September 15, 2020


Australian livestock genetics firm seeking to work with cattle producers for Wagyu breeding project


Australian livestock and genetics company Austrex is looking to work with Angus cattle producers in Australia as part of an innovative large-scale F1 Wagyu breeding project developed to custom-produce stock for Japanese live exports and domestically-fed Wagyu F1 beef programmes.

Launched in March, the programme will use sexed semen to tailor production of F1 steers to feed into Austrex's supply chain networks including its Japanese Wagyu live export business and branded beef trading business.

To meet growing market demand, Austrex is aiming to secure around 2,500 Angus females from vendors on a contract-breeding basis for artificial insemination of maiden heifers or breeders for the 2022 calving season.

In addition to steers for live and boxed beef export, standout bull and heifer progeny bred through the programme will be retained for sale to both domestic and international customers.

Already, 400 Clerkness Pastoral Co females out of Central Queensland have been used to kick-start the programme, an initiative of Austrex's Wagyu operation, Shima Wagyu (formerly Stocklink).

Austrex operations coordinator (Japan Feeder) Rob Cameron said the large scale use of semen-sexing to increase production of steers was a relatively new concept for the Australian beef industry.

“Most often, this technology has been implemented to increase female numbers for breeding so using it in this way, we believe, is a very new approach,” Cameron said.

“We are hoping to achieve a 75% male calving rate, which will mean a greater rate of return for the vendors at time of selling given the superior price achieved for steers suited to our high-value markets.

“The project is particularly targeting Angus producers in NSW (New South Wales) and Southern Queensland, an area renowned for their high-quality Angus cattle, and geographically close to Austrex's operations at near Toowoomba.”


Cameron added: “We have well-established buy-back programmes available to the producers who partner with us as part of this new initiative.”

The sexed-semen used for the programme will be from DSWFN7171, one of SHIMA Wagyu's leading Tajima-type sires for F1 programmes, and a son of ADBFA0139, considered one of the most popular Wagyu bulls in the world, whose semen has sold for up to $60,000 per dose.

Founded in 2013 as StockLink, Shime Wagyu is Austrex's base herd of elite Wagyu which are held in Tasmania to take advantage of some of the most reliable pastures in the country, and superior biosecurity and disease control.

While strategic investments are in place to extend this herd to 500 purebred females for seedstock purposes, growing demand for Wagyu-infused beef has led Austrex to identify new pathways to increase stock numbers across Australia, to funnel into both Japanese and domestic markets.

“This unique initiative will help us to grow the size of our herd and its elite genetic footprint, which we will continue to promote throughout Australia and the world,” Cameron said.

“We're looking forward to collaborating with a number of Australian producers throughout this process to capture the value of our growing market opportunities, and are excited to integrate this new technology and unique model into our operations to meet rising demand for premium genetics and beef.”

- Beef Central