Are you looking for a producer, who can give you a high-quality Wagyu but at a much more affordable price than 400-USD-per-kilogram Japanese Wagyu? I have to say that your choice of Australian Wagyu, one of the three most popular Wagyu brands in the world, is an absolutely wise answer. Yet, there are still more important things you need to know to pick out the best piece of meat for your family meals, or your customers’ dinners if you own a business. Therefore, on this page, we will go together to expand our understanding of the Australian Wagyu as well as its grading system. Don’t waste more time, let’s begin!

1. What is an Australian Wagyu?

It would be much better for us to share a common understanding of what we call Australian Wagyu before diving into those complicated things that follow.

Have you ever heard of appellation controlee, a distinction given to French wines that ensure the production took place in a particular region?

But did you know that professionals in the meat industry use a similar term for Wagyu steak?

It is a common notion that Japan gave rise to wagyu cattle for ages. More than 2,000 years ago, to be exact.

During the Meiji restoration, crossbred animals first arose to bring Western cuisine and culture to Japan.

Years later, Australia (and also the US) started expanding their Wagyu herds, giving the world access to this tender steak. In 1990, Australia acquired the first Wagyu genetics, and it received its first livestock of full-blood Japanese cattle in 1997.

The Australian Wagyu that we know today is the product of  crossbreeding between full-blood Japanese Wagyu bulls and indigenous Australian cows.

And as nicely noted: It is similar to the way people created American Wagyu. Yet, Australian beef tastes subtly different from American beef. This is because Australian beef is mainly grass-fed and pasture-raised, so it is much leaner and has a special flavor like game meat.

As remaining the signature characteristics of original Wagyu beef, the Australian one has plenty of marbling, the visible intramuscular fat layers. This made every piece of meat incredibly tender and juicy, to the extent that the meat will immediately dissolve when you chew your first bite. Yet, the texture is a little firmer than Japanese Wagyu, though.

Australia is currently the largest non-Japanese Wagyu breeder. 90% of the beef produced is exported, and the remaining 10% is consumed locally.

Not surprisingly, the Australian Wagyu Association, which represents domestic wagyu breeders, is the biggest organization of its kind outside of Japan.

Quite a lot of information... but still comprehensible, right?

I just want to ensure that you are fine. So, that’s enough for a short break. Be ready to go on with the most detailed description of the grading system of the Australian Wagyu.

2. How To Define The Rank Of An Australian Wagyu Beef?

There are currently two grading systems used to grade Australian Wagyu. The latest one is known as Meat Standards Australia. The more popular system is AUS-MEAT.

2.1. AUS-MEAT system

As being one of the biggest producers of Wagyu beef in the world, Australia soon created its own grading scale, the AUS-MEAT marbling system.

Compared to the other system, the AUS-MEAT is an older standard that mainly focuses on marbling.

AUS-MEAT grades are very similar to BMS (Beef Marbling Standard) used in the Japanese Wagyu grading system. The ranges of quality scores required to get a grade from 1 to 5 are also the same. Take an example, an Australian Wagyu BMS 5 is the same as a Japanese Wagyu BMS 5.

And yet, you guessed it right, there is still a difference between the two systems.

The Australian system only goes up to a quality score of 9, not up to 12. This scale ranges from 0 (no intramuscular fat or marbling) to 9+. (extraordinary amounts of marbling). Grade 9+ is the highest and represents everything scored above 9 (scores 10, 11, and 12). Anything with a grade of 9+ or higher is, no doubt, exceptionally good.

(However, A fun fact to know: Australian Wagyu beef is graded using the same system as other Australian beef, which ranges from M0 to M9.

Some Australian Wagyu sellers, yet, extended the grades on their own because the actual marbling amount of Australian Wagyu Beef was richer than the grading system could cover.

That is why you might still see Wagyu marked M10, M11, and M12 - no fraud in here)

2.2. Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Grading System

In addition to the AUS-MEAT system, Australian Wagyu is also graded through Meat Standards Australia (MSA).

The MSA scale ranges from 100 (no intramuscular fat) to 1190 (extreme amounts of intramuscular fat). There are increments of 10 on this scale. Australian Wagyu is rated by MSA according to the following criteria:

  • Meat Color
  • Marbling
  • Fat Depth
  • Carcass Weight
  • Maturity
  • PH

This is a very comprehensive but also complex standard to assess, on the other hand.

Therefore, the MSA is supposed to be an improved grading standard from the preceding scoring system.

