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Vol. 73 The Wagyu industry’s premier trade magazine produced by the Australian Wagyu Association

www.wagyu.org.au January 2020

gyu WaWORLD'S LUXURY BEEF

INSIDE .... NEW AWA BOARD | ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS | WORLD'S LUXURY BEEF

RECOGNISING AN HONOURABLE MAN | ORGANICS AND WAGYU | ASPIRATIONS OF YOUNG LEADER MAKING DATA USEFUL | PRE-FEEDLOT NUTRITION | OPTIMISING HEALTH AND MEAT QUALITY


11/28/2019

Wagyu Animal Listing

Wagyu Animal Listing Entries:1 ~ 10 of 58 are shown Sorted by: Self Replacing Index - descending Hide EBVs Hide EBV Acc Show All Entries First Previous Next Last Selection Criteria: Current Owner Identifier: equalsLTC (L T COOPER CATTLE TRUST), Calving Year(s): = 2019, Animal is Male, Country of Origin: , Live Animal EBV Mating Multisire Member Sale Semen/Embryo Download Online Tag Home Information Enquiry Enquiry Predictor Groups Enquiry Catalogues Catalogues Files Transactions Orders November 2019 Wagyu BREEDPLAN Name/ID

200 400 600 Mat Eye Retail Gestation Birth Day Day Day Cow Scrotal Carcase Muscle Rump Beef Marble Length Wt Wt Wt Wt Wt Milk Size Wt Area Fat Yield Marble Fineness (days) (kg) (kg) (kg) (kg) (kg) (kg) (cm) (kg) (sq cm) (mm) (%) Score (%)

Self Fullblood Replacing Terminal Index Index

F1 Terminal Index

CIRCLE8BULLS Q113 (ET)

-0.2

+1.5 +13 +22 +30 +32 -5

-0.5

+33

+3.5 +0.6 +0.1 +1.7 +0.37 +$ 261 +$ 210 +$ 194

CIRCLE8BULLS Q116 (ET)

0.0

+2.5 +15 +27 +42 +46 -3

-0.7

+42

+2.6 -0.5 +0.3 +1.4 +0.31 +$ 250 +$ 192 +$ 168

CIRCLE8BULLS Q155 (ET)

-0.2

+0.2 +6 +15 +11 +13 0

-1.0

+21

+3.5 +2.3 -0.6 +2.2 +0.46 +$ 249 +$ 230 +$ 227

CIRCLE8BULLS Q122 (ET)

-0.2

+2.7 +18 +29 +41 +34 +1 -0.2 70% 69% 67% 66% 57% 55%

55%

+37

+2.1 -0.2 0.0 +1.5 +0.30 +$ 248 +$ 208 +$ 185

CIRCLE8BULLS Q143 (ET)

-0.6

+1.3 +13 +20 +26 +27 -2

-0.7

+30

+2.6 0.0 -0.1 +1.5 +0.33 +$ 247 +$ 203 +$ 191

CIRCLE8BULLS Q147 (ET)

-0.4

+1.4 +11 +20 +24 +21 +3 -0.7

+26

+3.5 +1.3 -0.2 +1.6 +0.36 +$ 232 +$ 208 +$ 197

CIRCLE8BULLS Q104 (AI)

-1.8

+2.9 +20 +31 +44 +42 +1 +0.5

+30

+1.6 -1.2 +0.5 +1.1 +0.23 +$ 228 +$ 188 +$ 162

CIRCLE8BULLS Q123 (ET)

+0.5 +1.2 +11 +17 +25 +20 -4 59%

69% 68% 65% 66% 56% 53%

-0.4

+25

+4.2 +2.7 0.0 +1.2 +0.24 +$ 222 +$ 172 +$ 160

CIRCLE8BULLS Q127 (ET)

+0.3

-0.5 +6 +8 +5 +4 -4

-1.3

+13

+4.3 +2.6 -0.3 +1.4 +0.27 +$ 216 +$ 172 +$ 173

CIRCLE8BULLS Q160 (ET)

-0.5

+1.7 +13 +28 +35 +30 +2 -0.1

+31

+2.7 -0.4 +0.3 +1.3 +0.22 +$ 215 +$ 189 +$ 170

Breed Avg. EBVs for 2017 Born Calves +0.3 +1.0 +9 +15 +18 +20 +0 -0.1

+13

+1.1 +0.0 +0.0 +0.6 +0.13

59% 59% 56% 60% 59% 56% 61%

59% 56%

73% 68% 65% 65% 56% 53% 73% 68% 66% 66% 56% 54% 69% 67% 65% 65% 56% 53%

73% 68% 65% 66% 56% 53% 69% 67% 64% 65% 55% 53% 72% 67% 65% 63% 52% 48%

69% 69% 66% 66% 57% 54% 70% 68% 65% 65% 55% 54%

51% 52% 51%

52% 50% 51% 51% 52% 54%

61% 62% 58% 62% 62% 58% 56% 61% 62% 58%

52% 53% 50% 53% 53% 50% 48% 52% 53% 49%

55% 56% 52% 56% 56% 52% 50% 55% 56% 52%

45% 45% 41% 46% 45% 41% 39% 45% 46% 41%

58% 58% 55% 58% 58% 55% 52% 58% 58% 54%

52% 52% 50% 52% 52% 50% 46% 52% 52% 49%

+124

+103

Link to Breed Object with These Animals

Online Contact Wagyu Information Australian Wagyu Association Limited 28 November 2019 © Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved. Site Designed & Supported by: ABRI i4 8.9.9, Disclaimer

bulls.com

+94


17 CONTENTS 4

A brand new plan

5

Welcome to the new AWA

7

Wagyu: world’s luxury beef

10

Annual report highlights

13

Celebrating excellence in Wagyu beef production

15

WagyuEdge annual conference

17

AWA recognises an honourable man

19

Organics and Wagyu

15

23 Rain, hail or shine, Wagyu thrive 27

Aspirations for Young Breed Leadership delegate

31

Turning data into useable information

37

Genomics - Why more performance data?

43 Good nutrition 46 The impact of optimising health on productivity, performance and meat quality of Wagyu cattle

23 31

53 Premium product in a premium butcher

53 Publisher THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU ASSOCIATION (AWA) office@wagyu.org.au 02 8880 7700 Consulting Editor DEBORAH ANDRICH deb@wagyu.com.au 0400 855 040 Contributing Writers MIKE BUCHANAN, PETE CABASSI, Dr. MATT McDONAGH AND CAREL TESELING. Art Direction HEATHER FRAZIER heather@wagyu.org.au 0432 949 764 GENERAL ENQUIRIES AWA Chief Executive Officer Dr. MATT McDONAGH office@wagyu.org.au 02 8880 7700 Wagyu Update advertising enquiries HEATHER FRAZIER heather@wagyu.org.au 0432 949 764

ON THE COVER

Premium butcher, Voctor Churchill celebrates luxury Wagyu beef. More on page 53. The Australian Wagyu Update magazine is printed by Litho Art on paper stock derived from sustainable forests managed to ensure their renewability and preserve natural eco-systems for generations to come. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in The Australian Wagyu Update magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. Acceptance of an advertisement does not imply endorsement of any product or service by the magazine or the association, nor support any claims by the advertisers. Every effort is made to ensure information contained in this magazine is correct at the time of publishing.

CONNECT WITH US ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

3


president

MIKE BUCHANAN

A BRAND NEW PLAN Dear Members, It is a great privilege to be elected to be the 14th President of the Australian Wagyu Association. I look forward to meeting and working with you in the period ahead.

We then present our new Board, Executive and Committee

Right now, as we head into the festive season and the end of 2019, there are obvious challenges in our space: catastrophic drought and fire are just two. Add feed shortages and livestock market cycles, and things for many have become somewhat more interesting than most of us would like them to be.

outstanding breeder Arthur Dew was well deserved and has been

I hope that with the support of family, friends and the community, even those facing the hardest of times can step back, enjoy the traditional break and maybe even take a few hours to scan through this edition of the Wagyu Update. There are a number of important topics covered among the usual general news. The Association recently concluded some months of development of the next AWA Strategic Plan 2020-2025, which was unveiled at the November 2019 AGM. This is about defining what we want to help the Wagyu industry achieve over the next five years, and what is entailed in delivering the supporting service that our members and the greater Wagyu industry will require. An area that is of great interest to me within the Plan is encompassed in Goal 2: Advance and Protect Critical Genetic Resources. This defines an area of ‘new work’ for the AWA Genetics Committee and our expert scientific advisors which will continue well into 2020, as we come to grips with measuring the genetic resource in our national herd, then communicate the findings and recommendations to breeders and the membership. Operating within a purpose framework, the over-arching goal of the Strategic Plan is ‘to support, promote and advance Wagyu’. Underpinning that are our goals and values, that will guide how and what we will do as an Association to strengthen that purpose. To see the full Strategic Plan for 2020 -2025, go to page 7. Of course, a membership organisation is also always focussed on our people as much as our business. So in this edition you can read about some rising stars. Like Jonathan Meron, one of our young, enthusiastic members who has taken up the challenge our industry offers. Jonathon attended the 2019 Young Breed Leadership Workshop and is keen to share so read all about it on page 27. 4

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

members, as voted during the first Board meeting on the 26th November. The award of Honorary Life Membership to well received by our community. Moving forward, the dawn of 2020 brings forward a new Events calendar for the Association, with the Wagyu Branded Beef Competition kicking off with judging in March, and the annual WagyuEdge Conference in late April. The Wagyu Branded Beef Competition is the only breedsupported branded beef event, and represents the pinnacle of Wagyu beef performance. The quality of entries each year keeps raising the bar and indicates that as a breed, our commitment to improving eating quality is improving. The WagyuEdge 2020 Conference will be held at the Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast and is shaping up to be another highlight for the Wagyu community and the red meat industry as a whole. We have a great line up of speakers, and as usual the Gala Dinner, Elite Wagyu Sale and Charity Auction are all highlights. It is a great time to learn, connect and catch up with everyone from the industry. I encourage you to consider making the trip. These great events would not be the success they are without the support of our outstanding sponsors. In return, our Sponsors are given the opportunity to reach out to their customers through our print and social media formats, as well as during the Conference itself. If you are considering sponsoring the conference, please contact us. Finally, on behalf of the Board and the Association, I would like to extend to you a safe, enjoyable and hopefully a wet Christmas and New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2020.

Mike Buchanan President Australian Wagyu Association


WELCOME TO THE NEW AWA 2019-2020 BOARD

The Australian Wagyu Association Annual General Meeting was held 25 November, 2019 and heralds in the release of the AWA Strategic Plan 2020-2025 which sets the guidelines for business operations for the Board and staff to support, promote and advance the production of Wagyu. To lead us through the initial phasing-in of the Strategic Plan in 2020, the AWA is delighted to announce our 13th President, Mike Buchanan, effective as of the 26th of November 2019.

