Excellence without compromise
Mayura Station is one of the largest full-blood Wagyu beef producers in Australia, and is home to one of the largest 100 per cent Wagyu herds in the world. Their boutique brand of full-blood Wagyu beef is produced on historic ‘Mayura Station’ one of the first pastoral leases in South Australia located in the tightly held farming district of the Limestone Coast of South Australia.
The company’s property is family-owned, and all their cattle are bred, born, raised and grain-fed on it.
“Just like thoroughbred horses, our herd’s ancestry, bloodlines and pedigree are major distinguishing factors in the quality of our beef,” says Scott de Bruin, a Managing Partner of the company. “Our full-blood Wagyu cattle are performance bred to deliver the highest quality to our customers.”
Mayura Station has been owned by the de Bruin family since the early 1980s. In 1998, they received the second ever live shipment of full-blood Japanese black-haired Wagyu – a breed of cattle that is world renowned for producing the highest quality beef. The shipment was imported from one of Japan’s premier black-haired Wagyu farmers, Mr. Shogo Takeda.
Scott has been involved in the family business his whole life, and began working at Mayura Station full time in 1997. In the intervening years, Scott and his father Adrian have propelled Mayura Station into one of the industry’s leading Wagyu beef producers.
Today, Mayura Wagyu is sold in fine dining establishments throughout Australia and internationally in Singapore, Shanghai, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia. The business has had solid growth over the last decade, maintaining this growth during the GFC. Since 2007 revenue has grown at an average rate of 27 per cent per annum.
Conception to completion
Mayura Station has achieved recognition throughout Australia and South East Asia for providing some of the highest quality beef available on the market. Scott credits that recognition, firstly, to the quality of their cattle. By using only the famous Japanese black-haired Wagyu, they set themselves apart from almost all beef producers.
“Wagyu is the highest quality beef there is in the marketplace,” Scott says. “It’s incredibly consistent, and it’s the most tender, best tasting beef on the planet.”
Even in the Wagyu market, however, Mayura Station has an edge due to their focus on “conception to completion.”
“We raise the cattle, we run our own feedlot, we grow all our own grains that are used in that feedlot – and we handle all the product and marketing from there,” Scott explains. “It’s a fully vertical-integrated process, providing the ultimate in traceability.”
Mayura Station’s excellence begins with their location on the Limestone Coast of South Australia. Land in that south-eastern corner of the country is world-renowned for its fertile earth and sparkling clean water. Mayura’s property in the region encompasses over 7,500 acres of rolling terra-rossa hills, unique peat valleys, and lush pastures – the perfect setting for raising full-blood Wagyu cattle.
“It’s one of the best farming regions in Australia,” Scott says. “That helps us to produce the highest quality cattle and grains.”
Mayura’s excellence continues with their breeding. According to Scott, the company holds a unique view on genetics and cattle production. Their cattle are not selected for size or rapid growth – they are selected with the objective of achieving fine meat texture, high levels of marbling, soft melting fat and flavour.
In the last 10 years, Scott has formed a particularly close relationship with Shogo Takeda, who imported the company’s first shipment of Wagyu in 1998. Takeda continues to act as a world leader in beef production and visits Mayura Station at least once a year. He is always striving to evolve his techniques to match the global environment, and his efforts are reflected by the average carcass quality of his product – 85 per cent A-5, the highest quality grade achievable in Japan.
As part of that breeding process, Mayura Station has gone above and beyond in their grain feeding. In 2007, they completed construction on one of Australia’s most advanced feeding facilities, which was purpose-built for grain-feeding only full-blood Wagyu cattle.
That facility – which Scott describes as “five star treatment for cattle” – was incorporated into a large barn structure in the side of an excavated hill, and provides shelter from the prevailing weather conditions. The pen floor inside is cushioned with soft sawdust,
The actual feed in the facility is delivered by an automated system that represents the first of its kind in Australia when it comes to grain-feeding cattle. But Mayura Station does not “rush it,” Scott says. They recognise that growing quality beef takes time and patience, and they follow the time honoured Japanese slow growth technique, which takes more than 500 days.
“Also, the ingredients used in the grain-feeding program are primarily grown on our Mayura Station property,” Scott adds. “They have been chosen for their ability to enhance the smooth buttery flavour and mouth-watering tenderness of our full-blood Wagyu beef.”
Highest quality available
Mayura Station’s unrivalled commitment to quality control has not gone unrewarded. In 2010, for example, their full-blood Wagyu was recognised at the prestigious Delicious Produce Awards with a gold medal. They were also named finalists in the 2007 and 2008 awards, and in 2009 they earned gold at the 2009 Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards.
More recently, the company was awarded a gold medal in the Australian Wagyu Association’s inaugural Wagyu Branded Beef Competition in 2012. That award was won through the result of a blind taste test, and the competition included entries from the nation’s best-known Wagyu producers.
“That was fantastic recognition for all of the hard work that our team here at Mayura puts in,” Scott says. “Our staff do a terrific job at producing a consistently high quality article, and I’m thrilled they got recognised for it.”
That award was Mayura Stations’ second of the year – they won another gold medal at the 2012 Delicious National Produce Awards, where their ultra-premium beef was recognised in the ‘From the Paddock’ category. Scott is particularly proud of their victories at those events because they are not just competing against other beef producers.
“Those are fantastic accolades,” he says, “Because you’re judged as having some of the best food products in all of Australia.”
Scott credits all of those accolades to the fact that the company consistently achieves a high quality result, all year-round.
“What that means is when you sit down to eat a Mayura Station steak, whether it’s Feb. 13 or Nov. 28, it tastes the same,” he says. “You get the same beautiful flavours and tenderness.”
Strength to strength
After beginning with only 29 full-blood Wagyu cattle, Mayura Station’s full-blood herd has grown to number more than 5,000. In recent years, the company bought two complete Wagyu businesses and undertook three additional volume purchases. Moving forward, Scott says he fully expects that growth to continue.
“Currently we’re producing about 20 to 22 tonnes of luxury quality meat every month,” he explains. “I’m looking to take that to about 50 tonnes a month. That’s our short term production goal.”
In the long-term, he adds that he wants to continue to grow Mayura’s profile in Asia, and continue to take their products into new and emerging markets. At the same time, he also wants to maintain the strong client relationships he has already forged. Today, he says most of his clients can also be counted as friends.
“We support our customers with quality and we back it up with service,” he says. “We want to continue to build strength through our relationships.”