, and to
                                                                     check to see if the drench used has been effective.

                                                                     EPRICARE Pour-On
                                                                     A recent addition to the
                                                                     Ancare pour-on range is
                                                                     Epricare Pour-On. Epricare
                                                                     contains the potent ML

cAttle pour on                                                       molecule eprinomectin.
                                                                     Some of the key advantages

options covered
                                                                     of eprinomectin are its
                                                                     very high potency against
                                                                     gastrointestinal roundworms, its rapid speed of kill and resultant
                                                                     prompt reduction in pasture contamination (worm egg production),
With so many pour-on products in the                                 and its demonstrated potency against a wide range of roundworm
marketplace, it is important to remember the                         species. Productivity studies have shown that the use of Epricare
                                                                     improves liveweight gains in growing stock, as well as improved
advantages of buying a quality product. Ancare                       reproductive performance in breeders including reduced calving to
has a range of products for the control of                           conception intervals. The eprinomectin molecule, despite its high
                                                                     potency, has zero milk and meat withholding periods, allowing a
internal and external parasites of cattle. With                      high level of flexibility in its use.
the recent addition of epricare to the Ancare                                                   GENESIS ULTRA Pour-On
cattle pour-on arsenal, cattle producers can now                                                 Developed for the control of liver fluke
choose from three Ancare pour-on products to                                                     in beef cattle grazing in endemic areas.
                                                                                                 Genesis Ultra Pour-On (“Ultra”) combines
suit their management system and requirements.                                                   both abamectin, a potent ML endectocide
the quality pour-on endectocides from Ancare                                                     for the control of internal and external
                                                                                                 parasites, with triclabendazole, a potent
are available at crt stores with convenience of                                                  flukicide. The key advantage of Ultra is its
use, efficacy and value for money in mind.                           convenient pour-on method of application, which has superseded
                                                                     the use of injectable and oral flukicides in many situations. Ultra is
                                                                     effective against all stages of liver fluke (early immature, immature
Each Ancare pour-on product has been shown in studies to be
                                                                     and mature fluke), and is generally applied to susceptible stock in
effective when applied to cattle shortly before rainfall. Epricare
                                                                     late autumn / early winter and spring. The autumn treatment removes
in particular has unique “weatherproof” qualities that ensure its    existing fluke burdens from cattle when there is little potential for
efficacy when used in extremes of temperature (both heat and         reinfection due to the reduced presence of snails (the intermediate
cold) when applied before and after rain. Contact your local CRT     host of liver fluke) and metacercariae (infective larval fluke) on
                                store, the exclusive stockists of    pasture. Treatment again in spring removes any flukes that might
                                Ancare products, for more advice     have survived the winter period inside stock, thus helping to prevent
                                                                     pasture contamination as the snail intermediate host becomes active
                                on the quality Ancare cattle
                                                                     with the onset of warmer weather. In warmer areas like northern
                                pour-on range or contact the
                                                                     NSW, where infective stages may survive on pasture over winter,
                                Ancare technical helpline direct     additional treatments may be required.
                                on 1800 001 973.

12                                                                               australian wagyu update i august 2009   13
world markets

JApAnese WAGYu feels the pinch
As the global financial    High-priced domestically produced Wagyu is            fall in price has assisted sales of Japanese
                           bearing much of the brunt of the more defensive       domestic beef at retail, with point-of-sale data
crisis continues to bite
                           buying patterns. In some cases, domestic Wagyu        from Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries
deeply into Japan’s        is being displaced by imported marbled grainfed       Corporation showing a consecutive year-on-year
economy, consumers are     beef from Australia.                                  increase in purchase volumes for both Wagyu
                              In mid June, Meat & Livestock Australia            and Japanese dairy beef since February 2008.
seeking cheaper red meat
                           reported that beef carcase prices in Japan had        This is in line with overall increases in total beef
options on supermarket     been weakening across all categories, according       consumption by the Japanese, up 4pc for the
shelves, and moving        to reports from the Tokyo Meat Market. The fall       January-April period this year, compared with
                           was most evident for high quality Wagyu, with         the same period in 2008. The lift in demand
from more expensive
                           A5 (the top grade both in yield and meat quality)     has not been sufficient to cover the decline in
restaurants to hamburger   steers recording their lowest daily price since       revenue for cattle farmers, however, with many
and family style outlets   early 2002 (the period of instability immediately     facing financial challenges, according to trade
                           following the discovery of BSE in Japan). The         reports. This is despite significant declines in
when dining out.
                           price in mid-June reached as low as Y1909/kg.         their imported feed costs this year, following the
                           Values of domestic carcases plummeted in 2001         appreciation of the Japanese Yen against many
                           following the BSE discovery in Japan, but mostly      other currencies. Some Japanese supermarkets
                           recovered by 2003. Prices again started to            recently lowered retail price on domestic Wagyu
                           decline in early 2008, as the Japanese economy        by a further 3-5pc, partly to compete with lower
                           slowed and supply increased. The downward             prices being posted on imported beef because
                           trend had accelerated this year, particularly for     of the recent depreciation of other currencies
                           the higher grade categories, MLA said. The            against the Yen. n

