Blackmore branches out

NEW VENTURE: Renowned Wagyu producer David Blackmore is setting up a new venture, using European heritage breed cattle, at Benalla.
NEW VENTURE: Renowned Wagyu producer David Blackmore is setting up a new venture, using European heritage breed cattle, at Benalla.

Renowned Victorian Wagyu producer David Blackmore has bought the 609-hectare East Mount Ada property near Benalla, to set up a new grass-fed beef venture based on heritage breed European cattle.

“We are going to create a grass fed product we will offer to the same restaurants which take our Wagyu,” Mr Blackmore said.

The new venture started five years ago, when he saw beef in the coolroom of his French distributor, five years ago.

“And I went ‘wow, what’s that?” he said.

“It’s not from France, but after a lot of research, we tracked it down,” Mr Blackmore said.

“We worked with some farmers associated with the breed, but the country’s government itself tried to stop the farmers doing business with us.”

The first 250 calves, imported as embryos and implanted into surrogate Australian cows, were due later this month.

“It is not related to Wagyu in any way or form. It’s an old heritage breed,” he said.

The Wagyu beef is exported to around 20 countries and served in top restaurants such as Neil Perry's Rockpool.

Mr Blackmore had been looking for a new property since abandoning his operation at Alexandra in late 2015.

East Mount Ada would require work and it might take two years to bring it up to the standard required.

“We are going to produce a grass fed product,” Mr Blackmore said.

“The goal is to grow the best grass we can and produce beef all year around.”

He said the Wagyu operation was continuing, under his son Ben Blackmore and daughter Danielle Button.

“I have to plan around my retirement,” he said.

“We have got enough land, now I want to give the next generation clear air – I don’t want their dad to be hanging over their heads.”

Mr Blackmore declined to reveal the cattle breed, as he said he wanted to get “a jump” on competitors.