OFFICE BEARERS FOR THE 2019-20 PERIOD President Mike Buchanan Senior Vice President John Spreadborough Junior Vice President Sharon Oates Treasurer Charles Perry Board Directors Peter Cabassi Gina Lincoln (newly appointed) Dean Pollard (newly appointed)

Sharon Oates Lorna Tomkinson Chantal Winter

ABOUT OUR PRESIDENT Mike Buchanan and his wife Maggie own Ginjo Wagyu, a fullblood seedstock and feeder operation which commenced in 1998, on properties in the Tea Gardens and Gloucester areas of the NSW Mid North Coast. Joining up to 200 FB cows in good years the aim is to replicate leading Japanese sires and target early growth, carcase weight, marbling and maternal traits. Ginjo genetics and live exports have achieved global success since 2008. Mike has been on the AWA Board since 2014. “In 2020 my AWA focus will be on the continuing improvement of our suite of EBVs, Indexes and other selection tools. Plus a new strategic emphasis on measuring and maintaining genetic diversity in the Australian Japanese Black herd”, Mike said.

MEET OUR NEWLY APPOINTED DIRECTORS Gina Lincoln is a well-respected consultant to the beef industry. Gina has extensive experience in feedlot management and Fullblood herds, having spent 12 years as general manager of

Peechelba Beef Feedlot and seven years with Blackmore Wagyu overseeing the breeding, feeding and operations of the company. Gina has extensive Board experience having served with the Australian Lotfeeders Association, Pfizer Animal Health Board and is the current Southern Campdraft President. Her hands-on experience with Wagyu will be a welcome addition to the AWA Board. Dean Pollard is synonymous with Sahara Park Wagyu, breeding Fullblood genetics for the past five years and a member of the AWA since 2012. A keen advocate for BREEDPLAN, Dean is keen to improve the overall Wagyu genetics for the Australian industry. Based in central Queensland as a mining and agricultural company director, Dean will bring business acumen and youthful energy, passion and commitment to the Wagyu industry as a Director on the AWA Board.

A BIG THANK YOU The Board and Association would like to extend our appreciation for the tireless work of outgoing Board Directors, Peter Krause and Peter Gilmour. Peter Krause of Sunnyside Wagyu, was elected to the Board in October 2014 and was Chair of the Genetic Improvement Committee from 2015 -2019 overseeing the implementation of Single-Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN and BreedObject $Indexes. These two initiatives have resulted in 60,000 animals now being genotyped with 50K genomics and delivered improvements in EBV accuracy and genetic gain for members. Peter Gilmour of Irongate Wagyu, served as President for the Board between 2015-2018 and was elected to the Board in 2013. Under Peter’s tenure and guidance as President, the Association adopted Single-Step BREEDPLAN, the transition to SNP DNA testing and the commercial introduction of the MIJ objective carcase cameras. Peter drove implementation of corporate governance standards and process improvements as the company grew significantly during that period. Peter provided a high level of commercial diplomacy and professional leadership. The Australian Wagyu Association bids farewell to Peter Krause and Peter Gilmour and looks forward to working with Dean and Gina. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

5


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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

practicalsystems.com.au/stockbook


WAGYU - WORLD'S LUXURY BEEF OUR NEW STRATEGIC PLAN 2020-2025 IS UNVEILED AND SETS OUT THE DYNAMIC DIRECTION AND INTENT OF THE AWA

Throughout 2019, the Australian Wagyu Association Board has worked with the Haines Centre for Strategic Management to prepare our Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

focus on whole supply chain connections and innovation. The term Wagyu owns the luxury beef mindspace and we definitely want to reinforce this into the future.

A strategic plan sets the direction and priorities for an organisation. It identifies the common goals to work toward for stakeholders and employees and sets out the underpinning values the organisation wants to uphold whilst conducting its business.

Our corporate purpose has also become clearer; “Support, Promote and Advance Wagyu production”. These three key objectives form a whole that is greater than the sum of these parts as each one is interrelated and mutually reinforcing. We have presented them pictorially as part of a continuous improvement cycle, with the activities supporting each objective and feeding forward to inform the next stage in the cycle. Achieving a more strategic distribution of effort toward these key AWA activities was an important realisation emerging from the planning process.

It is the role of the Board to establish the Strategic Plan so that annual operating plans can be developed and aligned to the corporate road map. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” Lewis Carroll Much has happened to our industry during the past five years. The AWA has grown and responded to challenges during this time. It is a given that many new challenges and opportunities lay ahead. Our strategic planning process has updated our understanding of these elements. We have also analysed the implications and relevance of these for our members as well as their changing needs for the life of the new plan. This plan is, however, just the first iteration of a “living and breathing” plan for both our current and future directors and our staff. It serves as a template for regular review, and planning new activity within the context of this agreed strategic direction. An important development arising from this work has been a commitment by the Board to re-position the company to better serve all members. This work involves updating our primary logo tagline to “the world’s luxury beef” and removing “the marbling breed”. The purpose of this repositioning is to support our increasing

Our AWA Strategic Plan 2020-2025 consolidates progress made during the past five years and highlights new strategies to tackle the five corporate goals that are core to the future purpose of the company: GOAL ONE

GROWING MEMBER ENGAGEMENT To provide value for our diverse membership by improving their business outcomes

GOAL TWO

ADVANCE AND PROTECT OUR CRITICAL GENETIC RESOURCES To leverage our greatest asset for the future viability of our breed and industry

GOAL THREE

DEFINE THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF WAGYU To demonstrate the superior performance of the product and its provenance

GOAL FOUR

PROVIDE DATA LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT To advocate for integrated data standards and open exchange between supply chain partners

GOAL FIVE

BUILD THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU LANGUAGE To enable the whole supply chain to capture the true value of Wagyu

Each of these corporate goals will act as a reference point for the work of our CEO and staff. The strategies and outcomes associated with each goal will be the primary means and the measures that we will use to move forward and track our progress from 2020 to 2025. Equally important are the core values that we expect to guide the behaviour of our Board, our members and our staff as we work to fulfil this Strategic Plan. They have been carefully selected to describe our accountability for an organisations culture built on the four pillars of Integrity, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Innovation. These are the foundations to make us stronger together for the next five years. I would like to thank the CEO and all the directors for their contribution throughout the year and now commend this strategic plan to you. Pete Cabassi

Chair, Strategic Planning Committee Australian Wagyu Association ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

7


2020-2025 AWA Strategic Plan

OUR OBJECTIVE GOAL ONE

SUPPORT How we serve our members and industry

GROWING MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

OUR PURPOSE

CHART-NETWORK

STRATEGIES

Support, Promote Advance Wagyu production

Ellipsis-H-Alt Deliver timely services Ellipsis-H-Alt Serve global membership Ellipsis-H-Alt Educate and communicate

PROMOTE

ADVANCE

Share knowledge and success

Improve, preserve and leverage

Ellipsis-H-Alt Promote our products

and services

Ellipsis-H-Alt Support the next generation

OUTCOMES Ellipsis-H-Alt Increase member support

and satisfaction

Ellipsis-H-Alt Improved uptake of services

as the benchmark provider

Ellipsis-H-Alt Responsive delivery of services Ellipsis-H-Alt World leading genetic improvement Ellipsis-H-Alt Enable world’s luxury beef status

SUPPORT

Ellipsis-H-Alt Improved use of marketing

and communications

Ellipsis-H-Alt Retention and growth of

younger members

Ellipsis-H-Alt Develop our critical genetic resources Ellipsis-H-Alt Lead with exceptional governance

Ellipsis-H-Alt AWA genetic analysis, the global standard Ellipsis-H-Alt Advocate for improved industry systems Ellipsis-H-Alt Capture objective data, share and

PROMOTE

benchmark

Ellipsis-H-Alt Uphold the world’s luxury beef

Trust in AWA Honesty and efficiency Transparency and accountability Strict confidence Uphold Wagyu quality

CHART-NETWORK ADVANCE

8

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

Ellipsis-H-Alt Evolve and innovate AWA services Ellipsis-H-Alt Industry partnerships for improved descriptions Ellipsis-H-Alt Advocate and guide enhancement of Wagyu

through research

Ellipsis-H-Alt Leverage external resource to accelerate Wagyu

Develop new and young members

INTEGRITY


OUR CORPORATE GOALS GOAL TWO

GOAL THREE

GOAL FOUR

GOAL FIVE

ADVANCE AND PROTECT CRITICAL GENETIC RESOURCES

UNIQUE QUALITIES

DATA LEADERSHIP

BUILD THE AUSTRALIAN

OF WAGYU

AND MANAGEMENT

WAGYU LANGUAGE

STRATEGIES

STRATEGIES

STRATEGIES

STRATEGIES

Ellipsis-H-Alt Provenance and integrity

Ellipsis-H-Alt Improve data capture

Ellipsis-H-Alt Build Wagyu description

systems

Ellipsis-H-Alt Refine genetic analyses Ellipsis-H-Alt Expand selection traits Ellipsis-H-Alt Develop breed standards Ellipsis-H-Alt Value genetic diversity

Ellipsis-H-Alt Measure quality and

consumer attributes Ellipsis-H-Alt Evidence to influence

and support industry

Ellipsis-H-Alt Optimise genetic gain

OUTCOMES Ellipsis-H-Alt New Wagyu-specific EBVs Ellipsis-H-Alt Commercial production EBVs Ellipsis-H-Alt Carcases meet genetic potential Ellipsis-H-Alt Increase commercial value

of stock

and reporting

for quality and yield

Ellipsis-H-Alt Clarity on data ownership

Ellipsis-H-Alt Influence change to industry

and stewardship

systems for Wagyu

Ellipsis-H-Alt Value-add data through

Ellipsis-H-Alt Advocate and represent

analysis and results

Wagyu in industry

OUTCOMES

OUTCOMES

OUTCOMES

Ellipsis-H-Alt The unique qualities of

Ellipsis-H-Alt Improved information and

Ellipsis-H-Alt Capture the full value

Wagyu are described Ellipsis-H-Alt Data and evidence support

the Wagyu supply chains Ellipsis-H-Alt Projects and resources

Ellipsis-H-Alt Improved rate of genetic gain

secured to accelerate the Wagyu sector

data flow for the supply chain Ellipsis-H-Alt Improved descriptions of

production, carcase and eating quality

of Wagyu Ellipsis-H-Alt Industry systems better

accommodate Wagyu Ellipsis-H-Alt Industry recognises the

Ellipsis-H-Alt Increased efficiency and

lower cost of data transfer

unique production and quality attributes of Wagyu

OUR VALUES Special purpose and value

Accountable and responsive

Strive to be at the cutting edge

Working to the whole industry

Respect member rights and needs

Identify and learn from success

Sharing methods, outcomes and data

Prompt, efficient and effective service

Think outside the square

High value services to the supply chain

Apply knowledge and technology

Courage to take the leap

Supporting Wagyu industry language and standards development

Expertise and advocacy for the Wagyu industry

Seek and capture new opportunities

INCLUSIVENESS

PROFESSIONALISM

INNOVATION

ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

9


ceo update

Dr. MATTHEW McDONAGH

ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS Dear Members, It was great to see many of you at the recent Nutrition and Genetics Workshop in Brisbane to learn from high calibre presentations by leading nutrition and genetics speakers relevant to the Wagyu industry. AWA reported its financial and operational outcomes for the 2019 Financial year as part of the Annual General Meeting in the afternoon. The AWA has seen very modest growth in 2019 Financial year, reflecting the continued hardship across much of the east coast of Australia. Marginal increases in total turnover and net assets of the Company were reported to members. The full-year result for the AWA was impacted by forced reduction in research investments through projects with Meat and Livestock Australia. The AWA is continuing to develop new innovations for members through the vital Net Feed Intake Project with Kerwee Feedlot and the Crossbred Wagyu Genomics Project. These investments will underpin our future growth as an industry by improving the tools available to our members. We have been fortunate as a business to have appointed Ms. Jeanette Rawlings as Chief Financial Officer of the AWA in March 2019. Jeanette has outstanding qualifications and experience in corporate financial reporting and in previously owning her own Canberra-based accounting practice. Jeanette presented the audited financials of AWA to the AGM including the implementation complex new accounting standards within the FY2019 reporting period that will enable 10

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

improved management and reporting on our accounts during FY2020.

