UNDERLINING the strength of support for the Wagyu cattle industry across Australia, about 400 delegates from across the nation, as well as New Zealand, Japan and the United States converged on Adelaide this morning for the start of the 2019 Australian Wagyu Association annual conference.
The three-day program will be followed by a post-conference tour visiting noted Wagyu supply chains, Mayura Wagyu on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, and Sher Wagyu in Central Victoria.
Keynote speakers this year include AA Co managing director Hugh Killen, CSIRO meat scientist Dr Damian Frank speaking on the quality attributes underpinning flavour in Wagyu, Japanese imported meat trading veteran and Beef Central contributor Bully Kohno, and Australian Lot Feeders Association president Bryce Camm speaking on feedlot industry projections and Wagyu trends within the grainfed industry.
Other highlights included the annual AWA branded beef competition awards, an Elite Wagyu genetics sale, and a colourful presentation from veteran Wagyu breeder Keith Hammond marking 30 years of Wagyu cattle breeding in Australia.
Mr Hammond, AWA’s third president from 1997-99, recognised the many pioneers who drove the breed’s development in Australia.
He also paid tribute to many of the cattle themselves, such as the three foundation females pictured below, offering the following endorsement of Suzutani, on the left: “You could put a steel post over her and she would marble.”
In addition to the breed’s signature high marbling, Wagyu’s traits of longevity and fertility had also underpinned the breed’s success in Australia, summed up by a northern breeder’s comment that Wagyu calves “just keep coming at you in waves.”
Mr Hammond also marvelled at the breed’s adapatability to Australian conditions over the past 30 years, noting that they came from housed sheds in Japan but were now performing in a diverse range of climates in Australia from Tasmania to Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
More conference reports from Beef Central’s James Nason in coming days.
Here’s some stakeholders in attendance during the opening stages of this year’s conference:
Peter Atkinson, PC and CE Atkinson Veterinarian Services, Allora, Qld; Peter Schafferius, Bryant Beef, Sarina, Qld and Mike Boerema, ET Services SA and Minko Wagyu, Willunga, SA.
Wendy Bryce, Freestone Feedlot, Warwick, Qld and Stuart Judd, Maydan Livestock Transport, Warwick
Rob Baines, Coopers Animal Health, Toowoomba; Richard Hughes, Wentworth Clermont and George Johnston, Johnstons Livestock Transport, Toowoomba.
AWA presidents Chantal Winter (2018-) and Keith Hammond (1997-99)
Catriona Millen from Southern Beef Technology Services and Hugh Nivison from ABRI
Interested onlookers from Japan’s Agriculture & Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC) were Kentaro Ootsuka and Syunji Ida
ALFA Councillors Steve Martin (left) Kerwee Feedlot, Jondaryan, Qld, and Paul Vogt, Ausfeed SA, Adelaide with Jamie Sturrock, Austpec Pastoral, Drillham, Qld.
Heather and Russel Crichton, Ayrlie Park Wagyu, Echuca, Vic.
Dr Todd Andrews, NSW DPI launched the Wagyu Supplementary Feed Calculator. Story to come.