Australian Wagyu Forum
 

AWF Contributor – Takao (Tak) Suzuki

AWA Identifiers: YAM & ECH

Latest News: AWA buys my global prefectural analysis business

By Tak Suzuki
While I am very pleased that prefectural analysis for the Japanese Black herd outside Japan will now be available to all breeders free of charge on the Australian Wagyu Association website, I am also very sorry to have to advise my many clients around the world that I will no longer be able to assist them in this part of my consultancy work.

Prefectural breeding is an important part of herd understanding, development and selection in Japan, but in the West, there was no ‘one-stop-shop’ when I started providing an analysis service on the Web about 13 years. To a large extent, nothing has changed. For years I provided analysis of individual animals to Japanese Black breeders right around the world, from Europe to the Middle East, and prefectural data for fullblood sales catalogues from the United States to Australia.

The demands of Suzuki Farm near Bathurst, NSW, which started in 2016, now require all of my time. This is a fulltime partnership focussed on vertically-integrated Japanese Black production to Japanese production standards.

I was first approached by AWA to sell the database around early 2017, but that negotiation dd stalled. Now, in 2020, I have sold the prefectural database and the related intellectual property exclusively to AWA.

At AWA, members will get a level of on-line power that I could not deliver. For example, members can search across the whole AWA database for animals with prefectural content that might meet their own specifications, in combination with EBV and other data. So a very useful tool has become much more powerful.

I am very proud to have been able to assist in the growth of the international Japanese Black herd, and also to have been able to work with the Australian Wagyu Association in a variety of roles since 2015, when I first started work as an image analyst providing data for EBVs from the MIJ camera application.

In 2016 I was fortunate to have been able to help resolve an issue that arose at a Wagyu Conference when some analysts announced that some fullblood animals in the AWA herdbook were possibly ‘fake Wagyu’. This arose from the identification of ‘outliers’ in fullblood Japanese Black genotype grouping across the Australian herd.

I provided prefectural pedigree analysis of these outliers that demonstrated conclusively that while mainstream Australian Japanese Black population is heavily clustered around Tajima breeding, while the differentiated ‘fake Wagyu’ outliers were predominantly from Kedaka and Itozakura sub-populations. Not fakes, just from a genetically differentiated prefectural subpopulation.

This 2016 work was also a clear demonstration in Australia of the heavy skew to Tajima selection in local breeding (confirmed by AGBU research published by AWA in July this year).

Prefectural understanding is important to a good understanding of the Japanese Black. But it is also just one of many tools.
I would like to thank all of my customers over the years and AWA for their support .

Tak Suzuki, Belltree principal

Beginnings

In 2006, Tak Suzuki (Belltree) assumed control of a Japanese-owned Wagyu seedstock startup at ‘Yamboon Park’, in the Megalong Valley, via Blackheath, NSW.

Operations

By 2012, a successful vertically integrated operation had evolved, combining seedstock production and fullblood long-feeding programs, with Japanese-quality Wagyu beef marketed through Blue Mountains Wagyu. In 2016, Tak entered into a partnership to form Suzuki Farms. In 2020, the partnership is now developing a fullblood Wagyu breeding and feedlot enterprise at Evans Plains, south of Bathurst, NSW.

Horses are central to Belltree operations. (And Pony Club is central to Megalong weekends).

Background

Tak immigrated to Australia in 1991. In Australia, he was initially employed as a pen rider at Rangers Valley, Glen Innes, completing the Certificate in Agriculture (Feedlot Management) at the University of New England, NSW in 2001. As Rangers Valley moved into Wagyu production, Tak moved into data analysis at the feedlot, managing Wagyu feeder performance databases to help optimize feedlot production and provide feedback to producers. He has also worked with many prominent Japanese Wagyu producers, including Mr. Takeda, to help inform Australian production.

Wagyu Feedshed, Belltree

Wagyu Feedshed, Belltree.