Single Step Wagyu BREEDPLAN,

During FY2019, we have consolidated on the transition from MiP to SNP DNA testing. AWA has now received 60,000 genomic DNA profiles from its members to underpin Wagyu BREEDPLAN analyses. We have improved turnaround times for members during FY2019 and now report results within 4-6 weeks on average.

are substantially improved along with

Being a public, member-based company, member service is at the core of our business and we continue to strive to improve our service provision to you.

increases in accuracy for EBVs reported better estimated breeding values. » Animal searches using BREEDPLAN figures exceeded 1,000,000 reflecting a 25% increase from FY2018 and continued growth in use of genomics and Wagyu BREEDPLAN genetic selection tools. » Total AWA member numbers reached 726 and Herdbook registrations grew by 10% to 13,872. Wagyu now is ranked as the fourth largest Breed based on

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FY2019 OPERATION

primary (Herdbook) animal registrations

» The 2019 WagyuEdge conference in

Registered Cattle Breeders’ Association

Adelaide SA saw a total of 430 delegates in attendance, with approximately 30% of delegates attending an AWA conference for the first time. 180 delgates participated in the postconference tour to Mayura and Sher Wagyu. The AWA conference continues to be one of the major annual Australian Beef Industry events. » Implementation of BreedObject $Indexes was completed during FY2019, allowing members to use complete profit-based selection indexes for Self-Replacing Breeding, Fullblood Terminal and F1 Terminal production systems. » Genomic testing numbers reach 60,000 in total through member DNA testing requests on their cattle. In concert with

in Australia according to the Australian 2018 end of year report. » 2019 Wagyu Breeding Guide published as a significant revision to the 2015 Breeding Guide, with monthly animal tables provided online. » The Wagyu Feed Calculator App developed and published within the App Store and on Google Play to enable members to better manage early life and pre-feedlot nutrition. » DNA testing prices were reduced across genomic testing platforms and bundle packages for Wagyu traits and conditions. » There has been no increase in membership or registration fees across Financial Years 2018, 2019 or 2020.


HONOURING A QUIET ACHIEVER As nominated by the Board to the members are the 2019 AGM, Mr Arthur Dew was accepted as the AWA 2019 Honorary Life Member. Arthur has been a long-time innovator and contributor to the Wagyu industry, being one of the early AWA members joining the Association in 1996. Arthur served on the Board in the 2011/12 period and to date, Arthur’s Longford Station has 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. Arthur is well respected by his peers for his knowledge of genetics and ability to extrapolate to produce outstanding Fullblood bulls and his contributions to the betterment of the Australian Wagyu industry.

CHANGES TO DNA TESTING PROVIDERS The Australian Wagyu Association is pleased to announce that Neogen, Xytovet and Zoetis are now recognised laboratories for DNA testing through the AWA. All three companies offer genomics products, effective 29th November, 2019. The data provided by all three companies is fully compatible with AWA and BREEDPLAN systems. The addition of Zoetis as a new provider to Neogen Australasia and Xytovet as existing DNA test providers, will give members greater flexibility in choosing their preferred service provider. Members are able to select the DNA testing service provider of their choice from the AWA DNA Test Request form on the website.

2020 WAGYUEDGE CONFERENCE – ROYAL PINES RESPORT – GOLD COAST QUEENSLAND The WagyuEdge 2020 Annual Conference for 29 April – 1 May, 2020 at Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast. Following on from the successful format for 2019 in Adelaide, it will be another high-quality 3-day

Conference. The event will include a day of informative workshops and applied technical information, followed by 2-days of wellrespected academic and industry speakers. Early Bird registration is now open.

This year, the AWA will be awarding a

The Elite Wagyu Sale will be held on the afternoon of Day 2, followed by the Gala Dinner, Charity Auction and the announcement of the Wagyu Branded Beef Competition medallists.

be awarded for academic achievement and

Sadly, the decision has been made to not hold a post-conference tour this year, given the prevailing difficult conditions. With the extreme drought over the last two years across much of the east coast and the ongoing fire events, conditions on-farm are not conducive to large industry tour group visits. Should things improve in the short-term and opportunities present to undertake post-conference activities, a tour event may still be organised.

to the Australian Wagyu industries

WAGYU FELLOWSHIP TO OFFER NEW FELLOWSHIP CATEGORY OPPORTUNITIES

Scholarship Program is designed to attract

The Wagyu Fellowship is the AWAs mechanism to provide development opportunities for young people within the Wagyu Industry and is supported by Member donations through the annual AWA Charity Auction.

relevant to improving the Wagyu industry.

The establishment of a Wagyu Fellowship was for the advancement of younger people involved in the Wagyu industry, including producers and academics. A Wagyu Fellowship provides funding to undertake travel intrastate, interstate or overseas for a minimum of four and a maximum of about eight weeks to conduct research into a topic that the applicant is passionate about and has experience in. Its objectives are to: 1. Develop younger leaders for the Wagyu industry. 2. Increase the education, experience and skills within the Wagyu industry. 3. Develop lasting friendships across the international Wagyu industry. 4. Advance knowledge and learning in the Wagyu industry.

traditional Wagyu Fellowship, along with considering applicants for inaugural Wagyu Fellowship – Postgraduate Scholarships. Up to two Postgraduate Scholarships will tertiary qualifications in research projects aligned to the Wagyu Industry. The awards will facilitate research and training in areas of practical value in Genetics, Meat Science, Human Nutrition, Management and Production, Reproduction and Breeding. The awards are designed to be provided as ‘top up’ to remuneration held by students already in receipt of an Australian Government Research Training Program scholarship or as a ‘technical’ scholarship to fund research activities undertaken by the student. The Wagyu Fellowship – Postgraduate the best beef-research post-graduate students in Australia to undertake research More information on this program will be provided shortly

UPDATE FROM THE OFFICE It has been a great pleasure to work with the members during 2019. I am amazed by the resilience of our members who have faced crippling drought, fire and flood this year and who have continued to engage positively and professionally with the staff in the office to help us deliver services to you. We will continue to work on improving our services and providing high quality information and products in line with our operations to deliver the new AWA 20202025 Strategic Plan to Support, Promote and Advance the production of Wagyu under the direction of our new Board. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you shortly after the New Year at WagyuEdge 2020 on the Gold Coast.

Dr. Matt McDonagh

Chief Executive Officer Australian Wagyu Association ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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2019

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CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN WAGYU BEEF PRODUCTION ENTRY OPENS FOR 2020 COMPETITION It is that time of year again, when the Australian Wagyu Association calls for entries into the Wagyu Branded Beef Competition for 2020. The only branded beef competition supported by a breed association, the Wagyu Branded Beef Competition is an opportunity to benchmark your product against your peers. Celebrating Fullblood, Crossbred and Commercial Classes, the competition seeks to promote excellence in Wagyu beef production for producers and brand owners. The categories are 1. Fullblood Japanese Black Steak 2. Open Crossbred Wagyu Steak

physical sensation in your mouth. Last year saw the highest scores ever achieved within the Branded Beef Competition, across all categories of entry, with the judges remarking at the consistently outstanding quality put forward. Corporate Executive Chef, John Alexander will once again preside at the judging, which this year will take place at Cha Cha Char Wine Bar & Grill, Brisbane on March 17, 2020 and the winners announced at the annual conference WagyuEdge 2020 Gala Dinner, to be held Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, 31 April - 2 May, 2020.

3. Commercial Wagyu Steak marble score 5-7 In addition to Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for each category, Category Champion awards will be awarded to the highest scoring entry in each category. The highest scoring Category Champion will be awarded the Grand Champion Award. Terms and Conditions for the competition can be found on the AWA Website. Wagyu beef is characterised by its large eye-muscle and unique high-quality fine marbling and characteristic umami flavour, giving an exceptional eating experience. To be true to Wagyu as the ‘world’s luxury beef ’ the decision has been made to not include the Gourmet Sausage class for 2020. Judging of the Wagyu beef is based on five criteria: visual appeal (raw and cooked), juiciness, flavour, aroma and the

ENTRY FORMS Entry forms can be completed through the AWA Branded Beef Competition website. Entries close 14 February, 2020.

ENTER ONLINE

»

WWW.WAGYU.ORG.AU

EVENTS > WAGYU BRANDED BEEF COMPETITION

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to be in touch with Ron Fitzgerald WBBC Coordinator 0428 456 293 salisburywagyu1@bigpond.com

ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


ANNUAL AWA CONFERENCE

APRIL 29 - 1 MAY 2020

WagyuEdge ANNUAL CONFERENCE The Australian Wagyu Association annual conference – WagyuEdge 2020, builds on the vision to support, promote and advance Wagyu - the world’s luxury beef. From breeder to consumer, the conference is one of the most anticipated events on the Australian red meat industry calendar, bringing together noted speakers, stakeholders and delegates from around the world.

WHAT IS PLANNED? The conference has many highlights including the announcement of the Wagyu Branded Beef Competition medallists, the Gala Dinner and Charity Auction and the Elite Wagyu Sale – the pinnacle of Australian Wagyu genetics. Sticking to the popular 3-day format from the outstanding Adelaide 2019 event, the Conference will incorporate Workshops and speakers on DAY 1, covering detailed aspects related to the breeding and production of Wagyu. DAY 2 and 3 will bring noted academic and industry speakers to give insight into the greater

Wagyu industry from Japanese production systems through to retail. To cap off DAY 2, the Elite Wagyu Sale will be conducted live and online, featuring the top 5% of Australian genetics and special interest genetics. After what will be an intense day of learning and trading, the Gala Dinner is the highlight of the social aspect of the Conference, where the announcement of the 2020 Wagyu Branded Beef Competition will be made, as well as the Charity Auction, supporting the Royal Flying Doctors’ Service and Wagyu Fellowship.

Become a Sponsor partner The conference in previous years has proven to be a great success with around 430 delegates for the 2019 Adelaide Conference, and extensive media coverage. It is through the generous support of sponsors that we are able to provide the Wagyu industry with an engaging conference program. We invite you to consider your opportunity to take part in this event by referring to our Sponsorship Prospectus and take advantage of the coverage that such an event can bring to your organisation. Opportunities exist for Day, Platinum, Gold and Silver partnerships. For more information

WWW.WAGYU.ORG.AU

EVENTS > WagyuEdge 2020 CONFERENCE

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AWA RECOGNISES AN HONOURABLE MAN HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP

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

Arthur Dew of Longford Station

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. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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ORGANICS AND WAGYU A PARTNERSHIP IN HEALTH AND SOIL

Rob Lennon produces 75% Wagyu content cattle aiming for 240-290kg carcase weight.

