Quiet, fair and honourable, is how many in the industry would describe this early pioneer of the Australian Wagyu industry.
A man who is interested not only in improving his own business, but also the overall genetic merits and beef quality of the Australian Wagyu herd.
At the Australian Wagyu Association’s Annual General Meeting, 2019, held in Brisbane on 25th November, 2019, the Board nominated Arthur Dew of Longford Station to be this year’s recipient of Honorary Life Membership.
Originally an Angus breeder in the early 1980s, focusing on live export steers to Japan through Elders International and Japanese feedlots with Rangers Valley, Arthur Dew became aware of Wagyu when Peter Winkler brought in the first live Wagyu heifer, that was to be the start of the Australian Wagyu industry.
Arthur’s initial focus was to develop the genetics, and an understanding of how to extrapolate the Japanese data to give preferred carcase weight and marbling.
From those early beginnings, Arthur has built a well-regarded Wagyu herd at Longford Station, in New South Wales based on the bloodlines of Suzutani, Michifuku and Rikitani. Further crosses with Takeda and Westholme Sires strengthened his Fullblood herd.
Longford currently produces more than 2,000 calves across Fullblood, infused and purebred programs. These cattle are generally produced by natural mating to Fullblood Wagyu sires with some AI being used, with the aim to produce cattle with around 50% Tajima blood lines blended with larger frame size Fujiyoshi and Shimane strains to maintain frame size and milking ability in the females.
Arthur joined the Association in 1996 and has contributed to the industry by making the Longford genetics available to other Wagyu breeders. To date, Longford have registered more than 12,000 cattle with 4,342 registered as Fullblood and undertaken 1,828 50K tests through the Association. The breeding program has given 183 Fullblood bulls with near 10,000 progeny – a quarter of which are in other herds other than Longford; for cows Arthur has bred 1,771 Fullblood cows with more than 10,000 progeny registered.
In more recent years, Longford bulls have featured well in Elite Wagyu Sales, and are participants in the Sire Progeny Net Feed Intake program at Kerwee Feedlot providing valuable information on feed conversion.
Live exports of fullblood steers to Japan continues to be a major component of the Longford business model and a testament to the respect Arthur has earned with his Japanese business counterparts for his business acumen and quality Wagyu genetics.
In commenting on Arthur, Keith Hammond, Robbins Island Wagyu, past President of the Association, observed that everything Arthur has achieved has been based on a lot of research and hard work to build the Longford genetics, and that he has always had full knowledge of cattle performance.
“Arthur is a first-class operator, and has been nothing but positive for the industry,” said Keith. “He has always been open to sharing information and knowledge and it is clear that it has been of benefit to the Australian Wagyu industry. The Honourary Life Membership is well-deserved.”
Another early pioneer, with the utmost respect for Arthur, is David Blackmore.
David worked with Arthur in the early days of the Australian Wagyu industry, and has had regular dealings and conversations with him ever since; both gentlemen learning and sharing knowledge with each other to achieve the best possible Wagyu genetics, feed regimes and Sire performance.
“Arthur has a deep knowledge of pedigree and bloodlines and is able to see the possibilities with his progeny,” said David. “Combined with an astute business sense, and a straightforward no-nonsense approach, he is one of the quiet achievers in the Wagyu industry establishing a successful business relationship with live export to Japan and well-regarded genetics. I have the deepest respect for his knowledge and approach to the industry.”
Arthur graduated from the Law School of the University of Sydney, Australia, and was admitted as a solicitor and later as a barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia. He is currently a non-practising barrister, based principally in Hong Kong.
Sarah Hulme, accepted her father’s Honorary Life Membership from President, Chantal Winter at the 2019 AGM, held in Brisbane