Large Fullblood female offering as late Wagyu pioneer’s herd disperses

Beef Central, 11/06/2024

The sale offering totalling around 1450 head will represent one of the larger offerings of Wagyu genetics in recent times, including 893 registered Japanese Fullblood cows


THE large, well-regarded Wagyu seedstock herd founded by Australian Wagyu industry pioneer, the late Simon Coates is being offered for sale via expressions of interest.

Dr Coates efforts were pivotal in the importation of the earliest Wagyu genetics to Australia in the early 1990s. Using 250 purebred embryos from the herd developed by Texas A&M, his Sumo Cattle Co was in business as far back as 1991.

Originally based at Roma, and more recently near Ipswich, Sumo was one of the first five Wagyu studs registered in Australia, with herd recording starting in 1993.

The late Simon Coates

A veterinarian by profession, Dr Coates had a somewhat different perspective than some other early Wagyu breeders, especially in grasping the value of using innovative artificial breeding techniques such as embryo splitting and frozen embryos to expand the Wagyu breed’s footprint.

Dr Coates held Australia’s first Wagyu seedstock sale in either 1995 or 1996, attracting headlines for a string of eye-catching sales of bulls and heifers. Some of those cattle formed the foundations of other seedstock herds which have gone on to become bedrocks of the industry.

He was clearly a generous person, not only in sharing his industry knowledge with others entering the industry, but also in making his cattle genetics available to others, at a time when some early players were withholding their genetics from others.

He held numerous workshops and information days at his Roma property and elsewhere across eastern Australia, challenging cattlemen and women who had spent decades breeding ‘good looking, well-structured cattle’ to ‘look beyond the surface’ for the market qualities that lay beneath.

One of his key techniques during workshops was to ‘let the barbecue do the talking.’ Once a dubious beef producer experienced the ‘lightbulb moment’ taste and tenderness of their first F1 Wagyu burger, suddenly their attention became much more focussed on the possibilities.

Dr Coates became a councillor to the Australian Wagyu Association in 1993, and was the association’s second president from 1994 to 1997.

Sale via EOI

Following his passing three years ago, the Coates family has continued with the Sumo seedstock business, and was working towards an annual bull sale in August – but has now made the tough decision to offer the herd to the market, via expressions of interest.

Bruce Birch from Birch Rural is handling the sale.

He said early inquiry since the sale was announced had come from a wide range of interests, from corporates already engaged in the Wagyu industry to large northwest Queensland family-scale cattle producers, and other investors new to the industry.

“The ability to procure larger lines of Fullblood cows like this is very rare,” Mr Birch said.

The sale offering totalling around 1450 head will represent one of the larger offerings of Wagyu genetics in recent times, including 893 registered Japanese Fullblood cows, 81 recip cows and 41 F1 cows, 384 bulls (weaners through to two year olds intended for this year’s Sumo Wagyu sale), 14 Fullblood sires, 41 female calves and 43 bull calves.

Mr Birch said the breeding direction taken showed well-balanced EBVs.

“There’s certainly bulls there with high F1 terminal indexes, they’re good for marbling score and marbling fineness, and there’s also bulls with growth. You can see there was a vision in mind about how they wanted to build their bulls, genetically – they are quite carcasey, but they also have the figures to back them up,” he said.

Last year’s Sumo Wagyu sale produced a top price of $101,000 for Sumo Michifuku S211, sold to Penstock Pastoral, Victoria.

The cattle are mostly located on leased country between Grafton and Glen Innes, available for inspection.

Expressions of interest, either in the entire herd or component parts, close on 30 June.

Contact Bruce Birch for details: 0428 363 063,





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