DESPITE his family breeding quality shorthorn cattle for more than 100 years, it was not until two years ago that Laird Morgan paid much attention to wagyu as a breed.
But after deciding the breed had more to offer the Australian beef cattle industry than it was credited for, he took the plunge and made a major investment in breeding stock.
It turned out to be a wise decision, because once the quality bloodlines were matched with Mr Morgan's extensive breeding knowledge, the results were nothing short of spectacular.
Mr Morgan and wife Sonia broke a record at last week's Elite Wagyu Sale, held in Albury at the 2017 Wagyu Expansion conference.
Their stud, Arubial, based in Condamine, was responsible for the record-breaking heifer in utero price, which came in with an impressive $95,000 price tag.
When the gold-plated heifer is born, she will become the highest scoring heifer on the wagyu fullblood terminal index, a title currently held by her mum.
Mr Morgan was pretty humble about the results, but said watching the auction was an amazing experience.
"We were there for the conference and it was a little bit surreal," Mr Morgan said.
"It was fantastic and very nice to have my breeding program validated."
He said when it came to his breeding program, he'd never had any real training beyond growing up under his shorthorn-breeding father and picking up tips from an old friend.
"Jack Henry, an old mate who is now passed on, got me into understanding and utilising my breed plan and the figures that come from it," he said.
Mr Morgan said Arubial was not just a wagyu and shorthorn stud, but also a feedlot, and said it was running the feedlot that first attracted him to the wagyus.
"Wagyu is certainly a premium product, but when I looked into it they have a lot more to offer than just good meat," Mr Morgan said.
"They're very fertile and they have a big resistance to bovine respiratory disease, which is one of the biggest killers in feedlots.
"They're very hardy and even though you won't get the premium product from it, they will still survive on very low nutritional levels.
"So they're very hardy and very fertile and I think they've got a lot to offer the beef industry apart from meat quality."
Other records at the sale included $105,000 for a bull offered by Scott de Bruin's Mayura Wagyu at Millicent, South Australia and a package of 10 straws at $28,000 each was sold by the Japanese- owned Macquarie Wagyu stud and specialist Wagyu feedlot managed by Anthony and Chantal Winter on the Darling Downs.
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