14                                                                             australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                                                           the exeCutiVe offiCer report

                                Members, welcome to our “NEW LOOK” winter edition. This is YOUR magazine. It”s purpose
                                is to promote, educate and provide an update of all the happenings within the Wagyu community.
                                Please feel free to make suggestions that you would like to see put in print.
                                For those of us living on the tablelands winter treatment has been a little slow in coming
                                this year. While welcoming rains over the past few months have been encouraging with a
                                combination of minimal sub-zero mornings, the countryside still displays a tinge of green.
                                This appearance usually has disappeared by late May but, history tells us that our dreaded
                                winter will only be extended at the other end!

2009 AGM / CONFERENCE                          WAGYU BREED CERTIFICATION SCHEME                coming months a trial whereby we are
25-27th September (Coffs Harbour)                 Over the last six months the Board           looking at correlation between ultrasound
   Planning is well underway for activities    has been developing the framework of            scan and carcase for the purpose of
surrounding the 2009 event. By the time        the Wagyu Breed Certification Scheme            providing greater estimation for Marbling
you read this a flyer a registration form      which was overwhelmingly endorsed by            (IMF%), EMA, RIB and RUMP FAT and
would have already been received. With         the Membership in 2008. The rationale           YIELD in the EBV calculation. This trial
the AGM /Conference held again in              of this scheme is about protecting the          will require several live animal scans using
September, the early bird deadline is          integrity of the Wagyu breed in Australia       the latest CUP software from Iowa State
only a month away – September 4!!              by certifying/endorsing Wagyu content.          University prior to slaughter and, then at
A flyer has been included in this edition as   The AWA scheme is not about describing          slaughter MSA grading at the 5/6 and
a reference to this year’s exciting event.     the branding or meat marbling grades            12/13 plus hi res carcase image analysis
Details are available on the website so if     or expected eating quality as this will be      using the latest Japanese technology from
you know of anyone interested in coming        done through the adoption and auditing          Obihiro University which has a resolution
along for a great weekend of networking,       process of an MSA pathway program. For          4X higher than a VIA SCANNER. This
learning and enjoyment, please direct them     such a project to have the impact that is       trial is the first of several the AWA have
to either the website         expected then this stage of developing and      planned which will hopefully provide data
or contact us on 02 6773 3138 for further      implementing the framework is crucial that      that will lead to improvements in the
details. Remember, your membership is                                                          estimation of BREEDPLAN EBVs.
                                               we get right. Therefore it is planned that by
highly valued and I look forward to your       the 2009 AGM we will be able to provide a       HEREDITARY DISEASES
continued support of upcoming AWA              progress report with a timeline of it’s role       The AWA Board are committed to
activities and events.                         out. We believe that the adoption of such a     genetic improvement which means it is
GROUP BREEDPLAN ANALYSIS                       scheme by key players will ultimately drive     important to identify and manage both
   As many of you are aware, the AWA           a positive message out to the Industry          the strength’s and weakness’s of the
have been proactive in promoting the           which people cannot afford to ignore!           Japanese Black and Brown cattle. A
use of genetic tools to aid in selection                                                       potential weakness is the presence of
                                               WEB BASED MATING PREDICTOR
of the Wagyu breed in Australia. Over                                                          hereditary or recessive disorders which
                                               (with Inbreeding Coefficients)
the past 6 months a sizable amount of                                                          can have dire results if the joining of
                                                 The AWA Board recently gave approval
pedigree and performance data has                                                              carrier parents occurs. The AWA are
                                               for ABRI to implement a mating predictor
been recorded and I am pleased to                                                              committed to educate members about
                                               function which will compliment the existing
report that a GROUP BREEDPLAN                                                                  the impact of these disorders and how to
                                               web-based search facility. This function will
(GBP) Analysis will be conducted with                                                          manage the potential risk. AWA are in the
                                               enable members to select nominated sire/
anticipated results available before this                                                      process of testing known disorders and
                                               dam mating combinations and produce
year AGM / Conference in late September.                                                       when the testing becomes commercially
                                               “phantom progeny” with an Inbreeding
Also included will be a suite of Economic                                                      available, the membership will be informed.
                                               Coefficient. To access the Mating
Indices derived from the GBP analysis                                                          To explain further this important issue,
                                               Predictor, please go to the Association         we have invited Prof. Tetsuo Kunieda
that have been developed specifically to
                                               website and select             (Okayama University) to attend this
target to known endpoints in the Wagyu
                                               Database Search from the top menu.              year’s conference. Prof. Tetsuo Kunieda
beef chain. It is envisaged that the use
                                               Once the GBP results are published then         is a leading researcher in hereditary
of such information will put necessary
                                               mid parent EBV information on the same          diseases and genomic studies and is
pressure on individual animal selection
                                               phantom progeny will also appear on the         Chair of the Japanese Society of
and lift the overall genetic gain across
                                               proviso that both parents were analysed         Animal Breeding and Genetics and,
all traits in the breed. The results will
be discussed in further detail at the          and reported in the GBP analysis.               we are honoured by his acceptance.
Conference in September. Please                SCAN to CARCASE TRIAL                           I hope that you enjoy this edition.
contact me if you have any queries.             AWA will be conducting in the                  Michael Beattie                                                                                                                        15
market news

