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JBS/Andrews Meats claims Brisbane branded beef crown with Wagyu entry

Jon Condon, 22/05/2024

Accepting the awards during the Royal Queensland Branded Beef awards on Friday were Andrews Meat Industries Clara Leung and Thomas Andrews, with JBS Australia’s Rob Ryan, Chris Miller and Renae Taylor.

 

JBS Australia’s Andrews Meats division celebrated its biggest win in beef taste test competitions last week, earning the Brisbane Show branded beef competition’s grand championship with a Wagyu entry representing the company’s new W Black program.

In its first-ever competitive outing, Andrews Meats’ W Black brand topped 50 entries across five grain and grassfed competition classes, assessed by a judging panel on tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall liking.

Launched last year, the W Black product is generated from F1-F4 Wagyu steers fed +400 days a white grains-based ration at JBS’s Prime City feedlot near Griffith in southern NSW, and slaughtered at JBS Riverina producing carcases averaging 420kg and marbling scores from 5 to 9+.

The entry received the highest score in this year’s Brisbane taste test competition of 94.8 points, having earlier topped the Wagyu Class for marbling score 7+ entries.

Andrews Meat Industries chief executive Peter Andrews said it was unexpected and a great honour to see W Black crowned grand champion, at its first attempt at branded beef taste test competition.

The product is mostly directed into high-end food service sectors in North Asia, North America the Middle East and within Australia.

Champion MSA Graded Branded Beef

This year’s Brisbane competition was JBS’s best-ever result in competitive branded beef taste test events, also topping a second grainfed division and claiming Champion MSA Graded Branded Beef with its Portoro natural grainfed brand.

The result came just a fortnight after Portoro (the name comes from a highly prized form of Italian black marble) scored its first major national carcase competition success as part of Beef 2024 competition (click here to view earlier report).

Steers for the program are fed at JBS Yambinya feedyard, run without HGP, GMOs or antibiotics. Since its launch last year, the Portoro brand has rapidly grown, now accounting for around 600 carcases per week. Markets are widespread, into North and Southeast Asia as well as domestic food service users. Carcase weights average around 370kg, after 130 days on feed.

Young backgrounders are bought for the program from throughout the Riverina, deep into Victoria, and across the border into South Australia. Some are bought as feeders for direct feedlot entry, while others are grower cattle at 9-12 months of age, taken through to relatively heavier feedlot entry weights. The product is underpinned by the JBS Farm Assurance Natural Grain program, run along similar lines as the Great Southern grass farm assured program.

Portoro earlier topped the grainfed class receiving a score of 89.8 points.

JBS Southern beef sales manager Robert Ryan said Portoro’s results from the two complementary competitions – Brisbane Show branded beef taste test and National Beef Carcase Competition at Beef 2024 – demonstrated carcase performance correlating to superior eating quality.

Click here to learn more about JBS’s Portoro program.

Four separate JBS divisions (JBS North, South, Andrews Meats and White Stripe Foods) earned a total of seven medals across four Brisbane Show competition categories for branded beef and lamb this year.

Other class winners

Other beef class winners in this year’s Brisbane Show branded beef competition came from across New South Wales and Queensland. Here’s a quick summary:

Grassfed

Earning the gold medal and first place in the Grassfed beef class was NH Foods’ Manning Valley Naturally Certified grassfed brand. Produced out of NH Foods’ Wingham Beef Exports plant on the NSW Central Coast, the Manning Valley Naturally program has expanded in volume since its launch in 2011. The brand identity is built around locally-sourced, HGP-free, certified grassfed, largely British-based yearling cattle for a heavy-domestic program. Carcase weights range from about 280kg to 330kg.

The brand has enjoyed wide success in branded beef competitions across eastern Australia over the past eight years, with gold medals achieved at Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane shows. The sequence of results ranks it among the most awarded certified grassfed natural brands in Australia.

