The 2022 Wagyu Hall of Fame Awardee Peter Hughes’ impact spans all aspects of Wagyu production – from supporting the development of new Wagyu producers, through to the establishment of global chains.
The Australian Wagyu Association Hall of Fame recognises pioneers of the industry, true blue legends and those who have shaped the Wagyu Sector to what it is today. During the opening of the 2022 WagyuEdge Conference in Melbourne o, AWA President Mr Charlie Perry awarded the 2022 Hall of Fame recipient.
Peter and Jane Hughes, together with their sons Fred and Sam are among the pioneers of the industry as well as leaders in current wave of consolidation and development of Australian pastoral properties.
The Hughes family owns Georgina Pastoral Co which originally operated around 100,000 head of cattle across three stations – which were Lake Nash on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory, Caldervale near Tambo in Central Queensland and Keeroongooloo via Windorah in the Channel Country.
They have since expanded with other significant property acquisitions including the addition of Stanbroke’s Miranda Downs Station and Victoria River District cattle stations Riveren and Inverway. The Hughes property aggregation is now estimated to hold more than 200,000 head and Wagyu is a large part of the Hughes success and future plans.
Peter has been described as a ‘Superpower of the Australian Beef Industry’ and ‘Australia’s undisputed cattle king”. He is more notably though, one of Pioneers of Australian Wagyu and certainly a core contributor to the growth and maturation of the Wagyu Sector.
Across the Hughes pastoral and Georgina pastoral empire, the crown jewels and headquarters of the family business is the family station Tierawoomba at Nebo, west of Mackay.
At Tierawoomba was where Peter’s love affair with Wagyu would begin. Based from Tierawoomba, over almost 30 years, the Hughes Wagyu breeder herd is now numberd at more than 50,000 purebreds, turning of 20-30,000 feeders each year to Peters long-term supply chain partners.
Peter’s good mate, close neighbour and fellow Wagyu Hall of Famer – Wally Rae – recalled that Peter was cautious about getting into Wagyu. He recalled that Peter wasn’t a risk taker and wanted to see how the cattle performed in the country.
Peter was first a foremost a cattleman and wanted to make sure the wagyu cattle would suit the country. A primary driver for Peter in getting into Wagyu was fertility and docility, the cattle performed so well in the Qld environment for weaning rates and surviving drought. Today, Peter, Jane and the Hughes pastoral team run what is thought to be the largest privately owned Wagyu herd in the world.
Peter broke down barriers, provided the confidence and supply that helped grow supply chains, brands and the broader Wagyu Sector around it.