                                           bedrock’s stronG
                                           consumer response
                                           Access to a variety of top quality Wagyu beef has provided a valuable
                                           extension to an already impressive beef product range for a successful
                                           large-scale south east Qld wholesale/retail meat business.

                                           Kris Masterson and his family      days where a rib fillet was just   more and more customers
                                           operate Bedrock Gourmet            another rib fillet.”               now recognise.”
                                           Meat Company based at                Kris said the business              Kris said the Wagyu side of
                                           Loganholme and Yatala in the       started adding Wagyu to its        the business had grown from
                                           booming corridor between           product range three and a          nothing to between 15 and
                                           Brisbane and the Gold Coast.       half years ago, partly due to      20 percent of the turnover – a
                                           While the largest part of their    growing customer inquiry.          considerable amount of beef,
                                           business concentrates on             “Originally we could only        in the context of the business’s
                                           wholesaling meat to the upper      get it from one supplier, but      overall size.
                                           end of the restaurant and          both the product quality and          In the retail shop, there is
                                           food service industry from         the access to it was fairly        a distinct difference in price-
                                           the Yatala premises, there         inconsistent,” he said.            point between the Wagyu
                                           is also an impressive large-
                                           scale retail butchery outlet
                                           at nearby Loganholme.              unlike some AustrAliAn retAilers WHo
                                           The food service side of           HAve found tHe more extreme HiGH
                                           the business handles major
                                                                              mArblinG scores Are not necessArY for
                                           accounts including Brisbane’s
                                           massive Convention Centre          tHe AustrAliAn domestic mArket’s tAste,
                                           and Parliament House, through      bedrock is HAppY to stock 7-8 score
                                           to large hotel groups on the       WAGYu sliced product, And even HiGHer.
                                           Gold and Sunshine Coasts
                                           such as the Marriott and Hyatt
                                           chains. At the other end of the       “Today there is a much          offering – particularly the more
                                           scale, the client list includes    wider range of suppliers we        heavily marbled material – and
                                           hundreds of smaller-scale          can source from, and much of       the conventional beef ranging
                                           restaurants and bistros. In        the inconsistency issues have      from MSA yearling through to
                                           the Loganholme retail outlet,      been ironed-out. For a while we    longfed Black Angus.
                                           Bedrock offers an incredible       were seeing some irregularity         “Once customers have tried
                                           range of product, to suit a wide   in marbling score, but that has    some Wagyu, they are happy to
                                           customer demographic.              also improved a lot,” he said.     pay that premium for a product
above  Part of the large self-serve          “We stock a selection of            Customers are now flocking      that eats so well – not every
selection of Wagyu vacuum-                 more than ten rib fillets, for     after Wagyu beef through the       day, necessarily, but when the
packed primals on offer in the
Bedrock shop, including Stanbroke          example, ranging in price from     business.                          occasion demands,” Kris said.
Diamantina Wagyu and Pure Blue.            $50/kg for top end Wagyu              “The product carries not           He said much of the past
PAGE 18 Bedrock’s Kris Masterson           down to $7/kg,” Kris said.         only unbelievable tenderness,
with a tray of sliced Kobe 708
                                                                                                                 three years had been about
marbling score 7-8 Wagyu in front          “Customers today love to           but also that characteristic       trying to educate Bedrock’s
of his business’s retail outlet display.   have a choice. Gone are the        juiciness and flavour, which       Continued page 18

