BILLIONAIRE Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ assertions that Australian cattle producers are the world experts and their technologies and management of genetics could take beef production in poorer countries ahead in leaps and bounds has been met with gracious pride.
It’s not news to our industry leaders but for comments like that to come from such an influential human is one for the books.
Bill and Melinda Gates, as part of their work with venture philanthropy organisation The Gates Foundation, have paid a visit to the Australian Agriculture Company’s Wylarah Station in Central Queensland, which - in Mr Gates’ words - relies on cutting edge genomics to breed Wagyu beef cows.
In his famous blog gatesnotes, Mr Gates praised the artificial insemination and other breeding technologies, the nutrition management, extent of genetics knowledge and use of cutting-edge digital equipment at Wylarah.
He wrote the Australian advancements could make a big difference in beef production in the likes of sub-Saharan Africa.
“AACo is one of the foremost experts in the developed world on tropical cattle production. Although they use innovation to raise higher quality beef that they can sell for a good price, I was more interested in learning about how their methods could help farmers in low income countries with similar climates,” he said.
Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith said Mr Gates’ work in taking advanced technologies to the world in the area of grain sorghums was well recognised and it made sense his foundation would be looking to extend that to beef.
“Australia is the place to go looking. We are definitely at the forefront of beef production technologies and management practices,” he said.
Australian Wagyu Association president Peter Gilmour said his organisation had long held the belief the Wagyu breed had the ability to transform Australia’s beef herd by bringing in softer meat and more edible cuts through the influence of intramuscular fats.
That transformation had the potential to spread overseas, he said.
The Wagyu breed was on the cusp of extraordinary technology and genetic advancements and there was extremely widespread international interest in that, he said.
AACo has responded in a humble way.
Managing director Jason Strong said AACo was very excited about the visit, grateful for the opportunity to play host to the Gates and proud of the impression Wylarah left.
However, Mr Strong said he did not want commentary on the event to distract from the Gates Foundation message.