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Conference Explores Wagyu Feeder Steer Premium

13 September 2013

AUSTRALIA - The reasons why 400 kg Wagyu sired feeder steers are bringing premiums of between $350 to $420/head over flatback British types will head discussions at the 12th Annual Wagyu Conference at The Pier, Geelong, Victoria, from October 11 to 13.

“Drought pressures and the southern flow of northern cattle that usually go for live export have created downward pressure on prices for all types except Wagyu,” said Australian Wagyu Association president Scott Hughes.

While the better flatback British type 350 to 420 kg feeder steers are bringing 170 to 200c/kg live, feedlots are paying 300 to 310c/kg for crossbred F1 Wagyu sired steers.

According to industry analysts, there are more crossbred F1 Wagyu cattle being produced today than ever before as producers chase the Wagyu premium.

Interest in Australian Wagyu genetics and Wagyu beef has generated conference registrations from Japan, New Zealand, Philippines and Malaysia joining representatives of the complete domestic supply chain from suppliers of genetics to food service.

Mr Hughes said the conference will contain important information to all those interested in producing profit driving premium quality beef for the elite Australian and overseas markets.

One prominent Angus seedstock producer, Lock Rogers, Wattletop, Guyra, NSW, who has an interest in Wagyu, will be a presenter at the conference. He breeds Fullblood Wagyu and uses Wagyu bulls over Angus cows to produce crossbred F1 terminals for which he receives a $300/head premium over straight bred Angus selling to feedlots or to the live trade to Japan.

It is estimated about 20,000 F1s are exported live to Japan each year, with over 50,000 currently on feed at the three biggest Wagyu feedlot operations, AA Co, Rangers Valley and Stanbroke.

There is also high interest in Fullblood Wagyu with fullblood feeder steers currently making 450c/kg live, a whopping $1000/head premium over conventional feeders.

Major buyers of crossbred Wagyu steers are encouraging suppliers to use Wagyu bulls over at least part of their Angus breeders. Some offer advice on the Wagyu genetics they prefer.

Stanbroke’s livestock manager Richard Sheriff said the company had moved steadily into Wagyu programs over the past five years while still operating its existing Angus branded beef programs. He said some existing suppliers of Angus steers were now joining part of their herds to Wagyu bulls.

“For example, one of our large regular Angus suppliers has recently bought a line of Wagyu yearling bulls and will mate a percentage of his heifers to them to produce F1 terminals”.

While Mr Sheriff stressed that Stanbroke was not asking dedicated Angus breeders to ‘abandon‘ their purebred maternal genetic base, but simply to turn off the resultant F1 steers and heifers as terminal feeders.

He said the current dollar a kilo liveweight advantage was a very big incentive for any Angus breeder.

The Wagyu Conference opens with a welcoming cocktail part of Friday October 11, continues all day Saturday with presentations and a dinner, and concludes at lunchtime Sunday October 13. A great range speakers covering global markets, breed improvement, animal production, celebrity butchers, beef quality and the latest Japanese developments in genetic progress.

For a full list of speakers and registrations forms go to www.wagyu.org.au.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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