16                                                                                          australian wagyu update i august 2009   17
market news

                                                                       finding a place in the wholesale   sizes, within accurate weight
                                                                       and portioning side of the         and thickness tolerances –
                                                                       Bedrock business – particularly    mostly for restaurants and
                                                                       in the upper end of the trade -    hotels) tended to reduce
                                                                       which constitutes more than 90     average serve size when cutting
                                                                       percent of the overall company     Wagyu because it was so rich,
                                                                       turnover. Asked whether            Kris said that tended to apply
                                                                       Bedrock’s portion control          only with the higher marbled
                                                                       business (slicing and preparing    product – the balance was cut
                                                                       whole primals into meal serve      to conventional dimensions. n

                                                                            lessons in JApAn visit
                                                                         Bedrock co-proprietor Kris Masterson recently visited
                                                                         Japan on holiday, and was intrigued to see how Japanese
                                                                         butchers approached the business of breaking down a
                                                                         body of beef and presenting the material in retail form.
                                                                            “We saw lots of evidence      so unfortunately I did not
                                                                         of slicing cuts paper-thin,      get to eat a lot of the local
                                                                         to suit a whole range of         product while I was there,”
                                                                         traditional Japanese             he joked.
                                                                         cooking styles,” he said.          If there was an area for
                                                                            “There was a great deal       the Australian Wagyu
from page 16 - Bedrock’s strong      “If we are going to display         of effort put into cuts          industry to consider in
consumer response                 a tray of Wagyu striploin next         preparation, and it was just     terms of improvement,
customers about the qualities     to a tray of quality yearling          such a contrast to what we       Kris thought it was in brand
of Wagyu, because it is so        striploin, it needs to have that       do in Australia, with much       programs providing more
different from conventional       distinctly different appearance        bigger, thicker portion          point-of-sale material to
beef. The retail site stocks a    for contrast. So in some cases         sizes. Sixty percent of my       better promote Wagyu and
wide variety of brands, both      we are happy to chase the              customers ask for a steak        provide information for the
in sliced cuts in the chilled     higher scores,” Kris said.             to be cut an inch thick or       customer, and in improving
cabinet, and whole primal                                                more, but you rarely see         packaging and description
                                     Bedrock has also
vacuum-packed beef.                                                      that on display in Tokyo.”       for whole primals.
                                  established a system where
On the day of Wagyu Update’s      it contacts a group of ‘known             Kris thought there could        “Making the product
visit to the site, within the     Wagyu-loving customers’ by             be an opportunity to develop     look more appealing in the
Wagyu category alone, there       phone or email when access             some Japanese style              cryovac bag, and using easy-
                                  is available to some extreme           prepared lines of Wagyu          to-understand references to
were examples of Stanbroke
                                                                         beef for sale through the        marbling content (like those
Wagyu, Pure Blue, Cabassi &       score 9+ product.
                                                                         Bedrock business.                used by Cabassi & Rea and
Rea and AA Co’s Kobe Cuisine.        “It can be very hard to source
                                                                            “There are lots of small      Pure Blue) would help the
Jack’s Creek and Security         at times on the domestic
                                                                         Japanese and Asian               consumer in the selection
Foods are also regularly          market, but if we can get a
                                                                         restaurants, and even            process,” he said.
used brands. In addition to       couple of boxes of score 10
                                                                         Japanese retail customers          “Cryovac vacuum
sliced and whole primal muscle    or 12 rib fillets, for example,
                                                                         living on the Gold Coast         packaging does not look
meat, there is an extensive       we will send out the word and
                                                                         and Brisbane, who we could       good at the best of times.
range of value-added products     sell them as whole primals,
                                                                         target for those types of        Why not move away from
like Wagyu burgers, corned        in no-time. Many of those
                                                                         specialised products. We         clear bags to different
silverside, mince and kebabs.     customers say they do not
                                                                         already do a lot of wholesale    coloured opaque bags,
   Unlike some Australian         care what the price is – ‘just
                                                                         work in whole primal meat        attractively labelled for
retailers who have found the      keep me some’, they ask.”
                                                                         with Japanese restaurants,       each of the marbling
more extreme high marbling           “We find it is better to handle
                                                                         so it would be an extension      groups?” he suggested.
scores are not necessary          that extreme high marbling (and
                                                                         of that work,” he said.            Readers can check
for the Australian domestic       high value) product in that way,
                                                                            “I bought a 40 gram Wagyu     out the Bedrock website
market’s taste, Bedrock is        rather than to slice it and put in
                                                                         cocktail kebab while I was in    which features a strong
happy to stock 7-8 score          on a tray in the window and try
                                                                         Japan – it cost me 900 Yen       Wagyu presence at
Wagyu sliced product, and         to sell it in dribs and drabs.”
                                                                         (about $9 Australian),  n
even higher.                         Increasingly, Wagyu is also

