Newsletter No.17

KWA News | 22 April 2024

22 April 2024

Wagyu Edge ’24 Conference 10-12 April

Geoff, Steve and I spent three days in Cairns this month at the Wagyu Edge conference.  It was a great success with over 650 delegates from many countries including the UK, USA and China.

On day one we heard from a number of speakers including Simon Quilty who made some brave predications about global beef pricing and to a lessor extent Wagyu pricing.  The essence of the argument was that it is the massive size of the US beef market combined with the relative wealth of the US population that drives global beef pricing.  The US herd is now at an all time low and there is every reason to believe that this will drive a global increase in meat prices.  This argument is not new but there are small signs that the increase may not be far away.

The highlight of day one was the branded beef competition.  We had the opportunity to sample the very best Wagyu beef on offer in Australia.  The winner over all was Mayura with a full blood filet. The winning score was 1128.  Perhaps, the more interesting entry was the Reserve Champion which was another full blood steak presented by Andrews Meat Industries, bred by our good friend Joe Grose of 3DGenetics and fed by JBS.  The score for this animal was 1121 a mere 0.7% less than the winner.  The extraordinary thing about the Reserve Champion was his digital marbling percentage of 71%, this is almost a pure white steak. One wonders how the animal lives with a mere 29% muscle fibre.

That night we attended the Elite Wagyu Sale, there was 71 lots on offer, the top sale was for the Mayura heifer T1474A which sold for $130,000.  Interestingly the new index launched by the AWA was clearly a major factor in the sale.  This index, the Breeder Feeder Index or BFI was $532 for this animal.  The top bull was Door Key U012 which sold for $50,000 with a BFI of $517.

On the final day we looked at the US Wagyu markets.  It was noted that there are approximately 3 million Wagyu cattle in Japan, 450,000 in Australia and 100,000 in the US.

The final session on Friday afternoon was an opportunity to see the new young leaders in the industry.  The standout was Jessie Chiconi who, with her husband and family run a large operation in central Queensland.  They have switched to Wagyu recently and are not looking back. The black tie dinner that night was great fun. Next year the conference is in Perth.

As we were putting this Newsletter together we had some very bad news. Our number one bull from 2022, KWAF22T0053 has broken his hind leg near the hip. There is no real solution to this. He was just 2 days from getting on a truck to go to the collection centre to be milked for semen. This will not happen. His EBV for marble score is 3.5 and BFI of $406 is very respectable. We will see what we can do.

Newsletter No. 22 | 22 April 2024

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