Wading Wagyu on the long road to Japan

Wading Wagyu on the long road to Japan


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LOOKING out through Keith Hammond’s kitchen window it is hard to imagine that the dot of land 15 kilometres away, barely visible across the water, plays a crucial role in the journey to market of some of Australia’s finest full blood Wagyu beef. B

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LOOKING out through Keith Hammond’s kitchen window it is hard to imagine that the dot of land 15 kilometres away, barely visible across the water, plays a crucial role in the journey to market of some of Australia’s finest full blood Wagyu beef.But it is on the rugged shore of Robbins Island, off the north-west coast of Tasmania in stormy Bass Strait, where 1600 full-blood Kobe Wagyu beef vealers are fattened by the Hammonds to 430 kilograms each year before being sold to Susuki feedlot in Japan.Beef from the vealers eventually trades for a minimum of $300 a kilogram.The Hammonds use Robbins Island – just shy of 10,000 hectares – to graze their cattle during the winter. Getting stock back across to their mainland property at Smithton has become something of a tradition that involves a team of local stockmen, a five hour walk and a Wagyu fuelled barbecue fit for the harshest food critic.The Hammonds muster cattle up to eight times a year and timing the 27-hour crossing is essential.“We’ve never had any drown, but there have been some fairly deep tides in the past,” Mr Hammond said.Pictured leading the muster is Mr Hammond’s brother John.

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