Australia’s largest cattle company’s herd grows but its value drops nearly $150 million

Australia’s largest cattle company’s herd grows but its value drops nearly $150 million

Australia’s largest cattle company has increased its herd size by 5 per cent to about 455,000 head, but the value of the herd has fallen nearly $150 million.

Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) chief executive David Harris said the company’s FY24 results (its financial year ending March 31) released today were a “strong result in difficult conditions”. 

“Anyone in beef or agriculture knows cattle prices have taken a fair hit, up to 40 per cent in the last year, and for us it was a $149.4 million effect,” he said.

“AACo posted a $50.5 million operating profit for FY24, [which is] 25 per cent down, but is still AACo’s second largest operating profit.”

He said the company was optimistic that cattle prices would “improve over time”, but did not expect it to rush back to the record highs of 2022.

AACo’s 200th birthday

AACo is celebrating its 200th year of operation and has relaunched its 1824 Wagyu brand, which “celebrates the year our story began and two centuries of perfecting our craft”, Mr Harris says.

The company originally ran sheep in New South Wales, but now runs the nation’s largest herd of F1 Wagyu cattle across 6.5 million hectares in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

AACo’s Wagyu beef is a premium product sold mostly into overseas markets and its overall meat sales revenue increased 10 per cent this year.

The value of AACo’s herd decreased by $150 million in the 12 months to March 31.(Supplied: AACo)

Mr Harris said branded meat sales into Asia grew 28 per cent over the last 12 months, but fell sightly in Europe, the Middle East and North America.

He said the Middle East market had responded well to innovative products AACo was working on, such as “Wagyu bacon”.

“While it sounds a bit odd, I can assure you it’s absolutely delicious,” Mr Harris said.

“It’s a value-added product we’ve come up with for some of those markets which don’t eat pork.

“It is delicious and we’ve had some really positive feedback.”

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