Aussie Wagyu live export feeder cattle fill valuable niche in Japan

Beef Central

While markets like Indonesia and Vietnam routinely command the headlines over Australia’s live cattle export trade, Australian-bred Wagyu feeder cattle continue to play a significant part within Japan’s beef supply chain.

Typically there are ten consignments of Australian feeder made each year using the Angus Express vessel out of Port of Brisbane, mostly F1 Wagyu x Angus, but also including some Fullblood and Purebred Wagyu. Exporters typically share each shipment, including Edwards Livestock, and consignments from Austrex and Otway.

Most of the Australian feeders are exported at around ten months of age, and slaughtered at 28-30 months after 15 months on feed. Imported Australian feeder cattle are widely dispersed across Japan, from around Osaka all the way to the far south around Kagoshima, and can see everything from snow to 40-degree heat in the same year.

Longer term, volumes have averaged around 15,800 head annually, however numbers have declined sharply in the past 12 months with only about 9000 likely to be shipped for 2022.

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