Australian Wagyu beef producers report 300 per cent increase in demand
· Wagyu is a Japanese breed known for its tender texture and buttery taste
· It is growing in popularity among Australian meat consumers and livestock producers
· One producer says a disease outbreak would take many years to recover from
By Sophie Johnson, ABC Great Southern (Australia)
Aug 3, 2022
Australian Wagyu producers are unable to meet domestic and international demand as appetite for the premium meat soars.
Irongate Wagyu, based near Albany in Western Australia's Great Southern region, produces full-blood Wagyu, which can sell for as much as $450 per kilogram.
Managing director Peter Gilmore said interest in the company's carcasses and genetics had tripled over the past 12 months.
"The increase is demand, I would say, is around 300 per cent," he said.
"If we had three times the number of animals, we probably could not meet that demand."
Irongate sells genetics to Australian producers and Mr Gilmore predicts the domestic Wagyu industry will expand.
"On the animal production side, we have seen a very big uptick and a lot of people are purchasing … to try and obviously lift their own farm gate receipt — I mean, Wagyu produces a significant premium over the rest of beef production," he said.
"I think the industry has the potential to actually, in the future, get up there with equal to Japanese production."
The increased investment in Wagyu is not limited to the southern parts of the state.
Pardoo Beef Corporation, based in the north, has invested more than $75 million in its Wagyu operation.
Its Singaporean owner, Bruce Cheung, plans to run more than 100,000 head of cattle across the Pilbara and Kimberley by 2035 in a business worth $3 billion.
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