When we first began our operation, Japan was pretty much the only market for Australian Wagyu. The live cattle trade with Japan was almost 100% Wagyu and Wagyu infused animals. Huge markets existed for F1, F2 up to full blood live trade at prices considerably higher than offered in domestic markets. Cattle were shipped to Japan where they underwent long term lot feeding for up to a year or more before slaughter. There were several agencies throughout Australia offering contracts for supply of cattle for shipment overseas.
Since then, however, markets have opened up all over the world for good Wagyu genetics and even here in Australia, the domestic market has begun to flourish as restaurants and foodies discover the vastly superior qualities of Wagyu steak. By 2005, the Australian feedlot industry was feeding more Wagyu cattle in Australia than were exported live to Japan.
Australian Wagyu boxed beef was exported to Japan, Korea, USA, EU and other countries after having been grain fed for up to 400 days in Australian feedlots. Suddenly, Australia was the biggest producer of Wagyu beef in the world outside of Japan. The domestic market for Australian Wagyu beef was also increasing dramatically as the demand for Wagyu steak increased exponentially throughout all levels of restaurant trade.
Challenges presented by the continuing drought (for almost a decade) and the doubling of the price of grain in 2008 has only served to increase the demand for good seedstock once the price of grain (and the rain) came down.
Live Export to Japan
Live cattle trade with Japan now consists of almost 100% Wagyu and Wagyu-infused animals. Huge markets exist for F1, F2 up to full blood live trade at prices considerably higher than offered in domestic markets. Cattle are shipped to Japan where they undergo long term lot feeding for up to a year or more before slaughter. There are several agencies throughout Australia offering contracts for supply of cattle for shipment overseas. Criteria for acceptance are usually specific weight range and age, health and configuration of cattle, but nothing unusual or onerous. (eg weight range of between 280 -320 kg, no white markings, etc). This trade did drop off dramatically in 2008, but it was expected that once grain prices improved, the trade would return to previous levels, and that is being borne out in 2010.
Sale to Australian Feedlots
The Australian feedlot industry now feeds more Wagyu cattle in Australia than are exported live to Japan. Australian Wagyu beef is exported to Japan, Korea, USA, EU and many other countries. Australia is the biggest producer of Wagyu beef in the world outside of Japan. This trade also dropped off dramatically in 2008, but with the improvement in rainfall of recent months, the trade is returning to previous levels.
Export – “World Wide Wagyu”
Despite these difficulties and challenges on the domestic scene, demand for the export of Wagyu embryos, semen and even live animals over the past five years has taken “Lake Wagyu” into new territory. Thus began the export arm of Lake Wagyu – “World Wide Wagyu” is now the thriving export division of our company. We have appointed agencies in North and South America and in South Africa, and interest continues unabated to Europe and all points of the globe.