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A Wagyu heifer has sold for $400,000 at the Elite Wagyu Sale in Melbourne, setting a record for the most expensive beef animal sold in Australia.

The 13-month-old, sold as Lot 1 Sunnyside S0014, was purchased by Yulong Invest.

GDL Stud Stock Manager Harvey Weyman-Jones from Dalby said his team was involved from conception to sale.

“The vendors are a family farming operation near Inverell in NSW and are a regular client of ours. I sold them the semen of the sire, an unproven top young bull Arubial Bond in 2020. When the entries came in for the sale, I catalogued them all and selected this heifer Sunnyside S0014 to be the leading entry as Lot 1. This not only got the sale off to a strong start but also allowed underbidders to bid freely on other lots knowing that they haven`t secured their first choice.”

“I thought she would be close to beating our previous Female Record price of $280,000 achieved in 2019 and was delighted that she went on to beat the Bull record price as well. I introduced every lot and described their pedigree and performance, then handed over to our auctioneers to complete the sale. Peter Brazier our senior stud stock auctioneer sold this record price lot and did an outstanding job.”

“There is confidence in the Wagyu breed and demand will continue to grow in Australia and throughout the world. There were 70 bidders registered in the saleroom and a further 190 registered online last week including 45 internationals from 10 countries. In recent years many of the top lots have sold to USA or European buyers, but this year the Australian buyers took all the top lots,” said Mr Weyman-Jones.

Mr Weyman-Jones said improvements in the science of embryo collection has allowed females to produce more eggs than previous years which has seen stronger demand for the animals.

“You couldn’t warrant this price if you were just breeding for one natural calf per year, but science and technology has created a huge increase in the value of top-quality breeding females. Sunnyside S0014 will go into an Embryo Transfer Centre straight away and embryos will be collected from her for the next 6 -12 months combined with top quality semen. By the time she has her first natural calf she should have 10 – 20 calves born from the embryos collected and reared by recipient/surrogate dams.”

Mr Weyman-Jones hopes to have the pleasure of selling some of her progeny in years to come.

“S0014 should continue to produce 10-20 calves per year for many years. She will easily produce $1 million dollars’ worth of progeny to be kept by Yulong or sold at our sales.”

“This sale will have significant flow on effects for the industry. Every Wagyu breeder in the world has just received an increase in the paper value of their herd and this is also a great demonstration of the confidence in Australia’s beef sector,” said Mr Weyman-Jones

“It’s been a big week emotionally and physically, but we’re so satisfied that everything went to plan, and we achieved the record with the involvement of many good clients. We look forward to achieving more record prices as the beef market continues to firm and improvements are made in reproductive science.”