Peter Doyle’s fascination with Wagyu began at the impressionable age of 14, when sitting in class he watched a film featuring Japanese Wagyu enjoying some lifestyle benefits such as beer and a massage. What?! The inner farmer lurking within his city boy façade was hooked.
Jump forward several decades, Peter has developed his own method of animal husbandry for his flourishing Wagyu herds on NSW’ mid north coast.
With Australia an increasingly big player on the global Wagyu market – 80 to 90 per cent of the beef is exported, with 10 to 20 per cent sold domestically – Peter has been working hard on the genetics of his cattle to tap into the growing interest in polled livestock – that is, Wagyu cattle (who are traditionally horned) bred without horns.
“We infused polled shorthorn genetics into the breeding program when we first started to reduce the amount of horned cattle. It is a long process. Horns can do significant damage, both in the paddock and during transport,” Peter said, before adding, “it’s a rough playground out there!”
So from an initial herd of 10 full blood Wagyu heifers, Peter has been breeding generations of polled offspring on paddocks near Nabiac for more than 20 years. He weans them off their mother onto a diet of silage later mixed with grains; then a daily grain supplement including probiotics and seaweed. The cattle await this daily breakfast version of ‘muesli and yoghurt’, all while grazing on improved pastures. And let’s not forget the occasional dessert of molasses for those with a sweet tooth.
The result is incredibly tender meat. Wagyu is known for its marbled look, brought on by monounsaturated fatty acids which is rich in omega 3, weaving its way through the layers. By the time you eat it, the fat has dispersed through the beef thanks to its low melting point, and is no longer evident. The tasty meat then just melts in your mouth.
For now, Doyle’s Wallamba River Wagyu is exported to Japan. But as a keen advocate of the high quality product, Peter is on a mission to make it more accessible and affordable to the Australian public, while being an educational experience for generations to come.
Bring on The Artisan Farmer, a gourmet food hub fronting Australia’s busiest highway, with the Wagyu paddocks knocking at the back door. Featuring a café, deli, bakery and retail section, it doesn’t get much more paddock to plate, than that.
And we haven’t even yet mentioned his pigs.