Organic production systems have not generally been the focus of Wagyu beef production, given that most producers focus on marbling to meet customer expectations for eating quality. A shift in thinking of Wagyu beef as a healthy protein, and less about the intensely high marble scores and the realm of organic certification becomes interesting. Such is the case for Gundooee Organics, a Wagyu beef operation that has been certified organic for the past 15 years. Not one for convention, owner of Gundooee Organics, Rob Lennon, felt that there was always potential with Wagyu to partner with organics, based on emphasising environment, soil management and the health benefits of the beef. As a result, his focus has been on nurturing the farm to make the soil the best it can be to grow deep-rooted native perennial grasses, which in turn, with good management, provide the cattle with the pasture they need with minimal supplemental feeding. Rob’s Wagyu herd is based on F1 Angus breeders, crossed with Fullblood bulls, to give 75% Wagyu content. In doing so, Rob’s cattle experience hybrid vigour, no calf scours and the paternal traits of his bulls. Not one for genetic data, his neighbour, Rick Hunter of Bald Ridge Wagyu keeps an eye on the genetics.

Organically certified beef means that Rob’s entire supply chain must also be certified – including the abattoir and the organic retail butcher. His nearest organic certified abattoir does not have the capacity to process carcasses greater than 300kg hcwt, so Rob aims for a carcase weight of between 240-290kg. Marble score is typically in the order of two to four, although they can be as high as 7 when genetic potential can be fully realised. Gundooee Organic beef is sold predominantly in and around Sydney through butchers that share Rob’s vision of full nose to tail usage. Butchers and restaurants buy the beef as half or full bodies, not as boxed beef. “Primal cuts are easy to sell, but it is harder for the butcher to gain value from the whole body,” said Rob. “The more switched on stockists will use everything – bones to make broth, render the fat, or use trim for sausages. Being organic means that they have a point of difference for healthconscious customers. I work with the butcher to assign the right carcase to the butcher who can best utilise

Being organic means our stockists have a point of difference for health-conscious customers.

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Organics and Wagyu

it. For most, carcase weight and fat score are the priority, next is meat and fat colour, and finally age and tenderness – eye muscle area and marbling are not considered when allocating carcasses as everyone wants the same thing.” In essence, Rob’s focus is not on marble score – although he has achieved MS 7 with older steers – but more on providing his customers that prefer an Aussie-style steak that is healthier and organic for all Australians for special occasions.

ORGANIC CERTIFICATION PROCESS Rob’s organic journey started not long after taking on the 2,000-acre Gundooee property in 1998, located 85km north of Mudgee, NSW and has now been certified organic and producing Wagyu for the past 15 years. Rob Lennon, Gundooee Organics believes that organic certification and soil management work well with Wagyu to provide the health benefits to his farm and his customers.

The soil is mainly basalt with native perennial temperate grasses. A combination of organic and regenerative agriculture practices means that – even without good rain – Rob is able to provide the feed for appropriate stocking rates with minimal supplements or outsourced feed. Under organic certification, Rob can use up to 5% dry matter feed in a 12-month period in a dry time.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


The St Ivan fire of 2017 February 2017 was a pretty bad time for the communities of western NSW, where a ferocious bushfire destroyed 35 homes, many of these in Uarbry, burned out 55,000 hectares, 5,700kms of fencing and a large loss of livestock including sheep, cattle and goats. The area was declared a natural disaster, and the worst fire in NSW’s history at the time.

Regenerative agriculture, soil management and careful stock management means that even in tougher times, Gundooee Organics still has feed available.

The philosophy of organic and regenerative agriculture is about observing natural systems and patiently encouraging what grows naturally, rather than focusing on the negative or removing what you don’t want. What that means is that herbicides and pesticides are not acceptable, nor acid-based fertilisers and GM – the organic certification standards outline what inputs can and can’t be used. Soil improvement and passive management aims to build humus and carbon levels to encourage the microbe activity, increasing the health of the soil, it’s ability to infiltrate and retain moisture and minimise erosion. Basalt soils are notorious for cracking when it is dry if it is has been heavily tilled and lacks dry matter and aggregate or crumb structure. Rob has found that by increasing the soil health, even now in the tough times, the soil is holding moisture and producing grass.

TO GAIN ORGANIC CERTIFICATION, IS A TWO-STAGE PROCESS » Make the decision to undertake certification and contact a Certification Organisation to assess your property. There are six companies that can audit to the Australian Certified Organic Standard. Some can also give certification for export products. Once the process is begun, there is a 12-month precertification time period to be observed while you get your house in order based on the recommendations of the original assessment. » After the pre-certification period, the property moves into the in-conversion phase, which lasts for two years. During that time, the certification body will perform audits on the property to ensure compliance. At the end of the twoyear period, assuming all is well, the property and products can be labelled as organic. Audits are conducted every year thereafter. Once given full certification, organic companies can use the ‘bud’ logo that characterises organic certification in their branding and marketing.

Gundooee Organics was in direct line of the fire and lost everything but the acre around the house. Rob was fortunate to realise the severity of the fire in time to have the cattle evacuated by friends to a neighbouring farm (and later to other organic farms) and resulted in limited loss of cattle life. On a Feather and Bone butcher shop blog, a keen supporter and stockist of Gundooee Organics, blogger Laura Dalrymple said at the time that: “From our pampered perspective, watching the footage of the fire and imagining the worst, saving the house and cattle with no significant loss of life all seemed like a victory snatched from the jaws of the flaming monster. But, for Rob, staring across his charred landscape, it's clearly not that simple. “The horses are gone, no one knows where. All the grass is burned so there is no feed for his cattle which are now split into three herds with significant additional cost and logistical challenges. 65 kilometres of fencing was destroyed and will need to be replaced along with a long list of other infrastructure equipment before his cattle can return to the farm. The next three or four months will be very taxing as he works to take stock of the damage, re-build the farm and get everything back on track.” Laura also noted that critical to all of this was the need to preserve the herd’s organic certification, which required organically certified feed. Two and a half years on, Rob, his three kids, the farm and surrounding communities are all recovering from the fire, but like many in NSW is marking time until it rains. Given his pasture status, Rob had the foresight to destock through agistment early and believes he is in a relatively good place to move forward with Spring rain. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE, WAGYU THRIVE THIRTY YEARS OF HISTORY HAS SHOWN THAT FULLBLOOD AND PUREBRED WAGYU ARE PRETTY ADAPTABLE AT COPING WITH AUSTRALIA’S WEATHER EXTREMES, BUT AS OUR WEATHER PATTERNS CHANGE, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THEY ARE GIVEN EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE TO THRIVE.

Anecdotally, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Wagyu do well in northern Queensland right down to the cooler temperatures of Tasmania. However, the scientific research to support the evidence is somewhat lacking. Classified as Bos taurus, along with other European breeds such as Angus and Hereford, the assumption would be that Wagyu are not heat tolerant. Many of the northern Wagyu pioneers crossed Fullbloods with Brahman in the belief it would enable the cattle to cope with the heat, and there is no doubt that the introduction of Bos indicus cross Wagyu has been beneficial in many Northern production systems. However, there is no shortage of Fullblood and Purebred Wagyu in central to northern Queensland that are performing well and have done so for a long time. Wally Rae (AWA Hall of Fame member) and Peter Hughes and his family (Hughes Pastoral) are two notable AWA members that have been producing Wagyu at scale in the northern tropics since the 90’s. In Japanese production systems, Wagyu are typically penned undercover, pampered and raised on a concentrate and roughage-based system for pretty much all of their lives. Translating these animals from selection to perform under intense Japanese management systems to low-input extensive grazing systems across the full range of Australian climatic conditions should have been a difficult task. However, for the early pioneers it was a pleasant surprise to see Wagyu grazing in Queensland’s outback and in some cases performing better than the Brahman. At an academic level, speculation as to why Wagyu are more adept than their Taurus cousins ranges from the nature of their coat, the tendency to lay down intramuscular fat reserves rather than subcutaneous fat and a different metabolic rate and maintenance needs. The true answer is unknown, but one that many are keen to understand.

In an article published in 2018, US veterinarian Dr Jimmy Horner observed that: ... the Wagyu breed is known for soft, elastic hides and fine, soft hair along with lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels than most other “Bos taurus” cattle breeds which aids in dealing with heat stress. Most black Wagyu cattle are not impacted by heat stress until ambient temperatures reach 75°F (24°C) or the “Heat Index” is above 80. Japanese Brown Wagyu (Akaushi) cattle appear to be able to tolerate slightly higher temperatures than black Wagyu which likely explains the fact that most of these cattle are located primarily in southern Japan which is more tropical than northern regions and temperatures can reach well above 100°F (38°C) with 60% plus relative humidity during summer months …

Dr Horner readily admits that his thoughts are speculative, but did explain that he had worked with Wagyu in the US since 1994 and has visited hundreds of farms in Japan in that time. I personally believe Wagyu originally serving the role as draft animals for Japanese farmers probably lends some influence on their ability to adapt to various environmental challenges. I also think the extreme variation in Japan’s climate could have contributed to this inherent ability as well. By traversing the ranges of the environmental spectrum in Japan, one can go from a somewhat frigid climate similar to Minnesota/Wisconsin in Hokkaido (northern Japan) all the way to one comparable to Georgia/ Florida in a more tropical Kyushu (southern Japan). I’m sure there are variations in the abilities of the different strains of Wagyu in adapting to and handling the various temperature extremes, but overall, in my personal experience this breed is definitely highly adaptable to whatever situation in which they are placed. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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Rain, hail or shine, Wagyu thrive

The sentiment is echoed by Australian feedlotters specialising in Wagyu, who have noted that Wagyu are more resilient in the heat, but also less susceptible to ticks, suggesting that perhaps the hide is the key factor. Many have observed that Wagyu feeders don’t chase shade and continue to feed whilst other cattle hole up under shade structures. Down south, Alex Hammond at Robbins Island Wagyu says that wind chill and the wet winters are the key weather factors in Tasmania. Taking advantage of the coastal dunes, Wagyu can escape the cold winter winds, but in Summer when the temperature can still reach the high 20°C’s, it is the Wagyu out foraging, while the Angus are showing signs of heat stress.

