We are just back from the 2017 Wagyu Conference in Albury, NSW. Over 400 people talked, ate and thought about Wagyu for a week. It was most interesting.
The highlight was the Elite Wagyu Sale. Many people will have seen the result which was outstanding. The new record for a Wagyu Bull was set at $105,000. This was surpassed in absolute terms by the sale of 10 straws of semen to one buyer for a price of $28,000 each or $280,000 for the package. These were scary numbers. We were underbidders but did not take anything away from the sale.
In contrast, we learnt a huge amount from the speakers and the other delegates. One of the great messages from the MLA was that in a customer driven business it is not Paddock to Plate but Plate to Paddock which must drive your strategy. A very elegant summary of the right way to go about any agricultural business.
There were lots of interesting discussions on actual animal husbandry and the most effective techniques for achieving the best results from selecting, breeding and fattening cattle.
One of the highlights was an update from Professor Kushida laying out what is the focus of attention in Japan. The new Japanese smart camera was demonstrated. A truly remarkable piece of machinery. Hopefully, it will make its way here soon. The Koreans have already bought several.
Kushida also demonstrated work on a new NFI. In the past, the NFI was the Net Feed Intake. It is now the Net Fineness Index and is a complex technique for calculating the fineness of the marbling particles in the standard carcase. It does seem that this is a heritable trait.
Some terrific people particularly growers from South Africa, WA and Queensland. We all enjoyed a huge amount of Wagyu which means that I am on a salad diet for the foreseeable future!