18                                                                                   australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                                                                    market news

                   WA’s ‘Wine-fed’ WAGYu
                   mAkes its mark
                   even in tough economic times, Wagyu still features on the menus of many
                   of the best restaurants around Australia and the world.

                   Western Australia’s Margaret      to account for some of the          with a special ration also
                   River Premium Meat Exports        unknowns which often occur          containing some anti-oxidant
                   (MRPME) has been producing        in a globalised marketplace.        rich skins and seed derivatives
                   Wagyu beef since 2003 and             “The product list has changed   (grapemark) from the wine-
                   although its sales declined       since we first began and five       making process, for 60 days
                   when the world economic           years from now the list could       before processing.
                   downturn hit, the company         well shift again. We’ll remain         The Wine-Fed program
                   remains confident about the       flexible and keep listening to      was launched in 2006
                   industry’s future.                what the customer wants.”           after one of MRPME’s
                   Established by John McLeod            MRPME produces both a           top customers, a Japanese
                   and Jack Semini, MRPME was        grainfed Wagyu and a unique         celebrity chef, visited the
                   created with the idea of taking   ‘Wine-Fed’ Wagyu product.           famous Margaret River
                   premium meat products from        This involves specifically-         region and wanted to
                   Western Australia’s Southwest     chosen cattle being fed one         incorporate the local wine
                   region and marketing them to      litre of wine per day, blended      Continued page 20
                   the world.
                      When the business first
                   began operations it specialised
                   in exotic meats, producing
                   predominately venison,
                   ostrich and lamb.
                     MRPME aims to supply
                   the upper end of the food
                   service sector (restaurants
                   and hotels) worldwide and
                   now concentrates on Wagyu
                   beef, grainfed beef and some
                   venison and ostrich, supplying
                   to 17 countries. Most of its
                   product is exported into the
                   Asian region. According to
                   John McLeod, the business
                   was created using a risk-averse
                   model, based on seeking a
                   geographically diverse client
                   base and broad product range.
                      “That business model allows
                   us to increase and decrease
                   any one particular product as
                   market circumstances change,”
                   he said.
                      “We’re constantly looking
                   at different scenarios and
                   exploring different options,
                   but the business is structured                                                                                                     19
market news