SE ASONAL R AINFALL ZONES SHIF T ACROSS AUSTR ALIA SINCE 2000

CLIMATE CLASSES

SUMMER DOMINANT SUMMER UNIFORM WINTER WINTER DOMINANT WHEATBELT BOUNDARY CHANGE 2000-2015 COMPARED TO 1990-1999 AUSTRALIAN SEASONAL RAINFALL ZONES BASED ON RAINFALL DATA 1990-1999

CHANGING WEATHER PATTERNS Most generational farmers around the country would be aware that over the years the seasons have changed; droughts bite harder and floods are more inundating. In 2016 a study was conducted by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre to map seasonal rainfall zones and the changes in a 15 year period. Utilising data from the BoM, the period 1990-1999 in Figure 1a, shows the typical rainfall of the day. In the period 2000-2015 it is evident that the lower rainfall zones of northern Australia have shifted southward, highlighted by the orange band that now extends into southern Queensland and northern NSW, reducing winter rainfall by as much as 10-30%. As temperatures increase in the tropics, the further the hot air reaches away from the equator with increased evaporation, clear skies and stability. Termed the Hadley Cell, the high pressure system generated is coincident with sub-tropical deserts, including Australia’s. A further consequence of this broadening higher pressure is an inability for cold fronts from the south to push further up the continent. The flow on effects for southern Australia include shorter winter months for rain, and hot and drier summers which impact on pasture and rangelands as well as heat and water stress for livestock. 24

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

AUSTRALIAN SEASONAL RAINFALL ZONES BASED ON RAINFALL DATA 2000-2015

LONG TERM STRATEGIES TO HELP CATTLE COPE FEEDLOTS Accredited feedlots in Australia must abide by the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme, which outlines the care and management of cattle. Animal welfare of cattle in the feedlot require that shade be available for hot weather, good drainage for wet weather to avoid foot problems and the use of water spraying to keep dust down. Professor Richard Eckard, a climate specialist for livestock at University of Melbourne, says that caution should be taken with water spraying as it can raise the level of humidity, if incorrectly applied, within a feedlot environment. With much of his research surrounding dairy cattle, Dr Eckard believes there is many lessons to be learned from that industry, including monitoring of milk production in cattle as an indication of stress due to weather patterns. Milk production in dairy cattle decreases noticeably when animals are under heat or cold stress. “One of the scenarios for the near future in the inland dairy industry is the ratio of cattle in confinement feeding systems compared to grazed pasture,” said Dr Eckard. “Cattle may be shedded more often in sheds that are cooled or equipped with fans, in these hotter inland regions, while irrigation water is


Signs of Heat Stress check Bunching or grouping under shade (if it is available)

check Excessive salivation check Panting check Open mouth breathing check Less grazing and eating activity check Increased water consumption check Crowding around water resources check Increased urination

check Refusal to lie down

reserved for when pasture is best able to utilise it, rather than flood irrigation in the summer months.”

(or Winter). Hammonds have opted to time calving for later in the

For Wagyu, given their ability to cope, there is little evidence of decreased performance, however, Alex has seen a slight step down by half a marble score in the hotter months. Bearing that in mind, when Robbins Island cattle are sent to the feedlot near Echuca, the temperature difference in Summer can be as high 15 °C. The decision is made in this case to delay the transfer for a couple of days to allow the weather to cool down.

typical of late Winter.

According to Dr Eckard, it is not just the day time heat that can cause heat stress, but if it does not cool down sufficiently overnight, cattle struggle to offload the cumulative effects of daytime heat. An overnight temperature in the order of 21 °C or less will enable cattle to cope better with the heat. Dairy Australia’s CoolCow program suggests that black-coated cattle will absorb more solar radiation, but will re-radiate heat more effectively at night. ON-FARM The principles of shade and shelter in the feedlot can be extended to the farm, with planting of trees in appropriate positions to enable Wagyu ready access. Many farmers may undertake tree planting as part of the carbon budget, but the added value proposition, according to Dr Eckard, is improved productivity for livestock, including less weight loss and improved fertility, which in research he has seen, outweighed the income from carbon sequestering. In addition, studies by the University of Western Australia found that on a 1,000 ha property, 20% native vegetation added around 5% resale value to the property. It is likely that centuries of selective breeding based on observation in the days of Wagyu used as draught animal in Japan has evolved into more robust cattle.

Spring to minimise calf losses due to the cold and wet conditions, When it comes to feed and rations, Dr Horner recommends that cattle be fed more rations in the cool of evening, to reduce the metabolic heat load through the heat of the day. High quality forage or pasture during summer also reduces heat load as they are easier to digest. Additives that aid digestion such as yeast, or probiotics may also be worth considering.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


ASPIRATIONS FOR YOUNG BREED LEADERSHIP DELEGATE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES

Education, personal development and taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves go a long way to developing our future leaders in the Wagyu industry.

“We also had an in-depth look at BREEDPLAN and the use of Single Step and how it is used for EBVs. When we first started with Wagyu a few years ago on our farm, I had to figure a lot of it out myself.”

One such opportunity is the Young Breed Leaders Workshop offered every two years by the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders’ Association. Intended to prepare participants for management and Board roles in the cattle breeding industry it covers the latest in genetic and digital technology, farm visits, and practical exercises in decision making.

Other topics covered in the Workshop were carcase grading and the latest camera imaging technologies to automate abattoirs, as well as farm visits. One such visit was to Bald Blair, one of the oldest Angus studs in the region to see firsthand the benefits of data recording, as well as a presentation from Charlie Perry (AWA Board member and Treasurer) on data recording for Wagyu at Trent Bridge. Charlie attended the Young Leadership Workshop in 2017.

The Association was pleased to offer a future Wagyu leader an opportunity to travel to Armidale to participate in this year’s course. Jonathan Meron calls Olive Grove Wagyu, at Goondiwindi, QLD, home. An agribusiness graduate of University of New England and a relatively recent convert to Wagyu, Jonathan recognised the benefits that could be gained from attending the Workshop for his family’s business and to give input into the Association. “I wanted to do the Young Leadership program to get a more in-depth insight into the cattle industry,” said Jonathon. “Your background in cattle wasn’t important as the program looked more at the management side of communicating with people and how a breed society Board operates. “We covered a lot of information, especially at UNE’s Smart Farm Innovation Centre, where we looked at emerging technologies such as cattle tracking through ear tags; walk-over weighing, virtual fencing and pasture mapping.

AWA was proud to sponsor Jonathan Meron to take part in the Young Breed Leadership Workshop for 2019.

I wanted to do the Young Leadership program to get a more in-depth insight into the cattle industry. depth as what we need and what we are used to in Wagyu. Wagyu needs to focus on getting the very best result out of the carcase, whereas for some breeds, that is not always the case. So, for me, hearing about BREEDPLAN and EBVs reinforced

For practical experience, the delegates took part in a project design scenario to bring their new found knowledge together, and to present their recommendations to the rest of the participants.

what I already knew.”

“We were a group of eight, like a Board structure, and our scenario was to recommend to an investor the best way forward for a 500-head stud enterprise. The most interesting aspect of the project was seeing how different people came to the problem with different ideas and solutions, even though we all had the same end goal. Working through the opinions and backgrounds was a great experience.”

ideas with each other and to give each other

One of the most positive outcomes of the Workshop has been the opportunity for Jonathan to network and be part of a social media group that stays in touch to bounce suggestions and encouragement. The information and knowledge Jonathan has gained will help to gain a deeper understanding into his family’s business, to ensure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. For the Association, Jonathan hopes to encourage further development of the younger generation into the Wagyu

For Jonathon, he quickly realised just how much the AWA has provided by way of extension and educational information in terms of carcase grading, BREEDPLAN and breeding strategies through the conferences and workshops staged by the Association that he has attended.

industry, while appreciating the knowledge

“For a lot of the delegates, the information was relatively new, or at least not as in-

Association Board, but for now, I have some

and experience of the older cattlemen. So will Jonathan consider being on the Board in the near future? “Once I have a few more years’ experience I may look to contributing to the Wagyu more learning to do.” ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

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ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


TURNING DATA INTO USEABLE INFORMATION PHENOTYPE

≠ GENOTYPE

The way an animal looks does not equal its genetic merit (the production value of its genes). Animal growth, development and carcase traits like marbling, are heavily impacted by the management conditions that animals are produced under and the health and sickness history of the individual. Whist the saying “You can’t manage it if you don’t measure it” is certainly true, equally, just because you measure it, it doesn’t mean that you can do anything about managing it! That is, unless you can turn measurement data into useful information that you can then use to make good decisions. The key to making genetic improvement in your herd is to turn data into information that can help you make better breeding and selection decisions. Genetic evaluation systems are designed to do this for you by removing the noise in data and determining what the best estimate of genetic merit of an animal is. Genetic evaluation through Wagyu BREEDPLAN uses pedigree, performance data and genomics. It uses data from several sources to calculate the genetic merit of an animal (the Estimated Breeding Value - EBV). This is done using data for many traits and is collected across many herds. In doing this, EBVs can account for the noise across a range of production systems and reflect the best estimate of genetic merit of all animals registered with the Australian Wagyu Association.

Just because you can measure it, it doesn't mean you can do anything about managing it , unless you can turn data into useful information that you can use to make good decisions.

To demonstrate, three typical scenarios have been prepared to illustrate how data contributes to EBVs under different situations. In preparing these scenarios, we acknowledge that each individual in Wagyu BREEDPLAN will have its own specific family structure and performance recording history. As such, the scenarios provided are examples only and are for the purposes of demonstrating the principles of how different sources of data can contribute to EBVs. The scenarios are:

1. How data contributes to the Marble Score EBV of a sire 2. How data contributes to the 200 Day Weight EBV of a sire 3. How data contribute to the Marble Score EBV of a slaughter steer

This article will not focus on how genomics contributes to EBVs, it will focus on the contributions of performance recording only. The impact of genomics on EBVs will be discussed in Genomics – why more performance data? article on page 37 of this issue. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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100 90 80 % CONTRIBUTION TO THE EBV

70 60

FIGURE 1

50

How data contributes to the Marble Score EBV of a typical sire.

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EBV accuracy Progeny data

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1. HOW DOES DATA CONTRIBUTE TO THE MARBLE SCORE EBV OF A SIRE? For a sire, we will never get useable data on his own marbling score, as he will never be slaughtered under standard production practices. We need to estimate his genetic merit using data from his progeny, his relatives and their progeny. The following example is provided to demonstrate how different sources of data contribute to the Marble Score EBV of a

typical sire aptly named ‘TYPICAL”. As with all Wagyu, TYPICAL is part of a family and in his case, he has four full siblings (he was part of an embryo flush with common sire and dam) and 20 half siblings (TYPICAL’s sire was used across 20 different cows). The data contributing to TYPICAL’s sire and dam EBVs and the performance records for the full siblings and half siblings

makes up the pedigree information that contributes to TYPICAL’s EBV when he is first registered with the AWA. As shown in the Blue pedigree line in Figure 1, when TYPICAL has none (0) of his own progeny recorded for Marble Score, all of the information (100%) is coming from the pedigree data and 0% is being contributed from the progeny (green line) of TYPICAL.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


Turning data into useable information

Because there is a good amount of data coming from the pedigree of TYPICAL due to the number of other animals in his family and measurements made on them, the EBV accuracy (red dashed line) for TYPICAL is about 50% before any of his own progeny have Marble Score results recorded. Once TYPICAL begins getting carcase data with Marble Scores submitted for his own progeny, these quickly start to contribute to TYPICAL’s EBV. With five progeny records submitted for TYPICAL, progeny data contributes almost 50% of his EBV, with the pedigree data contributing the other 50%. As performance records on TYPICAL are submitted, the accuracy of the EBV increases to 65% as there is now more information being used to calculate the EBV. As more carcase marble score data for progeny of TYPICAL is submitted to Wagyu BREEDPLAN, the relative weighting on that data continues to rise such that at 50 progeny records, the progeny data contributes 90% of the weighting of the EBV and pedigree information accounts for 10%. EBV accuracy for TYPICAL is then also close to 90% as he is a well recorded sire.

EBV accuracy

FIGURE 2

Progeny data

How data contributes to the 200 Day Weight EBV of a sire.

Pedigree data Animals own data

% CONTRIBUTION TO THE EBV

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

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NUMBER OF PROGENY DATA RECORDS

2. HOW DOES DATA CONTRIBUTE TO THE 200 DAY WEIGHT EBV OF A SIRE? This example will again use TYPICAL, using the same family structure. The difference in this scenario is that we can measure the 200 Day Weight of TYPICAL himself, giving a 200 Day Weight performance record for TYPICAL as another source of data contributing to his EBV.

