Prestigious Merial Howard W Yelland Award to industry leader David Blackmore.

The 2013 Merial Howard W Yelland Award for outstanding service to the Australian beef industry was presented to pioneer Wagyu breeder David Blackmore whose Blackmore Wagyu business is situated on the Goulburn River flats at Alexandra, Victoria.

The award is presented by the Australian Beef Industry Foundation (ABIF) in conjunction with Marcus Oldham College, Geelong and is sponsored by Merial Australia.

The award was presented to David Blackmore in recognition of his contribution to the Australian beef industry as a pioneer of the Wagyu breed in Australia and his promotion of Australian Wagyu branded product in both domestic and export markets. His commitment to sustainable farming involving financial viability, respect for the environment, strong ethical standards in animal welfare and a passion for creating the best in the world emphasises his role as an industry leader prepared to share his knowledge and experience for the benefit of the industry.

In presenting the award Sam Inglis, Director of Farm Business Management and Corporate Training Marcus Oldham College said “A visit to USA in 1988 and a chance meeting at Texas A&M resulted in Blackmore’s access to pure blood Japanese genetics that represented the major blood lines of the Japanese breed. Blackmore Wagyu are pioneers in the development of the breed in Australia being the only breeder using the traditional Japanese style rations and all the Japanese traditions and heritage of the breed. David has spent years researching Wagyu history, bloodlines and animal husbandry, and has been one of the few Westerners invited to Japanese Agricultural research centres, Universities, AI centres, prominent breeder farms and feed and processing facilities in Japan”

The Blackmore business currently produces in excess of 1000 pure bred calves per year through embryo transfer. On a combination of owned and leased property Blackmore Wagyu run in excess of 3000 full blood Wagyu including 1200 breeding cows.

Blackmore Wagyu Beef is a family business operated by David, his wife Julie. Son Ben is the Marketing Manager and daughter Danielle the IT expert. Blackmore Wagyu is an award winning product that is sold to gourmet butchers and high-end restaurants domestically and is exported to 14 overseas markets. It is a fully integrated business that breeds, feeds and markets its total production.

The food industry has recognised David’s contribution with a number of major awards.

The award is made annually and is in recognition of Howard W Yelland, a pioneer in the industry through his championing of objective selection and performance recording in the Australian Beef Industry. His championing of objective selection and his contribution to performance recording spanned a lifetime. His family commenced objective selection in the early 1900’s,began weighing cattle in 1910 and recording the results in 1960.

Howard Yelland built his herd selection program around measurement. The Glen Trevor herd was among the first beef herds in Australia to make selection and breeding decisions based on performance; well before the days of on farm electronic weighing scales, computerised ear tags and data terminal uploads. Howard Yelland would truck bulls to the local rail siding to use the railway weigh bridge to measure their growth rates. All records were calculated and recorded manually and decisions for mating groups made on this data, a long cry from the vast data base of information which now underpins the objective selection of beef cattle in this country and around the world.

The Merial Howard Yelland Beef Industry award seeks to recognise individuals who have given service to the Beef Industry “above and beyond” their normal role.

(l to r) John Gunthorpe (ABIF Chairman) David Blackmore, Ivan Pike (Merial Australia),

Julie Blackmore, Sam Inglis (Marcus Oldham College)