Australian Wagyu – 30 years in the making

An anniversary is a time to celebrate, reflect and build for tomorrow

 

Join with the Australian Wagyu Association in celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2019 by being part of the 2019 WagyuEdge:Building Integrity Conference.

The Australian Wagyu Breeders Association was formed on 1st February 1989 to encourage the Japanese Wagyu Registry to consider imports into Australia. Trade protocols of the day prevented this from happening, however, negotiations between Japan and the United States enabled Wagyu cattle and genetics to arrive into Australia via the US.

The main objectives of the Association at the time were to record and classify Wagyu cattle bred in Australia; inform beef breeders and consumers on the eating quality of Wagyu beef; provide Association members with information and research on Wagyu and to increase Association membership and cattle registrations.

30th Anniversary of the Australian Wagyu Association

These aims remain at the heart of the Association today.

From a humble seven members in the beginning, the Association membership has grown to more than 700 – and has been the fastest growing breed Association in recent years.

In 1990, the first live heifer was exported via the US – now animal registrations number more than 14,000 per year.

The declaration by the Japanese government in 1997 that Wagyu be a ‘national treasure’ and restricting all exports of Wagyu cattle and genetics has resulted in Australia having the largest herd of fullblood Wagyu outside Japan and continues to strive toward genetic gain and improvement.

The early pioneers and their families, such as Peter Winkler, the Shers, the Hammonds, Wally Rea, Sumo Cattle Co, David Blackmore, David Warmoll, and Mayura Station, faced a hard road to gain Wagyu beef and genetics acceptance in the Australian market.

In Simon Coates’ recent acceptance of Honorary Life Membership at the 2018 AGM, he said that it was very difficult to convince people of the value Wagyu beef would bring to the market, but opinions soon changed when tasting it for the first time.

Wagyu in Australia in its first 30 years has had its fair share of good and bad times, such as the Japanese BSE crisis shutting the door on Wagyu beef imports overnight. The silver lining in the cloud was the opening of new markets that recognised the value of Australian Wagyu beef.

Export of Australian Wagyu beef in the 1990s was principally to Japan but now extends to many Asian countries, Europe, the Middle East and USA.  Today, more than 90% of Australian Wagyu is exported to a diverse range of premium international markets.

High marbling Australian Wagyu beef is now also found in many premium national and international restaurants, with many butchers across the country providing consumers with the unique eating experience that is Wagyu.

The Australian Wagyu Association is proud to announce that one early pioneer, Keith Hammond, will be the opening Speaker at the WagyuEdge:Building Integrity 2019 Annual Conference at 10am on the 8th of May 2019, in Adelaide.  Keith will provide a summary of insights from many of Australia’s Wagyu industry pioneers on the development of the Australian industry and the Australian Wagyu Association.

Keith was one of the first to import Wagyu genetics into Australia in 1991, establishing a herd in northwest Tasmania on Robbins Island. Keith, who has been on the Association Board for a number of years and the third Association President knows just how hard the early days were and how much promise the future holds for Australian Wagyu. It will be a presentation not to be missed.

The 2019 Australian Wagyu Association WagyuEdge:Building Integrity Conference will run for three days, from 10am on the 8th of May, to 1.30pm on the 10th of May.  The Elite Wagyu National Sale will commence at 3pm on the 10th of May.

Come and celebrate 30 years of Wagyu in Australia and learn about new developments for our industry’s future.

NEWS_30years_Haruki

Haruki 2 was one of the first live fullblood bulls to be exported from Japan to the US in 1993 and remains well regarded as a Foundation Sire, 30 years later, for the Australian Wagyu Association.