from page 19 - WA’s wine-fed            of strong demand for their             He now expects business to          increase in quality of the
wagyu makes its mark.                   products, Mr McLeod said            slowly return to the levels seen       cattle being produced by
with the locally produced               sales began to decrease last        up to last year. Mr McLeod said        MRPME. As production
Wagyu beef. The result,                 November in response to the         despite the drop in Wagyu beef         and feeding methods had
the company suggests, is                global economic downturn.           sales, the company’s wine-fed          improved, the business was
a beef which has a sweeter                “We went from being in New        Wagyu program had continued            now producing a higher grade
flavour with improved shelf-            York in August last year signing    at a steady pace, which he             product more consistently.
life and meat colour (feedlot           up top restaurants, to all of a     believed was a reflection of              “Over the last four or five
nutritionists say this is possibly      sudden seeing sales drying up,”     the niche market nature of the         years we’ve seen the cattle
explained by the anti-oxidant           he said.                            product. He said Wagyu would           that we process increase in
effect of red wine grapemark,                                                                                      marbling score which means
and the ability of some feed                                                                                       it also commands a higher
ingredients containing tannins                                                                                     price,” he said.
                                        ....We’ll remAin flexible And keep
to lock-up excess iron).                                                                                              The recognition of Wagyu
                                        listeninG to WHAt tHe customer WAnts                                       was now more widespread, but
   The program gained
widespread Australian                                                                                              longer-term, MRPME hoped to
international media attention                                                                                      see the product become more
during the period after its               “Now I think the initial shock    always need to sell for                widely available on a domestic
launch, due in part to its              of the world economic crisis        a premium price, as there              supermarket retail level.
unique nature.                          has sunk in and people are just     were considerable costs                   “We can see the business
   MRPME now uses a                     getting back to normal patterns     involved with its production.          growing significantly and
network of feedlots in both             again. There is still a way to        “We’re grain feeding for             the product becoming
western and eastern Australia           go until we get fully back to       400 days plus, so there is a           available in a retail scenario,”
to grow and feed its mostly             normal, but a good point from       long production time involved,         Mr McLeod said.
F1 to F3 Wagyu cattle to                this has been that all of our       making it expensive to produce.”          “One of the points that sets
strict guidelines, helping              customers, except one have            Even though he expects the           Wagyu apart from other beef
ensure that the quality status          returned - it’s just that their     value of some Wagyu cuts to            products is that it sells itself.
of its product is maintained.           orders are less than they           decrease over time, he said            Once people taste the product
After experiencing four years           were earlier.”                      that would be offset by the            they’re generally sold on it.” n

from page 10 - Calf harvest under way           calf’s body 90 degrees, typically the
  Traction should be applied                    calf’s pelvis will roll the appropriate 45
to each fore leg, one after the other to        degrees to facilitate delivery. It is the         keY points:
walk the shoulders through the pelvis.          calf’s pelvis which is responsible for            n   Stage one should not last longer than
You will know when you have pulled              the majority of calving paralysis cases,              8 hours. If a cow continues to wander
one leg sufficiently when the fetlock           by rolling the calf you can minimize this             about on her own, put her in the crush
is about one hands breadth beyond               risk. There isn’t sufficient space here to            and have a look.
the vulva. If you can pull the second           cover all of the different postures calves        n   Stage two should not take longer than
shoulder through then you should                can present with, but producers should                2 hours total and the heifer should make
be able to deliver the calf. It is very         feel free to ring their local veterinarian            progress every half hour. If not, put her in
important to walk the shoulders through         for advice in correcting difficult                    the crush and have a look.
the pelvis in this manner. If you begin         presentations, for general calving                n   If you are not making progress or feel that
by pulling both legs simultaneously             advice, or for assistance.                            you are over your head, seek professional
you will unnecessarily risk injuring the           You should seek professional                       advice or intervention.
calf or the heifer. Once both fetlocks          assistance if you have not made any               n   Don’t be afraid to intervene! If in doubt,
have been advanced a hands breadth              progress yourself for over half an hour,              put her in the crush and have a look!
beyond the vulva, simultaneous pulling          or sooner if you recognize that you are           n   Parting tip feeding heifers hay once daily,
can commence. If it is shaping up as a          in over your head. If you have intervened
                                                                                                      just before sunset, started a couple of
hard pull, once you have pulled the calf’s      early enough and haven’t overstressed                 weeks before and throughout the calving
head through the vulva you should begin         the calf or heifer, the calf can survive for          season will stimulate most of the calves
rotating the calf. The widest portion           four to six hours until help can arrive.              to be born during the daylight hours.
of the calf’s body is across his hips.            You’ve worked all year to get your
                                                                                                      Try it!
The widest aperture of a cow’s pelvic           cows to this point, now get out there and
canal is on the diagonal. If you roll the       get your calf harvest into the bin! n

20                                                                                             australian wagyu update i august 2009
                                                                                                Vogue 2009 awards suCCess

below Left to right: David and Julie Blackmore, Scott De Bruin,
Vicki and Nick Sher at the 2009 Vogue Entertaining and Travel
Produce Awards.
right High quality Wagyu beef like this earned Sher Wagyu a
medal in the 2009 Vogue Awards.