Here, you might wonder. Is there a formula to convert MSA marbling scores into AUS-MEAT marbling scores? Cruelly NO…due to different assessment criteria.

Though don’t be upset already, it is by no means we have no idea.

Thanks to some conscientious vendors, you can make a relative comparison as follows:



BMS (Japan)




























3. Different Label Of Australian Wagyu

With the grading system just in mind, it’s not a bad idea to learn about different Australian Wagyu labels right now.

So, we can divide the meats into 4 groups in terms of quality, ranging from Platinum to Black, White and Blue labels.

3.1. Platinum Label - Rare Products Available For A Limited Time

This is the group of the Australian Wagyu with a grade out of 9.

Don’t need to say much, as we already know that anything graded 9+ will be extremely outstanding (and also expensive, obviously).

3.2. Black Label - Rare Australian Wagyu

Now, you're entering the exclusive world of the billionaires of beef with Wagyu Marbling Scores of 8 and 9. These steaks are rich on a completely new level and seem to be almost as soft as a stick of butter.

This type of Australian Wagyu beef is so succulent and juicy with that gorgeous web of creamy intramuscular fat, or marbling, spreading more and more throughout the meat. This gives the meat a melt-in-your-mouth texture that you will never forget.

3.3. White Label

Richer and denser premium steak slices with Marble Scores of 6 and 7 will provide a creamier mouthfeel and much more of that lovely webbing of fat visible. You can still eat large servings without running the risk of a richness overload because the food is buttery without being overly lavish.

3.4. Blue Label

Due to the superior flavor profile of Wagyu cattle breeding, MS 4 and MS 5 Wagyu beef is rife with a good quantity of creamy white fat marbling and offers mouthwatering flavor and a softer texture than you'll ever experience from supermarket steaks. This affordable Wagyu is ideal for frequent indulgers as well as those just starting.

4. What is the difference between Japanese wagyu and Australian Wagyu

While both the Australian and Japanese Wagyu is deliciously and farmed for their extravagant levels of marbling, what makes them different?

Although they may appear and taste the same to consumers, the following facts will definitely impress your friends and family.

Of course, as we just discovered, the Australian grading system for meat is very different from the Japanese grading system.

Beef marbling is noticeable in both Japanese and Australian wagyu. Australian Wagyu has a prominent marbling content, but not to the same extent as Japanese Wagyu.

And now you may ask: What is the reason behind this difference?

Firstly, the different soil and climate between Australia and Japan account for the majority of the taste and quality differences.

Secondly, it's also crucial to remember that each farmer has a distinct method and technique when comparing Japanese Wagyu with Australian Wagyu.

4.1. Climate and soil can affect the taste of beef

All Australian Wagyu beef should be praised for its distinctions from the Japanese one due to the various soils, climate, grasses, and rainfall in Australia compared to Japan.

You could see that this is similar to wine, which can be grown in different places but have a completely different flavor. This is attributed to varying climatic conditions and soil types, these variations in climate and soil quality will affect the quality and flavor of the beef.

For example, Australia has a lot more open grassland and space for the cattle to graze naturally during various stages of the production process.

Not to mention that a farm's location inside a nation can undoubtedly impact the flavor of its beef. Australia's climate varies greatly from the North to the South in different regions. Tropical grasses can be found in the North, where it is hot and muggy, whereas conventional grasses like rye and clover can be found in the South, where it is milder.

And, it is not redundant to discuss customers' demands in different regions. Customer preference is really key in finding the perfect piece of meat. Some prefer the strong flavor and very tender meat, others prefer a mild taste with a little texture. 

4.2. The feeding methods

The marbling content is different for many factors, one of them is how they are fed.

But first, we need to make a statement here.

Because wagyu may be produced in so many various ways and because every farmer has their unique techniques and production processes, it is exceedingly challenging to directly compare Australian and Japanese wagyu. Comparing the practices of individual farmers as opposed to an entire nation would be considerably simpler.

Yet, this time, we will make a relative comparison based on general knowledge.

Australia is the country where Australian Wagyu cattle are raised, fed, grown, and processed. As Australia's soils, grasses, and climate are inherently different from those of Japan, their various feeding practices (fed for 350–450 days) have an impact on the texture and size of each Wagyu. Purebred, Fullblood and Crossbred All Australian Wagyu are marbled differently and have a lot of muscle fat. Despite being Japanese in origin, most Australian Wagyu cattle are crossbred. Australian Wagyu often receives a grade of 6 or above under the Australian beef grading system (AUS-MEAT & Meat Standards of Australia), which rates marbling from 0 to 9.