29% and 16% respectively.

In Figure 2, when TYPICAL has none (0) of his own progeny recorded for 200 Day Weight and prior to his own data being recorded for 200 Day Weight, all of the information (100%) contributing to the EBV is coming from the pedigree data (blue line).

record continues to contribute a 5% weighting toward the EBV for

Once TYPICAL has his own 200 Day Weight performance record submitted to BREEDPLAN, about 35% of the EBV is contributed by TYPICAL’s own 200 Day Weight record (orange line) and about 65% from his pedigree data (blue line). As progeny of TYPICAL begin to be recorded and start to contribute to TYPICAL’s EBV (green line), the relative contribution of pedigree and TYPICAL’s own data start to reduce. At 10 progeny records, the relative contribution of progeny data to TYPICAL’s EBV is about 55%, with pedigree and TYPICAL’s own record accounting for about

As with TYPICAL’s Marble Score example, as more progeny data for TYPICAL is submitted to Wagyu BREEDPLAN, the relative weighting on that data continues to rise, in this case towards 85% contribution at 50 progeny records. TYPICAL’s own performance 200 Day Weight, along with 10% coming from pedigree data. The 200 Day Weight EBV has a higher heritability (0.4) compared

Genetic merit contributes to phenotype, but is only part of the story and explains why the EBVs (genetic merit) don't exactly match the phenotypic difference of slaughter animals. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

33


to Marble Score (0.3). As a result, the initial accuracy of 200 Day Weight for TYPICAL is higher than that for Marble Score. The addition of TYPICAL’s 200 Day Weight performance record also has a large effect on EBV accuracy. By the time 200 Day Weight data is entered for five progeny, the accuracy of TYPICAL’s 200 Day Weight EBV is close to 80%. The equivalent accuracy for TYPICAL’s Marble Score EBV was 65%.

3. HOW DOES DATA CONTRIBUTE TO THE MARBLE SCORE EBV OF A SLAUGHTER STEER? For this example, we can’t use TYPICAL as he is now a proven sire. We will use a different animal, called USUAL, from a different family. USUAL was castrated and fed out for slaughter in a management group with other animals. USUAL does not have the same large family structure as TYPICAL, hence the accuracy of his EBV prior to any data being recorded is low (about 38%) as shown in Figure 3. USUAL does not have any data from his own progeny that can inform his EBV, hence the green progeny data line is missing from Figure 3. USUAL’s Marble Score EBV will be contributed to by his own Marble Score record (orange line) and his pedigree information (blue line). His pedigree data will be added to over time with the addition of siblings that get recorded.

The point here is that where an animal’s own performance record is available, it does contribute strongly to the EBV, but in the case of a Sire, the performance of good numbers of progeny provide the best estimate of that Sires genetic merit and have the greatest influence on the EBV.

When USUAL was slaughtered, he was slaughtered with other animals in his management group (20 individuals) that included two full siblings and three half siblings. USUAL’s Marble Score data and that of his five siblings was submitted to Wagyu BREEDPLAN. USUAL’s own Marble score record contributed approximately 40% of the EBV (orange line), with information from the pedigree (including data from the five siblings) accounting for about 60% of the EBV weighting. The Marble Score EBV accuracy for USUAL increased to about 64% based on this performance recording data. In the example of USUAL, as more half-siblings of USUAL (same sire but different dams) are slaughtered and their data is recorded, this strengthens the contribution of pedigree information to USUAL’s Marble Score EBV. Conversely, it reduces the relative weighting placed on USUAL’s own data record. Therefore, genetic merit contributes to phenotype, but is only part of the story and explains why the EBVs (genetic merit) don’t exactly match the phenotypic difference of slaughter animals.

FIGURE 3 How data contributes to the Marble Score EBV of a steer. 100 90 80 % CONTRIBUTION TO THE EBV

70 60 50 40 30

EBV accuracy

20

Pedigree data

10

Animals own data

0 0

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NUMBER OF SIBLINGS RECORDS

34

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


Turning data into useable information

KEY MESSAGES

PHENOTYPE

≠ GENOTYPE

The examples provided in this article are designed to explain the principles of how different sources of data contribute to EBVs under the 3 different scenarios. These examples show the general trends of how data contributes to EBVs and should not be taken to reflect the exact contribution to any specific animal. » The phenotype of an animal (eg. the performance record for any trait) does not equal the genetic merit of an animal for a trait. Phenotype ≠ Genotype. » Wagyu BREEDPLAN uses data from many sources and calculates the genetic merit of individuals based on phenotypic data and pedigree. It turns very complex data into useable information in the form of EBVs for a number of traits. » For a sire, when progeny data is recorded for a trait and submitted to Wagyu BREEDPLAN, this has a large influence on the EBV.

» For a sire, when his own record is available for a trait (eg. 200 Day Weight), this contributes to the EBV, but once progeny data is recorded, progeny data will have a large influence on the EBV. » For individual animals such as slaughter steers that do not produce their own progeny, EBVs are calculated using pedigree, including data submitted on siblings and performance data of the individual itself. The data from the pedigree and the siblings will have the largest influence on the EBV. » Wagyu BREEDPLAN takes into account the performance records of an individual in estimating genetic merit in addition to other data. For this reason, the EBV of an individual may not directly reflect the phenotype of the individual. Genetic merit and phenotypic measurements are not the same thing.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


GENOMICS – WHY MORE PERFORMANCE DATA? THE POWER OF THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU ASSOCIATION GLOBAL GENETIC ANALYSIS - WAGYU BREEDPLAN AND ESTIMATED BREEDING VALUES - HAS IMPROVED DRAMATICALLY IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. The power of the Australian Wagyu Association global genetic analysis - Wagyu BREEDPLAN and Estimated Breeding Values - has improved dramatically in the last five years. Due in part, to the inclusion of a large number of carcase records to calculate new genetic parameters for carcase traits in the Wagyu BREEDPLAN analysis in 2015. This facilitated more accurate carcase EBVs for a large number of sires with progeny that had carcase data recorded. The improvement was largely a result of the great effort of AWA members to capture thousands of carcase records into the AWA database. It was further facilitated in 2018 with Wagyu Single-Step BREEDPLAN allowing the use of genomic SNP information within the BREEDPLAN analysis. Genomic SNP data contributes information to the estimation of the genetic merit of animals which have not been or can’t be measured for a trait such as the collection of carcase data on a breeding animal. With the support of the MLA Donor Company and through use of AWA and member funds, most animals for which carcase records were collected were also genotyped on 50K or higher platforms. These animals served as the reference (training) population to assist the Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN analysis to associate phenotype of recorded animals with the genotypes of animals in Wagyu BREEDPLAN. The large number of animals with performance data that was supplied by AWA members, which were subsequently genotyped (50K SNP tested) was the critical hurdle our industry had to clear to enable the implementation of Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN. Having a reference set of animals with performance data and genotypes is necessary to allow BREEDPLAN to create a link between the

phenotype (performance trait) and the genotype which then serve as a reference population. Having a large reference population of data and genotypes makes it possible to calculate an animal’s EBVs using pedigree and genomics before any performance information has been collected for that animal. This is especially valuable where young animals are selected for breeding purposes before they have their own or progeny data recorded.

WHAT DATA CONTRIBUTES TO EBVS? The information used to calculate Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) can be categorised into three main contributors. As more information from these sources are added, the accuracy (confidence) of the EBVs increase and the EBVs change to reflect the additional data. 1. Genetic merit of related animals – initially the EBVs of the parents will determine the “starting point” of the EBVs of the calf and is sometimes called a mid-parent EBV. Other relatives will also, through the parents, influence the EBVs of an animal. 2. The genotype of the animal - if an animal is genotyped with a 50K SNP test, this information can be used to contribute to the animal’s EBVs by more accurately determining the value of inherited genes from the sire and dam. 3. Performance data – the performance data of the animal and all its relatives contribute to the animal’s EBVs. If the animal becomes a parent, the performance data of its progeny will also contribute to its EBVs. Progeny performance data is a very powerful source of information as it can be measured on a large number of progeny and will serve as proof of the genetic merit of the parent. ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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PROGRESS IN WAGYU The accumulation of 50K SNP gentoypes has increased in the Australian Wagyu Association database with a high proportion of Wagyu Herdbook registered animals now have genomic information contributing to their EBVs.

CUMULATIVE NUMBER

CUMULATIVE NUMBER OF 50K SNP GENOTYPES LOADED

70,000

To have an effective genomic Single Step BREEDPLAN analysis, it is important to have large numbers of animals with performance data which are also SNP tested. The number of animals with traits recorded are shown in Figure 2.

60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000

FIGURE 1

10,000

Cumulative increase in the number of 50K SNP genotypes loaded into the Australian Wagyu Association database.

0 16/2

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QUARTER OF EACH YEAR

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

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Genomics – why more performance data?

NUMBER OF ANIMALS

ANIMALS RECORDED FOR EACH TRAIT

70,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000

FIGURE 2

10,000

Number of animals with data recorded for the different traits.

5,000 0 GEST. LENGTH

BIRTH Wt

200 DAY Wt

400 DAY Wt

600 DAY Wt

MATURE COW SCROTAL Wt SIZE

SCAN EMA

CARCASE DATA

GENOMICS TRAITS

HOW GENOMICS IMPACTS THE ACCURACY OF EBVS: For breeders using genomics on their herds to improve EBVs, they see changes in the EBVs as well as changes in EBV accuracy for many animals. This is due to more information being available for the calculation of the EBVs. However, genomics does not always have a noticeable impact on the EBVs or EBV accuracies of an animal. It may be that the genomic information confirms the existing pedigree and performance information, meaning that the EBVs of the animal do not change. This is a more likely outcome in high accuracy animals that already have good amounts of performance data. The following graphs show the changes to EBVs and EBV accuracy that occurred when genomics was added for 1,950 animals between the October BREEDPLAN run and the November BREEDPLAN run. The changes to EBVs and EBV accuracy for these animals is due to the addition of genomic information within the Wagyu BREEDPLAN analysis. The graph in Figure 3 shows the change in Marble Score EBV accuracy when comparing the October (x axis) to November (y axis) Wagyu BREEDPLAN EBVs for the 1,950 animals which only had genomic information added to the analysis in November. In interpreting this graph, if the EBVs did not change between October to November, they stayed on the black line. If the EBVs changed, they moved away from the black line. You can see that the EBV accuracy for most animals improved, positioned above the black line, meaning that they were higher in November (following genomics being used) than October (when genomics was not used). ACCURACY WITH In the case of Animal A the addition of genomic information had no impact on its Marble Score EBV accuracy which stayed at 34%. In this case, genomics was unable to add any useable additional information for Animal A. While in the case of Animal B, addition of genomic information increased the accuracy by 17% from 34% to 51%.

GENOMICS %

MARBLE SCORE EBV ACCURACY CHANGE

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FIGURE 3

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Change in Marble Score EBV accuracy when genomic information is added to the BREEDPLAN analysis for 1,950 animals between October and November 2019.

