Gina Rinehardt has purchased thousands of wagyu beef cattle. Picture: AFP
Gina Rinehardt has purchased thousands of wagyu beef cattle. Picture: AFP

Gina Rinehart fires shot in wagyu war

THE first shots have been fired in the wagyu war with billionaire Gina Rinehart challenging Australia's oldest company, Brisbane-based AAco.

Ms Rinehart has bought thousands of wagyu cattle for an assault on global beef.

AAco - Australian Agricultural Company - has 500,000 cattle, said to be the biggest herd on Earth. And 40,000 are prized wagyu cattle, said chief executive Hugh Killen.

Beef eaters get to taste their share with some, not all, premium cuts trickling on to the menus at upscale restaurants.

And five gold-medal steaks and the winning lamb will be offered to Ekka-goers this year.

Gina Rinehart at her Helen Springs cattle station.
Gina Rinehart at her Helen Springs cattle station.

Ms Rinehart has bought 21 grazing properties in Queensland after saying the Australian beef industry was an infant that should be 10 times bigger.

The ASX-listed AAco exports most of its beef.

"Our heartland brands, including Master Kobe, Kobe Cuisine and Darling Downs Wagyu, represented around half our revenue in 2018 financial year," Mr Killen said.

"Our new luxury brands, Westholme and Wylarah, represented a small but high-value and fast-growing section of our portfolio."

Hugh Killen heads up AAco, which owns Australia’s largest herd of cattle.
Hugh Killen heads up AAco, which owns Australia’s largest herd of cattle.

Like much of Australia's high-end beef, the Westholme and Wylarah brands are not released here and end up in Michelin-starred restaurants in Singapore, Dubai, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

"The vast majority of our branded product heads to export markets, where it commands the highest prices,'' Mr Killen said.

"The fact is we can only produce so much product at any given time and this means that we are restricted by the availability of supply."

A 400g Wagyu Kiwami at Nineteen at The Star on the Gold Coast. Picture: Richard Gosling
A 400g Wagyu Kiwami at Nineteen at The Star on the Gold Coast. Picture: Richard Gosling

Beef lovers can taste some of Australia's best steaks when the Royal Queensland Steakhouse opens at the Ekka from Wednesday, August 8 - two days before show officially opens.

On offer will be the gold-medal winning steaks from the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show.

These include Stockyard's Wagyu Kiwami - crowned Australia's grand champion - and the JBS Riverina Angus rump, which was named the champion MSA branded beef of the show.

It's the second year the Wagyu Kiwami, produced at Jondaryan, won the title.



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