Japanese Wagyu cattle, on the other hand, are 100% ful–blood Wagyu and have a pure ancestry with no crossbreeding. Japanese Wagyu is more exclusive and expensive than Australian Wagyu since it is born, raised, processed, and fed entirely within the borders of Japan. These cows are fed for at least 600 days. It increases the tenderness and size of Japanese Wagyu by using a longer feeding method. Japanese Wagyu is renowned around the world for its superior levels and quality of marbling and has a uniquely sweet flavor. Only this particular variety of wagyu may achieve the coveted grade of A5 in accordance with the Japanese Beef Grading System (grade levels from A-C, beef quality grades from 1 to 5, and beef marble score from 3 to 12).

4.3. Distinction between the origin

Another factor is the distinction between Fullblood and Crossbred cattle.

Despite having Japanese genes, Australian Wagyu cattle are produced, fed, reared, and processed there. The majority of Australian Wagyu cattle, according to Kimio Osawa, the founder of Osawa Enterprises, are crossbred.

“Over 95% of Australian Wagyu cattle are crossbred with other breeds. This makes them Crossbred or Purebred Wagyu,” Kimio says.

On the other hand, Japanese Wagyu cattle have a pure lineage with no crossbreeding, making them 100% full-blood Wagyu.

Australian Wagyu meat, therefore, is smaller than American Wagyu beef in terms of actual steak size.

And the price per pound is a distinct difference. Bred, fed, grown, and processed in Japan, this makes Japanese Wagyu beef more exclusive and expensive than Australian Wagyu. In other words, Australian Wagyu is typically less expensive than Japanese.

5. Australian Wagyu and American Wagyu

American Wagyu is typically a 50 percent Wagyu crossbreed with fewer than 5,000 full-blood animals, according to research comparing Australian and American wagyu. Whereas, Australian Wagyu is about 95% related to the original Japanese Wagyu.

5.1. Australian Wagyu

The largest Wagyu herd outside of Japan is in Australia, where it all began in 1988 when ranchers introduced Wagyu genetics to crossbreed with their cattle.

They have become one of the greatest in the Wagyu industry and it's all because of their attention to detail. Many farmers also commend Australia for its excellent rainfall, springs, and grass. The flavor, quality, and texture of the meat will be impacted by each of these elements.

Although the meat from these cattle is thinner than that from Japanese cattle, it is nonetheless regarded as having an exceptional flavor because of its marbling. Australian Wagyu beef is distinguished by its soft texture and mild flavor. Although the beef has substantial marbling, it is a wonderful choice for grilled meat because of its leaner texture and appealing appearance.

5.2. American Wagyu

In the middle of the 1970s, the Wagyu cow was introduced to the US market, where it all began with just four bulls that made the voyage. However, by the 1990s' conclusion, Japan had declared its cattle a national treasure and had banned their export, while the US had only imported a total of 200 animals.

In the US, crossbreeding between a Wagyu bull and an Angus dam is quite common. American Style Kobe is the name given to the offspring, while American Style Kobe beef is the name given to the meat. Wagyu bulls are frequently utilized in conjunction with Holstein cows. Only a few Wagyu farms, though, still concentrate on raising Wagyu from only pure blood.

Today, in the US, there are roughly 5,000 full-blood Wagyu and 30,000 crossbred Wagyu. Full-blood cattle are those whose DNA can be used to trace them back to their Japanese ancestors without any evidence of cross-breeding.

The most prevalent domestic breed, the crossbred Wagyu is typically a mixture of Wagyu and the most popular US breed, the Angus. Crossbred Wagyu are cows that have at least 50% Wagyu blood in them. The ultimate result is a wonderful fusion of the buttery marbling that is characteristic of Wagyu with the powerful flavor of American beef.

6. Conclusion

In the end, Japanese Wagyu beef is still the world's most delectable breed of cattle. Compared to the Australian one, it has a better texture and flavor. Nevertheless, Australian Wagyu is valuable because it has roughly 95% of the original Japanese Wagyu beef. Japanese and Australian Wagyu beef are both popular due to their purity, though. So if you want a high-quality Wagyu but at a much more affordable price, the Australian is unignorable.

And hope that, with this information about the grading system, you are now able to find yourself the best cooking ingredients for your family meals, as well as your restaurant’ dishes.