MORE than 400 delegates from all Australian states plus the US, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom are heading for Albury on the NSW/Victorian border for Wagyu Expansion Conference and Tour on May 1 to 5.
This is the largest number of delegates ever assembled for a Wagyu conference in Australia and reflects the rapidly growing interest in the breed, according to the Australian Wagyu Association’s soon-to-retire chief executive, Graham Truscott.
The conference cover three days from May 1 to 3, followed by a two-day tour of Wagyu operations in north-east Victoria which is a sellout with a waiting list of people hoping for cancellations.
As well as feasting on a range of Wagyu based dishes, Australia’s foremost Wagyu breeders, lotfeeders, processors, exporters and food service personnel will deliver presentations that will educate and inform delegates to assist in business decisions.
One session creating special interest is a demonstration of the new version of the Japanese-developed digital carcase camera that can quickly and accurately record numerous traits in a carcase while simultaneously transmitting the information to the Wagyu database for processing and developing Breedplan EBVs. The camera’s developer, Professor Keigo Kuchida of the Obihiro University, will explain the improvements in this new version soon to be released in Australia.
Meat and Livestock Australia’s chief marketing officer Lisa Sharp will announce some never before released information regarding the future of high quality beef in the world market and how that will impact Australian Wagyu producers.
A panel of industry experts will debate issues regarding the breeding paths that will be the most sustainable, discussing the optimum Wagyu influence needed and the merits and drawbacks of breeding F1, F2 or higher Wagyu content cattle.
Retiring CEO Graham Truscott will trace the breed’s explosive transition over the past five years from a discrete cottage industry to a mainstream beef industry attracting major investors as well as traditional cattle producers. Incoming CEO Matt McDonagh will reveal plans for the next five years and make some predictions as to the breed’s future.
Cattle producers who have used Wagyu genetics over Angus and Holsteins will address delegates over their reasons for changing their breeding strategies.
Another highlight will be the Wagyu Elite online sale featuring 48 lots of live cattle, embryos and semen representing the top echelons of the Wagyu breed.
Highlights of the Stanbroke-sponsored Gala Dinner will include the announcement of the Branded Beef Competition winners, the Charity Auction and a special performance by Australia’s country music queen, Sara Storer.
Mr Truscott said the media interest in this year’s conference was high, with 11 media organisations applying for registration.
- The full AWA annual conference program is available here.