While Manning Valley Naturally is finding its way increasingly into export orders as well, at the domestic level the brand is wholesaled through Nippon’s Beef Producers Australia division, for use in better-end food service restaurants, hotels and club style venues, as well as some selected quality retail sites. Some of the product also finds its way into Woolworths and Coles outside-purchase programs for specific cuts.

Click here to view an earlier article discussing the Manning Valley Naturally program’s origins, specifications and target markets.

The silver medal in Brisbane show’s grassfed class this year went to JBS Australia for its Great Southern Pinnacle brand program (marbling score 2 and better) from one of the largest farm assured grassfed programs in the world, sourced from JBS Farm Assured producers across New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Bronze medallist for grassfed was Stanbroke Beef with an entry representing the company’s Flinders Natural program.

From being fringe players (entry numbers wise) in the competition only a few years ago, this year’s two Wagyu classes were the most heavily contested in the competition.

Commercial Wagyu (MB6 or less)

The Commercial Wagyu (marbling score 6 or less class is targeted at more affordable restaurant, club and pub dining, and always attracts a large contingent of entries.

This year’s winner and gold medallist was a sample from Kilcoy Global Foods’ Carrara crossbred Wagyu program, producing the second highest score in the competition of 93.6 points – higher than all but one of the marbling score 7+ Wagyu entries.

Launched in 2018, cattle for the Carrara program are fed 400 days at Mort & Co’s Grassdale feedlot and Lilyvale feedlot Condamine, producing carcase weights 420-450kg. Carrara Wagyu is exported across the world, with the largest proportion into Asia and the US.

Runner-up in the class was a sample from Stanbroke Beef’s Diamantina Wagyu F1 program, with the bronze medal to Mort & Co for an entry representing the company’s Phoenix program.

Wagyu marbling scores 7+

In the second Wagyu class for entries showing marbling scores of 7 or higher, the minor placegetters behind the ultimate grand champion of show from JBS/Andrews included runners-up Harmony Fine Foods with a sample of the supply chain’s Black Opal product.

The bronze medal for third went to newcomers, the Kemp and Rich family’s King River Wagyu F1-F4 program, produced out of Central and North Queensland, and fed at the Kemps’ 10,000 head Lotus Park feedlot near Clermont.

Open Class

This year’s Open Class winner and gold medallist was a sample from the Stockyard Gold 200-day midfed Angus program entered by Queensland’s Stockyard Beef.

Runner-up in the open class was a sample from the Coles Finest Carbon Neutral Beef program, with Kilcoy Global Foods’ Ebony Prime Black Angus third.

Grainfed

Runner-up earning the silver medal in the grainfed class behind the winning Portoro entry was stablemate, JBS Northern Division’s Riverina Angus brand. Riverina Angus, limited to marbling scores 2 and better is produced out of NSW’s only integrated backgrounding property, feedlot and processing facility at Riverina Beef, near Yanco.

Third place and bronze medal in the grainfed class went to Queensland’s Mort & Co lotfeeders, with a sample from the company’s Sir Thomas brand – a 200-day grainfed no-HGP Black Angus program aimed at the premium restaurant, hotel and food service market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. The Cynical Farmer, 22/05/2024

    It makes a complete mockery of the competition when meat processors get the prizes and accolades for a farming businesses hard work. The competition is just which meat company chooses the best carcases – nothing to do with farming ability to produce a quality product!

    Under normal circumstances, people providing reader comments under the cloak of anonymity are consigned to the deleted file before they appear – but we’ll make an exception in your case. On this matter, we would argue the exact opposite. It’s impossible to win a significant taste test competition like this without the full cooperation and deep commitment of all involved in the production chain – breeder, backgrounder, lotfeeder and processor. Much can go wrong in managing carcases for optimum tenderness after the heads come off. Congratulations to all involved. Editor

    • Tom Williamson, 30/05/2024

      I think it depends which processor you are working with as a producer. Wingham Beef Exports acknowledged our contribution to their Manning Valley Naturally Certified GOLD winning entry. We are thrilled that a Moore Park Livestock striploin was selected for their entry and to win this makes us extremely proud that our beef has end product merit.

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