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HOW GENOMICS IMPACTS THE EBV FIGURES THEMSELVES

Figure 4 shows the change in the actual Marble Score EBV figures for the 1,950 animals which only had genomic information added to the analysis in November. In this case, you can see that genomics has a large effect on the Marble score EBV figure for many animals. As an example, Animal C and D both had a Marble Score EBV of 0.5 in the October BREEDPLAN analysis (x axis) and with the addition of genomic information in the November analysis, the Marble Score EBV of Animal C increased by 1.1 marble score to 1.6 while the EBV of Animal D decreased by 0.6 of a marble score to -0.1 (y axis). As described earlier, the EBVs of some animals are not impacted by genomic testing, because the genomics either does not add useable information, or the genomics gives the same answer as the available pedigree and performance data. Figure 5 is very helpful to better understand the proportion of animals and the level of change which could be expected in the example traits of Marble Score and Carcase Weight.

EBV WITH GENOMICS

MARBLE SCORE EBV CHANGE

2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -1.5

-1

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EBV WITHOUT GENOMICS

FIGURE 4 Change in Marble Score EBV when genomic information is added to the BREEDPLAN analysis for 1,950 animals between October and November 2019.

PROPORTION OF ANIMALS %

Figure 5 shows that, when genomic information was added to the November 2019 BREEDPLAN analysis for 1,950 animals, the Marble Score EBVs of 26% of these animals didn’t change, 26% changed up or down by 0.1, 41% changed up or down by between 0.2 and 0.4 and about 7% changed up or down by 0.5 or more.

1.5

MARBLE SCORE EBV CHANGE

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -0.6

-0.5

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FIGURE 5 Distribution Marble Score EBV change when genomic information is added to the BREEDPLAN analysis.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

-0.1

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EBV CHANGE WITH vs WITHOUT GENOMICS


Genomics – why more performance data?

FIGURE 6 Distribution of Carcase Weight EBV change when genomic information is added to the BREEDPLAN analysis.

PROPORTION OF ANIMALS %

CARCASE WEIGHT EBV CHANGE

25

20

15

Figure 6 shows that when genomic information was added for 1,950 animals for the November 2019 BREEDPLAN analysis, the Carcase Weight EBVs of about 63% of these animals changed up or down by 7.5kg or less and about 37% changed with 7.5kg or more.

10

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SUMMARY The impact of genomics on the accuracy and EBV figures within Wagyu BREEDPLAN is evident. The scale of the changes observed when genomic information is used within Wagyu BREEDPLAN for the example traits provided - Marble Score and Carcase Weights is high. The changes in EBVs s in conjunction with the potential increase in EBV accuracy, represents significant commercial value within breeding decisions. Using genomics within Wagyu BREEDPLAN adds significant information to the genetic analysis and has the potential to dramatically change selection decisions for retained breeding animals and mating decisions. For the Wagyu industry, using genomic information within Wagyu BREEDPLAN provides far greater insight into the breeding values of registered animals. However, this is all reliant on the continued submission of performance recording that underpins the Wagyu reference population. The importance of continuing to maintain a large and genetically diverse reference population can’t be over-emphasised. In general, animals which are more closely related to the reference population benefit more from genomic testing than those that are not closely related to the reference population.

ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


NUTRITION AND GENETICS

WORKSHOP

GOOD NUTRITION GETTING PRE-FEEDLOT AND HEIFER NUTRITION RIGHT Traditionally, producing cattle followed a simple trajectory – continuous weight gain from suckling to puberty (or slaughter), calving intervals at 365 days and a targeted weaning weight. The challenge, particularly for Wagyu is the balance between feeding the cow the right nutrition at the right times during gestation and suckling, to give the calf the best outcomes – and to keep mum healthy. According to Matt George of Bovine Dynamics at the recent Nutrition and Genetics Workshop in Brisbane, 70% of the energy consumed by a cow goes into maintenance and a large component of the resultant weaning weight of her calf is dependent on her milk production. While that might seem relatively obvious, the dam’s bodyweight gain before weaning will have a greater impact on the calf ’s post weaning weight gain and the age at which it reaches puberty. “In the sub-tropics, there is evidence that at about three months of age, the cows have nothing left to give – there

is not enough nutrient to continue optimal weight gain in the calf,” Matt. “These calves can be weaned. “Good nutrition for the cow has shown that the calf will reach puberty earlier, giving an increase in fertility and cycling rates. It also affects how muscle and fat develop in the foetus during gestation, and subsequent meat quality.” Making reference to malnutrition during World War II, Matt made the comment that, “you are what your mother ate, and it will affect what your become”. In the post-war generation in parts of Europe, many children suffered serious metabolic conditions, correlating back to the poor nutrition their mothers had while pregnant. Drawing a parallel to cattle, while genetics are important to calf outcomes, the program of nutrition can affect the expression of those genes without changing the gene sequences. “It is like a genetic blueprint – what you start with on the plan, may not always be what you end up with, which means we can build on improvement through nutrition.”

TIMELINE OF FOETAL MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT IN BEEF CATTLE MUSCLE FIBER HYPERTROPHY SECONDARY MYOGENESIS

PRIMARY MYOGENESIS

0

1

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9.5 BIRTH

MONTHS GESTATION 1

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Good nutrition

NUTRITION AND GENETICS

WORKSHOP NUTRIENT RESTRICTION REDUCES ADIPOGENESIS

MARBLING IN OFFSPRING

TIMELINE OF FETAL DEVELOPMENT IN BEEF CATTLE NUTRIENT RESTRICTION REDUCES MUSCLE FIBER HYPERTROPHY BIRTH WEIGHT NUTRIENT RESTRICTION REDUCES MYOGENESIS MUSCLE FIBER NUMBER

MUSCLE MASS

MUSCLE FIBER HYPERTROPHY SECONDARY MYOGENESIS

ADIPOGENESIS

PRIMARY MYOGENESIS

HOW MUSCLE AND FAT DEVELOP DURING GESTATION

CREEP FEEDING OR EARLY WEANING FOR CALF PERFORMANCE

Throughout gestation, as the foetus

Creep feeding was used extensively in Nebraska and Kansas for many years and is again in vogue and the indications at the time for temperate conditions showed that the weight loss was 8kg less for the cow at 120 days post-weaning, and that heifers were heavier by about 17kg at weaning. Milk yield however decreased.

develops organs and structure, the muscle foundations evolve as does how the fat will be deposited. The process of muscle development, myogenesis, occurs in the earlier stages of gestation, while in the second trimester, adipogenesis – the process for fats, kicks into gear. What that means, is that by six months of gestation, muscle fibre development is complete in structure – adding additional protein to the diet may have limited affect in building more fibres, but may increase the fibre size and consequently the weight. In relation to marbling, the last trimester is important for the development of fat cells (adipocytes), and how big they can potentially be. During adipogenesis, there are four major depot sites: visceral, subcutaneous, intermuscular and intramuscular. These adipocytes are formed in visceral and subcutaneous tissue at the start of the second trimester. How the cells differentiate during the last trimester will affect the collagen within the tissue – and consequently the tenderness of the beef. More collagen represents a tougher meat. To increase the potential for marbling expression it is important to optimise nutrition during the last trimester, neonatal and pre-weaning. 44

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

Comparing to a tropical environment (US), research showed that milk yield did not decrease, but calf body weight did increase under creep feeding and the cows did not undergo any significant body weight variance. Calves and cows did have less frequency of suckling and reduced grazing time. In Matt’s observation, these calves are likely to be more active than their more sedentary Europeanbreed cousins. In early weaning, a cow and calf are more efficient at converting total digestible nutrients (TDN) to weight gain and at the time of normal weaning, early weaned cows are 40kg heavier and calves weighed 29kg more. For the calf, weight gain is significantly faster. “There are other reasons to consider early weaning, which is the common method in Australia,” said Matt. “One is economics – it is a lot less feed required if the cow is not converting feed into milk production and you can take better control of feed cost. The second reason is that by early weaning, the metabolic effect on a female calf is that she more likely to be fertile at an earlier age. This is in part due to early

rumen development, but the main factor is fat – an increase in fat in the diet creates an 2 ovulation response.” Research shows the rumen development with early weaning directly affects the development of fat deposition. In a Korean study on Hanwoo cattle, fat deposition developed better in the group fed a ration with starch, or a concentrate with roughage. The outcomes are supported by research from Dr Susan Duckett, suggesting that a combination of concentrate and forage gives the best outcome for both subcutaneous and intramuscular fat deposition in the first 100 days. In the past five years, Matt has kept records of fat deposition on long-fed Angus to track hot carcase weight, P8 fat, marbling and marble score. There is clear evidence that 2018 cattle placed onto feed had carcasses with poorer marbling but with greater P8 fat and hot carcase weight, suggesting that yes, the cattle are bigger, but are fatter, resulting in poor marbling, which is more likely to be from early nutritional deficiencies than a grading problem. Ultimately, it suggests that with good gestational nutrition to support the cow and calf, the genetic response can be turned on to realise the lipid response to realise the full potential for marbling and weight post weaning. However, warns Matt, ‘flash-feeding’ i.e., unrestricted intake on high energy feedlot rations prior to feedlot entry is not likely to be beneficial and potentially destructive if the early nutrition is not in place.


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Vet Dr Sally Oswin talks through the management of infectious disease for improved performance and carcase outcomes.

THE IMPACT OF OPTIMISING HEALTH ON PRODUCTIVITY, PERFORMANCE AND MEAT QUALITY OF WAGYU CATTLE Dr Sally Oswin | Veterinary Operations Manager, Technical Development, Zoetis

The Wagyu animal presents a unique challenge with respect to lifetime health care in that any set-back in performance is likely to have an impact on the end product. In an animal that continues to deposit intramuscular fat over many years, ensuring a constant rate of gain in condition will ensure it has the ability to reach its peak potential – a prerequisite for this is optimising health through disease prevention.

PRE-BREEDING MANAGEMENT It should be a priority to ensure every heifer has the best chance to get pregnant and carry a healthy calf to delivery. With the time and effort spent on genetic improvement, it is counterintuitive if you don’t also manage the risk posed by reproductive disease which can have a significant impact on the number of healthy calves on the ground. The key diseases that reduce conception rates, cause foetal loss and impact calving rates are leptosprirosis, pestivirus and vibriosis, all preventable through pre-joining vaccination. Bulls should be ear notched for pestivirus testing and vaccinated for these three key reproductive diseases also, ideally done at the same time as their breeding soundness examination is performed. The objective of the program is to have more calves born at the right time, which also ensures every cow has the best chance of having a calf every year.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


HARD WORKING PROTECTION FOR YOUR WAGYU HERD  Prevention  Treatment

PROTECT YOUR GREATEST ASSETS AGAINST

LEPTOSPIROSIS & 5 KEY CLOSTRIDIAL DISEASES

PESTIVIRUS

VIBRIOSIS

BRD CAUSED BY MH

BOTULISM

CALF SCOURS

PARASITE MANAGEMENT

Speak to your local Zoetis representative about all the ways Zoetis can help keep your wagyu herd healthy. Head to zoetis.com.au/LS for more information. Zoetis Australia Pty Ltd. ABN 94 156 476 425. Level 6, 5 Rider Boulevard, Rhodes NSW 2138. © 2019 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. 11/19. ZL1153.

