Genetics

Seedstock industry records fall, as buying frenzy emerges for Wagyu genetics

Jon Condon, 01/04/2022

A RESURGENT Australian Wagyu industry has underlined the confidence in the sector with a series of eye-catching record statistics set at yesterday’s Mayura Station Wagyu genetics sale held near Millicent, South Australia.

A collection of 45 lots covering 22 heifers, 13 bulls, nine semen straw lots (30 straws in total) and a single offering of four embryos averaged $55,011/lot – easily an all-time record for any single-vendor seedstock sale of any breed in Australia, and potentially, the world.

Topping the sale at $245,000 was an unjoined 18-month old heifer Mayura R1356, a daughter of Mayura’s ‘boom’ sire Mayura Itoshigenani Jr.

Within the live animal component of the sale, the 22 registered heifers averaged an incredible $64,591, while the 13 young bulls averaged $44,577. Much of the bidding took place online, via Elite Livestock Auctions, although about 20 bidders lined up live, out of Mayura’s magnificent on-property restaurant facility.

Heifers peaked at $245,000, with another making $220,000 – both within sight of the Wagyu breed’s all-time record of $280,000 set two years ago (click here to view Beef Central’s list of record breed prices for bulls and females).

Topping the sale at $245,000 was an unjoined 18-month old heifer Mayura R1356, a daughter of Mayura’s ‘boom’ sire Mayura Itoshigenani Jr. She carried the highest Marbling Score EBV in the offering, sitting in the breed’s top 1pc for marbling score, SRI, Fullblood terminal index and F1 terminal index.

A half-sister also by ‘Junior’ offered just minutes earlier sold for the second top price of $220,000. Both heifers were bought by emerging Victorian Fullblood Wagyu breeder, Yulong Investments, which operates the prominent Yulong Thoroughbred breeding enteprise on three showcase Victorian properties on behalf of Chinese billionaire Yuesheng Zhang. Yulong last year bought another Mayura heifer, also by ‘Junior’ for $160,000.

Underbidder on the two highest-priced heifers was IVF genetics marketer GeneFlow, which ultimately bought another fullblood heifer in the catalogue by World K’s Shigashigetani, at $120,000. This heifer carried strong paternal and maternal genetics for carcase traits, carrying a rare combination of positive EBVs for Milk, carcase weight eye muscle area and marbling score. The heifer figures in the breed’s top 1pc for MS, EMA, SRI, FTi & F1Ti.

Bidding demand for two rare heterozygous poll Wagyu heifers was more subdued, each making $22,000.

While much of the sale attention was on elite females for use in ET multiplication breeding programs, the 13 bulls offered and sold attracted great interest, selling to $122,500 for a two-year-old son of LMR Toshiro 1/3, packed with growth and maternal traits. Weighing in at 858kg when weighed at 22 months R0152 was described as an “impressive animal in any breed”. A unique genetic package, his paternal grand sire Kikuhana produces excellent females, while his maternal grand sire Kitaguni 7-8 is one of the greatest bulls of all time in Japan and is still one of the most used bulls in Japan to produce feeder cattle.

While the sale’s record-priced semen lots for the past two years has featured collections from trait-leading sire Mayura Itoshigenani Jr, this year, an offering from Junior’s son Mayura Notorious – regarded by some as the ‘heir apparent’ in Wagyu breeding circles in Australia – topped the sale at $62,500 for four straws, and $60,000 for another four. Notorious is currently the highest eye muscle bull in the Wagyu breed in Australia.

Genetics from yesterday’s sale went to most Australian states, with additional support from the US and UK, with several lots going into embryo production and collection for export.

The sale was conducted by Grant, Daniel & Long, with Peter Brazier and Mark Duthie auctioneering.

“The sale is now back to its most buoyant level again, after several flatter years caused by drought, and the impact of over-supply of F1s from about 2019,” sale coordinator Harvey Wayman-Jones said.

“Now, the market has adjusted, and has come back bigger and better than ever,” he said.

“The previous Mayura sales achieved some high top prices, but it did not have the sheer depth of buying support seen this year.”

 

 

 

 

 

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