WAGYu prominent
in voGue aWards
leading Australian                       A field of top judges including celebrity chefs    acknowledged with a divisional medal included:
                                         Adelaide’s Chong Lieu, Sydney’s Matt Moran             Mayura Station from Millicent, South
Wagyu beef brands                                                                           n
                                         and Brisbane’s Philip Johnson, decided this            Australia (De Bruin family), which was
have again figured                       year’s winners and medallists. The annual              acknowledged for the third consecutive
prominently in vogue                     awards are divided into four key categories:           year with their fullblood Wagyu product.
entertaining and travel                  n    From the earth,                               n   Sher Wagyu from Victoria (Nick Sher,
                                              From the dairy,
magazine’s 2009                          n                                                      BeefCorp) fed at the ICM feedlot at
                                         n    From the paddock (various forms of red            Peechelba. Beefcorp is one of Australia’s
produce Awards,                               and white meat protein), and                      older Wagyu producers, with the first calf
announced recently.                      n    From the Sea.                                     hitting the ground in 1992. Sher Wagyu is
                                           Medallists in the ‘From the Paddock’                 primarily from Wagyu x Holstein breeding
                                         category this year included former 2007 overall        but also includes higher percentage and
                                         winner, Blackmore Wagyu, produced by David             fullblood Wagyu. The beef is packaged into
                                         Blackmore out of Victoria. Blackmores’ is one          three labels based on marbling score and
                                         of Australia’s only dedicated Japanese fullblood       meat quality.
                                         Wagyu producers, aiming for elite-level highly       The overall winner of the 2009 Vogue
                                         marbled product. Blackmore’s collected a           Entertainment and Travel Produce Awards
                                         second award in the Consistently Excellent         was artisan goat’s milk cheese and dairy
                                         Product category.                                  product producer, Holy Goat, based in La
                                             Other Wagyu industry stakeholders to be        Luna, Victoria. n                                                                                                                           21

                                                                                                                right  Mason Williams
                                                                                                                and Annie Douglas help
                                                                                                                out at the Commonwealth
                                                                                                                Bank Agribusiness stand
                                                                                                                at Beef Week 2009 held
                                                                                                                in Rockhamrton, QLD.
                                                                                                                story by Nicole Szollos
                                                                                                                Commonwealth Bank

interest remains hiGh
for WAGYu beef
Australian consumers are                     Prominently on display at the Beef Expo     and challenges facing the beef industry.
                                           was Wagyu, with trade stalls showcasing       The team has longstanding experience
continuing to embrace Wagyu
                                           the breed and educating both producers        in agribusiness banking and solid ties to
beef, while interest in the breed          and consumers on the benefits of Wagyu        the land, and understands the variable
among the country’s primary                cows and the unique high quality beef         seasonal conditions and the need for
                                           product. Overseas buyers were also in         flexibility in order to meet the specific
producers also remains high.
                                           attendance at the Beef Australia 2009         financial needs of the grazier community,”
The popularity of the Wagyu beef           Expo, reinforcing the continued interest in   he added. n
industry was evident at the recent Beef    Australian beef including Wagyu from both
Australia 2009 Expo which took place       the local and overseas markets, and the
in Rockhampton, Queensland in May.         importance of Australia’s beef industry as
Occurring every three years, the Expo      an export commodity.                             how to contact the
is a highly informative and celebrated       “The Commonwealth Bank Agribusiness            COMMONWEALTh BANK’S
event for Australian cattle producers      team has an in-depth knowledge of                agribusiness centre
and a key date in the rural calendar.      the beef cattle and finance industries,          Wagyu producers looking for
   At this year’s event some 65,000        and is dedicated to providing ongoing            further information on financial
visitors participated in the week-         support to Australia’s primary producers,”       management can also contact
long program which included cattle         said Richard Brimblecombe, State
                                                                                            AgriLine, the Commonwealth
competitions and sales, information        Manager Queensland, Commonwealth
                                                                                            Bank’s dedicated telephone-based
sessions and consumer education            Bank Agribusiness.
                                                                                            agribusiness centre, on 1300 245 463
activities, along with the all-important     “In Queensland, Australia’s prime cattle       (1300 AGLINE) from 7am to 7pm,
trade fair showcasing the full range of    country, our local team of beef specialists
                                                                                            Monday to Friday.
breeds in the beef cattle industry.        have a deep understanding of the needs

22                                                                               australian wagyu update i august 2009   23

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