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The impact of optimising health on productivity, performance and meat quality of Wagyu cattle

CALF MANAGEMENT

WEANING MANAGEMENT

Recent research has shown that the benefits of calves getting high quality colostrum in the first 1-2 days of life cannot be understated. In addition to high quality nutrition, colostrum contains essential proteins and immune factors that not only determine calf health and survival, but the ability of that calf to reach its genetic potential as an adult. Ensuring calves get good access to colostrum in the period immediately post birth is imperative, particularly as the antibodies in the colostrum are going to constitute their

temporary immune system until they are old enough to receive vaccines themselves. Vaccinating heifers and cows in late pregnancy for leptospirosis with Ultravac 7in1 and with a calf scours vaccine such as Scourshield will reduce the risk that calves will contract leptospirosis or enteritis due to viruses and bacteria that cause calf scours. A set-back in calf health in the first few weeks of life, even one they recover from, can have long lasting consequences on their performance.

The next trigger point for a health challenge in these young calves is the time of weaning. Weaning is actually one of the most stressful events in the life of a bovine as a direct result of the stressors placed on the animal. They are removed from their mothers, placed in a foreign environment, often in close contact with other stressed calves, offered a diet they may not be familiar with, all at a time when their immune system is still developing. The stressors placed on calves at the time of weaning when calves are at their most

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

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vulnerable are commonly responsible for initiating outbreaks of Bovine Respiratory Disease or BRD. Like calf scours, a health event such as this doesn’t just result in a temporary check in health – it can have a long-lasting impact on the growth and meat quality of the animal all the way into adulthood. Recent published work concluded that up to 30% of cattle processed through abattoirs show evidence of respiratory disease lesions in their lungs that were never identified as having a health event throughout their life1. This tells us that respiratory disease can be subclinical; that is, animals that suffer from the condition may not show outward signs of disease. The other finding from this research was that there is significant cost associated with respiratory disease, even when the animal never presents with clinical signs. In the animals that demonstrated lung lesions at slaughter but that were never identified with the disease when alive, the growth rate was found to be lower by an average of 100g per

day and the meat quality of a lower grade compared with the animals that were found to have clean lungs at the time of abattoir processing1. Once cattle develop permanent lung lesions as a result of an infection, the lung tissue may never return to normal, leaving that animal with a reduced capacity to breath for the rest of its life. Cattle already have only just enough lung capacity to cope with their needs so a respiratory event in calf hood may well have life-long consequences. There are a number of effective strategies to help prevent respiratory disease at the time of weaning and it is recommended that you implement as many of these as possible to minimise risk. Spending sufficient time planning the weaning process is important. Providing high quality weaning nutrition with adequate bunk and water trough space is a great start. As calves will be offered a high-quality weaning diet, ensuring they have completed their vaccination program by the time they are weaned to

prevent clostridial disease, particularly enterotoxaemia (or pulpy kidney), makes good sense. Improved weaning performance can be achieved through reducing stress on calves wherever possible, including low stress cattle handling and keeping calves in their preweaning groups to reduce mixing as well as minimising weaning group sizes (ideally <100 per group). Ensuring calves meet a minimum weight requirement to be weaned makes good sense, as does good internal and external parasite management. In addition to managing stress, using effective single dose vaccines to prevent respiratory disease either just prior to or at the time of weaning is a great way to reduce the risk of a respiratory health event in your weaners. Bovi-Shield MH-One vaccine is a really convenient choice to provide protection against respiratory disease caused by Mannheimia haemolytica (MH) at the time of weaning as it is effective within 7 days of administration of a single dose.

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The impact of optimising health on productivity, performance and meat quality of Wagyu cattle

PRE-FEEDLOT MANAGEMENT Once the weaning process has been completed, the next key time for health challenges is when these animals leave their property of origin and head to the feedlot. Not surprisingly, BRD is the biggest disease issue identified in cattle on feed, being responsible for approximately 84% of health issues in feedlot cattle2. Just like the process of weaning, the process of transporting and introducing cattle to intensive management at the feedlot, places cattle under a range of stressors that reduce the ability of the immune system to cope with the new environment and respiratory infections. Pestivirus, Infectious Bovine Herpesvirus (IBR) and Mannheimia haemolytica (MH) are all common bugs identified in cases of respiratory disease in feedlot cattle. Pestivirus and IBR can play a role in immune suppression, and MH is one of the most common causes of secondary pneumonia, so disease management of these pathogens through vaccination should be undertaken before or at the time of feedlot entry to minimise the risk of BRD occurring at the feedlot. Highly effective single dose vaccines are available to prevent MH and IBR which removes the need for re-handling and stressing cattle to administer a follow up dose. Booster vaccination with a clostridial vaccine to prevent enterotoxaemia (pulpy kidney) at this time and ensuring cattle are parasite free will also improve the chances of optimising feedlot performance.

Above: As cattle enter the feedlot, the induction process can include an intranasal IBR vaccine for protection against IBR. One of the pathogens in the BRD disease complex. Right: At the meat inspection stage, offal is inspected to check for disease.

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CONCLUSIONS During the process of breeding, rearing and finishing calves, there are a great many things we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have control over, but this does not pertain to animal health. Significant research and knowledge now exist that confirms for us the management of infectious disease will result in improved performance and a better-quality product at the time of processing. Improving reproductive performance through the prevention of infectious reproductive diseases will result in more calves on the ground at the right time and should be considered cheap insurance for valuable Wagyu breeders. Improved calf health through optimum colostrum management will result in fewer cases of calf scours and pneumonia and more animals expressing their genetic potential. Improved weaning management and feedlot preparation and preventative BRD vaccination will result in fewer deaths, improved average daily gain and a higher yielding end product of better eating quality. The impacts of suboptimal health care are exemplified in the Wagyu breed because the quality of the final product is dependent on a long, slow but constant rate of gain. This can only be achieved by managing every stage of the animalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; life to avoid any periods of poor health impacting performance. For further information visit Livestock Solutions, YouOnlyNeedOne or contact your Zoetis veterinarian or sales representative. 1. Griffin D., Animal Health Research Reviews 2014:15(2): 138-141.1. 2. MLA Report P.PSH.0547


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FULL BLOOD BULLS FOR SALE SIRED BY

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Proof is in the carcass Half of our carcasses grade MBS 9 and 9+ with a herd average MBS of 8.4 for steers and heifers.

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THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73


LUXURY PRODUCT IN A PREMIUM BUTCHER

To butchers around the world, it is an iconic retail outlet; for consumers it represents the very best of meat products that can be sourced in Australia. For all that visit the store, Victor Churchill butchery in Sydney, is an experience. Renowned chef, Anthony Bourdain, described Victor Churchill as ‘the most beautiful butcher shop in the world’, and it has rightly received awards for retail design, with bespoke features such as the bronzed sausage door handles, copper panelling, butchers’ blocks, dry-aging and display cabinetry to entice the customer in. The creation of Anthony Puharich, Victor Churchill is based on the philosophy of providing the plates of people’s homes with the very best of Australian meat products. Provenance, transparency and producer relationships form the remainder of the concept.

The only products that make it into the cabinet are from breeders and producers that we believe, produce the best quality product, but also in the way they do it.

The design of the store, therefore, echoes Anthony’s principles, such that all that occurs within the store is in full view for the customer to appreciate the quality of the product and the art of the butcher, rather than tucked into a back room or coolroom. Anthony and his father, Victor, operate Vic’s Meats, a wholesale meat supply operation and it is here, that Anthony first realised that the majority of the Australia’s highest quality meats were exported or went into hospitality and that the average customer more often than not, did not have the opportunity to experience the best of Australian beef, lamb and pork. Victor Churchill has now been operating for 10 years, and continues to stock premium products such as game meats, salumis, cheeses, truffles and valueadd products. “Shelf real estate in the shop is at a premium at the best of times – only so much can go in,” said Darren O’Rourke, Education Partner – Retail and Corporate Butcher with Victor Churchill.

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Victor Churchill has numerous awards for retail design and has been a mecca for butchers and consumers alike to experience premium quality meat.

“The only products that make it into the cabinet are from breeders and producers that we believe, produce the best quality product, but also in the way they do it. Our reputation has evolved such that if we call someone and say we would like to stock their product, most would view it as an honour. We have a small number of producers we buy from, and all of them are ridiculously proud and honoured to have their product on our shelves – and we are proud to have them - it goes both ways.” Using principally primal cuts, Victor Churchill ages beef for between 3-6 weeks, using strip loin, ribs and rump. The secondary cuts are used as grilling steaks, such as flat irons and hangar cuts. Darren and Micky Peacock, Head Butcher, do not believe in producing value-add products with Wagyu, as the product speaks for itself. In Darren’s words, how can you value-add a Ferrari? A relationship with David Blackmore and Rangers Valley has continued on from Vic’s Meats into Victor Churchill. “We have had a long-standing relationship with David Blackmore and greatly admire what he has done for Australian Wagyu,” said Darren. “His story fits with ours, in that we know his story, he is open with us and in turn, when our customers ask about his product, we have a story to tell.”

Darren O’Rourke (L) and Micky Peacock (R) head up the butchery team at Victor Churchill. 54

The relationship with Rangers Valley has similar origins in that it was the supplier of choice for the hospitality sector through Vic’s Meats. It was an obvious choice for Anthony to stock both Wagyu producers into Victor Churchill. According to Darren, Australian consumers have taken a long time to understand Wagyu, noting that many still view it as a beef to be eaten in larger portion

THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE - ISSUE 73

sizes, rather than appreciating its unique eating experience in portion sizes more equivalent to those used in Japanese cuisine. Many consumers now understand the concept of marble score and use it as a yardstick to measure beef by, without appreciating that for Wagyu, it is only part of the complex story. Educating consumers on marble fineness, meat and fat colour and lustre are the next frontier. Since the bans on imported Japanese beef lifted in 2018, Victor Churchill has taken the opportunity to stock Japanese Wagyu from time to time, knowing that the customer base for the store would have the willingness to try the product. “Japanese Wagyu is not the same as Australian Wagyu – and we would be foolish to try and sell it in that fashion,” said Head Butcher, Micky Peacock. “The flavours of Japanese cuisine are layered across all the ingredients, which suits the more subtle flavours of Japanese Wagyu based on mouth feel, purity and cleanliness. With Australia’s tradition of eating beef with flavour, the early pioneers like David Blackmore have worked to improve the flavour of Australian Wagyu through the cattle’s feed rations. “It is one of the few products in the store, that we encourage people to buy less, rather than more.” The butchers are highly knowledgeable, as are the customer service staff, all of whom have food industry backgrounds and are fully conversant with the products and their provenance. Therefore, every sale has a conversation, including describing the virtues, the best way to cook and eat, Wagyu to ensure the very best eating experience.


One of only two Australian Herds over 1000 head leading the BREEDPLAN Completeness of Performance ratings Outstanding fullblood Wagyu genetics • Semen • Embryos • Bulls • Females Contact: Mitch Braithwaite +61 (0)427 702 311 generalmanager@irongatewagyu.com

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ISSUE 73 - THE AUSTRALIAN WAGYU UPDATE Domestic and International boxed beef sales Chris Gilmour +61 (0)429 472 047 sales@futariwagyu.com

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Profile for Australian Wagyu Association

Australian Wagyu Update - Issue 73  

Inside this issue | AWA's brand new plan | Wagyu: world's luxury beef | Annual report highlights | Celebrating excellence in Wagyu be...

Australian Wagyu Update - Issue 73  

Inside this issue | AWA's brand new plan | Wagyu: world's luxury beef | Annual report highlights | Celebrating excellence in Wagyu be...

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