THE Australian Agricultural Co claimed its second straight Brisbane Show branded beef competition grand championship title this morning.
The “rich, juicy” Darling Downs Wagyu entry topped 45 beef entries in this competition, across five grain and grassfed classes, to claim the coveted John Kilroy Cha Cha Char trophy for the second consecutive year.
Chief judge Elaine Millar said the consistent high quality of entries proved that Queensland is producing some of the world’s best beef.
Brisbane’s branded beef and lamb competitions are regarded as the most coveted and comprehensive of their kind, with entries up 33 percent over the past two years.
AA Co’s Darling Downs Wagyu brand is produced from F1 Wagyu animals, fed 300 days on a Japanese style ration – unusually short by Wagyu industry standards, where 350-400 days is more commonplace for F1 cattle. The winning entry came from a calf bred using Fullblood Wagyu bulls over AA Co’s Barkly composite females on Headingly Station neat Boulia, and fed at the company’s Goonoo feedlot in Central Queensland.
The entry produced a marbling score of 7, in the ‘thick-end’ of the range 5-7 score range that is proving popular with many Australian consumers who are not seeking the full-on, rich indulgence of a piece of Fullblood marbling score 9 product.
“Through the AA Co brand program, we see huge demand for such product, right up to a marbling score around 7. Once we get into those higher marbling scores 8 and better, we find it is a totally different category, with different customer requirements and priorities,” AA Co’s marketing manager Sabina Kindler said.
AA Co’s single largest customer for the Darling Downs Wagyu brand is a Korean supermarket chain, while the lower marbling score examples find their way into the domestic or global market for more price-sensitive Wagyu applications.
Strong results for NH Foods
This year’s Brisbane competition also produced some outstanding results for NH Foods’ export and domestic processing operations in Queensland and NSW.
The company’s Wingham Beef Exports plant north of Sydney scored another significant win for its well-performed Manning Valley Naturally grassfed brand, claiming this year’s championship for MSA-graded beef, as well as topping the grassfed class.
One of the unique aspects of the program is that the Manning Valley Naturally identity is actually owned and developed by the local shire council. It was developed to showcase a wide range of foods produced in the local Manning River region, from cheeses to fruit and vegetables to beef – and the identity is used only under exclusive authorisation from the local council.
NH Foods created its MSA-backed Manning Valley Naturally brand in 2012, with a brand identity built around locally-sourced, HGP-free, grassfed, largely British-based yearling cattle for a heavy-domestic program. The same product claimed Brisbane’s 2013 branded beef competition grand championship.
NH Foods’ flagship Oakey export plant in southern Queensland also scored a significant win, claiming the grainfed class with its premium Oakey Angus Reserve product. Angus Reserve is an Angus-exclusive program with feeder cattle sourced from northern NSW and southern Qld, anf fed for a 150-day program at the company’s 50,000 head Whyalla feedlot near Texas. Cattle are inducted at 18 months of age or less, targeting marbling scores of 2+ and average carcase weights of 390-400kg.
Another consistent performer to return to the class winner’s circle this year was Andrew Meats, which claimed the Wagyu class for entries displaying marbling scores of 5 or less.
Andrews’ Tajima crossbred Wagyu brand is produced from F1 cattle fed 350 days, sold into the higher end of food service and retail in Australia and overseas.
This year’s Open class winner was JBS Australia’s Pinnacle brand, a component of the company’s highly successful large-scale Great Southern grassfed/natural program produced out of the company’s Brooklyn (Vic) and Longford (Tas) plants. The Pinnacle program represents the heaviest (+280kg), and more highly-marbled end of the Great Southern production run, targeted into discerning food service restaurant and hotel outlets looking for a larger portion size and consistent eating performance.
Sanger claims lamb trophy
The title of Australia’s best lamb was taken out by Sanger Australia, based in New South Wales, for its Mr Lamb product.
Chief judge Elaine Millar said it featured layers of sweet, creamy and earthy flavours and met all expectations.
Grand champion branded beef of show – Australian Agricultural Co, Darling Downs Wagyu
Champion MSA granded branded beef of show – NH Foods Australia, Manning Valley Naturally
Class 1 – Grainfed Class
Gold: NH Foods Australia, Oakey Angus Reserve
Silver: Stanbroke, Diamantina
Bronze: Teys Australia Pty Ltd, Riverine Premium Beef
Class 2 – Grassfed Class
Gold: NH Foods Australia, Manning Valley Naturally
Silver: Manildra Meat Co, Manildra Natural Beef – Australian Grass Fed
Bronze: Bindaree Beef, Fernhill Road
Class 3 – Wagyu marbling score 1-5
Gold: Andrews Meat Industries, Tajima Crossbred Wagyu
Silver: Stanbroke, Diamantina
Bronze: NH Foods Australia, Oakey Premium Wagyu
Class 4 – Wagyu marbling score 6+
Gold: Australian Agricultural Co, Darling Downs Wagyu
Silver: Stockyard Pty Ltd, Stockyard Black
Bronze: Stanbroke, Diamantina
Class 5 – Open Class
Gold: JBS Australia, JBS Pinnacle
Silver: Bindaree Beef, Mayfield
Bronze: JBS Australia, JBS Royal
LAMB AWARD WINNERS
Class 6 – carcases 20kg or less
Gold: Country Fresh Nationwide, Thomas Foods Signature
Silver: Melrose Wholesale Meats, Tasmanian Royal Lamb
Bronze: Country Fresh Nationwide, Thomas Farms
Class 7 – carcases more than 20kg
Gold: Sanger Australia, Mr Lamb
Silver: Australian Wholesale Meats Qld, Sovereign Lamb
Bronze: Country Fresh Nationwide, Thomas Foods Supreme MSA.