Wagyu Beef and Marbling

World's luxury beef

Wagyu beef and its exceptional marbling is finding its way into gourmet cooking and fine restaurant menus across Australia and around the world.

The unique marbling in Wagyu beef creates an exceptional eating experience, that exemplifies the meaning of the world’s luxury beef.

Wagyu beef has a rich, juicy, buttery, caramel taste sensation and a beefy flavour and aroma.

The unique levels of oleic monosaturated fats – the healthy fats – are characteristic of Wagyu means that it dissolves at lower melting temperatures – it literally melts in your mouth and can be good for you.

What is Wagyu beef marbling?

The secret to why Wagyu is the ‘world’s luxury beef’ lies in the unique Wagyu marbling.

Marbling refers to finely dispersed, visible fat found between muscle fibre bundles within the meat, that gives it extra juiciness and flavour.

Achieving marbling in Wagyu beef is determined by the genetics of the animal and the nutrition in the feeding program. For breeding, producers use the genetic evaluation tools provided by the Australian Wagyu Association to determine the animals that have a high potential for marbling.

Australian Aus-Meat grading to define marbling, range from 0 to 9+, with 0 being the lowest and 9+ being the highest and most valuable.  Australian Fullblood Wagyu typically average Aus-Meat marble score of 8, more than three-fold the average of any other breed.  Wagyu can achieve marbling well beyond 9+.

Wagyu Provenance and Integrity

What does F1 Wagyu mean? What difference is there compared to Fullblood Wagyu?

It comes down to the amount of Wagyu genetics that are in the beef.

Fullblood Wagyu is the pinnacle of Wagyu beef, with the characteristic high marbling so highly prized in Japanese cuisine and fine dining.

F1 Wagyu is typically 50% Wagyu and 50% another breed, such as Angus, giving a terrific eating experience for a traditional steak.

The global Wagyu beef industry is in an era of increasing consumer demand for clarity on provenance, traceability and labelling. All sectors of the Wagyu supply chain and markets rely on the integrity of animal and product descriptions to accurately describe the level of Wagyu content being marketed.

The Australian Wagyu Association has provided strong industry leadership in developing Wagyu Breed Trade Descriptors to help educate consumers, retailers, wholesalers, processors and producers to understand Wagyu beef.

To support Wagyu breeders and processors, the Australian Wagyu Association has developed the Wagyu Breed Verification Program, endorsed by the Aus-Meat Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee to give guidance on labelling of Wagyu content to uphold our market integrity.

It is recommended for use by all members to assist in the verification of Animal Raising Claims regarding the Wagyu breed and level of breed content in meat.

Wagyu Export Project

The project will establish an Export Hub to develop an export capability for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) working in the Australian Wagyu industry to establish global Wagyu markets. By the implementation of Japanese Meat Image carcase grading cameras, Australian Wagyu Association is working to assist Wagyu exporters be world leaders in Wagyu beef.

30 Years in the Making

The Australian Wagyu Breeders Association was formed on 1st February 1989.

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.

Our rich history has established a world-class Wagyu herd, the largest outside of Japan, based on the three major black Wagyu strains of Tajima, Fujioshi and Kedaka regions, plus two red strains, Kochi and Kumamoto.

These aims remain at the heart of the Association today. Fullblood animal registrations – our seedstock herd – number more than 15,000 per year.  In excess of 100,000 Fullblood females and approximately 12,000 Fullblood sires are registered with the AWA.

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.

Important Notice and Disclaimer

It is very important that you appreciate when viewing the AWA database that the information contained on the AWA database, including but not limited to pedigree, DNA information, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Index values, is based on data supplied by members and/or third parties.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information reported through AWA, AWA officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use or interpretation. AWA disclaims all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you may incur as a result of the use by you of the data on this AWA database and the information supplied by ABRI and AGBU being inaccurate or incomplete in any way for any reason.

Regarding EBVs and Index values, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • EBVs are derived using Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN technology developed independently by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), using the information contained within the AWA database.
  • AGBU is a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England, which receives funding for this purpose from Meat and Livestock Australia Limited.
  • AWA relies solely on advice provided by AGBU and ABRI in accepting Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN software.
  • EBVs published in Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN are estimates of genetic potential of individual animals and may not reflect the raw animal phenotype.
  • EBVs can only be directly compared to other EBVs calculated in the same monthly Wagyu Group BREEDPLAN analysis.

Regarding pedigree and DNA testing results submitted to the AWA, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Pedigree and DNA data submitted and supplied to AWA may have errors in it which cannot be detected without further DNA testing.
  • Technology may have advanced since a particular test was undertaken so that previous inaccuracies which were not detectable are now able to be detected by current testing technology.
  • AWA estimates that less than 1% of the pedigree entries, ownership or breeding details in the AWA Herdbook may have errors or which may be misleading. For this reason, users ought to consider if they need to obtain independent testing of the relevant animal (if possible) to ensure that the data is accurate.

Regarding prefectural content, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Prefectural content is based on the estimation of prefectural origin from Japanese breeding records of 201 foundation sires and 168 foundation dams.  As genotype-based parent verification is not used in Japan, and full Japanese registration certificates are not available for all foundation animals, exact prefectural composition for these sires and dams cannot be validated.
  • The calculation of prefectural content for Australian Herdbook animals relies on the accuracy of pedigree records and DNA samples provided by AWA members.
  • The reporting of prefectural content for animals within the AWA Herdbook relies on the calculation provided by ABRI.

If you consider that you do not understand or appreciate the nature and extent of the data provided on this website or the EBVs of a particular animal, then AWA strongly recommends that you seek independent expert advice.