Where does the outstanding quality of Australian beef come from?

Cowes, Phillip Island/Australia | 22. October 2023 | Text + Pictures Oliver Schendzielorz

Next Stop Antarktis!

I asked myself this question when I came back to Phillip Island in Australia with MotoGP.

I was invited to dinner on my first day back in Australia by master butcher Paul from Hill Top Farm Butchers. Over a beer on Phillip Island and a fantastic Wagyu rump steak, personally prepared by him, we discussed many things about meat in Europe and Australia. The next day we visited rancher Andrew Walton on his farm, which Paul says has the best Black Angus cattle on Phillip Island. He didn’t promise too much, they are great animals with outstanding genetics. The cattle move freely in their huge enclosures with lush meadows. In our conversation, Farmer Andrew mentioned the salt content in the grass, which accumulates in the vegetation from the salty sea air, giving the meat a spicier note. We find exactly the same thing in Europe, namely in France. There, sheep and lamb are kept on the salt marshes around Mont-Saint-Michel, which also develops an outstanding taste. In Germany too, countless cattle are transferred to the Halligen islands over the summer, who then take over the landscape and enjoy the salty grass. (here is a video about it). If you look at the global map of salt marsh deposits, you will notice that the south of Australia covers a very large area and that most cattle and sheep are bred in these areas, such as Victoria and New South Wales. New Zealand also produces outstanding beef and sheep meat while also having large segments of salt marshes, and it is now evident to me that this grassland produces high-quality meat.

Next, we ventured from cattle to fish. I visited the San Remo Fisherman’s Co-Op and saw what kind of fish they had which I didn’t know about. I immediately found what I was looking for on the counter and tried out a Tassie Trumpeter. Tassie stands for the fishing area on Bass Street off the coast of Tasmania. The fish had unusually firm flesh and was a real delight in terms of taste. This couldn’t exactly be said about my choice of drink, Kirk’s creamy soda with vanilla and ice cream flavour.

Like last year, Paul put together a great selection of meat from Phillip Island for the now-traditional barbecue for my MotoGP teammates at the end of the event. On this occasion, he invited me to his family’s Saturday evening dinner, where there is traditionally always a barbecue. Together we grilled delicious Black Angus steaks, potato slices, cornsticks and what I haven’t done before, briefly blanched Brussels sprouts, halved and then grilled. That was really tasty!

Paul and I have decided that in the future we will work together, across continents and make our ideas a reality together.

Let yourself be surprised!

Germany meets Aussie-BBQ
Free-roaming Black Angus cattle on the lush salt marshes of Phillip Island

Black Angus
Animal identification in Australia
Salt marshes
Black Angus

Actually Aberdeen-Angus or simply Angus cattle, is originally a Scottish breed of small-framed, black, hornless cattle from the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Kincardine and Angus in northeast Scotland.

The breed of cattle was exported to many countries around the world. There are large populations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South America and the United States, which have evolved over time into different breeds such as the American Angus through crossbreeding with Longhorn cattle, or the Red Angus through Hereford cattle .

Due to its original origins, the breed is very hardy and has been able to survive the Scottish winters, which are often harsh, with snowfall and storms. In the 19th century it turned out that the breed was very resilient and adaptable to different climate zones and was exported worldwide for cattle breeding.

The rapid growth and resulting precociousness made the breed of cattle the world’s most popular steak supplier. The genetic trait of rapid fat gain due to precocity ensures that the meat has a high intramuscular fat content.

Quelle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen_Angus

Animal identification in Australia

Of course I was also interested in how animal identification is handled in Australia.

Since the country is much larger than here in Europe, I asked farmer Andrew Walton how he keeps track of the age and gender of the many animals in such a herd. He explained to me that it was very easy using the Australian ear tag system:

Ear tag color: year of birth


male ear tag on the right

female ear tag on the left

The maximum lifespan of suckler cows in Australia is limited to 10 years

Cattle male | born in 2021

Cattle female | born in 2022

Overview of the annual colors

Sources: Andrew Walton Phillip Island + https://www.integritysystems.com.au/identification–traceability/animal-identification/

Salt marshes

Every continent (except Antarctica) has shallow tidal coasts containing salt marshes and halophyte vegetation.

The combination of geomorphological factors, climate, flora and fauna makes each of these salt marsh groups a unique habitat. In Europe they can be found along the North and Baltic Sea coasts and the Atlantic. The salt marshes of the North Sea region differ from those of the North Atlantic. Here they are the only natural meadows outside of grassy steppes and the high mountains.

Examples of salt marshes also include the Arctic salt marsh, the Mediterranean salt marshes, the Pacific salt marshes (Japan, Siberia and China) and the salt marshes of Australia and Tasmania or those on the east and west coasts of North America.

Under tropical conditions, mangroves form under similar geomorphological conditions.

Source + More on the subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_marsh

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