My entry into Wagyu cattle breeding started in 1997 when I attended a field day in North East Victoria. Simon Coates from Sumo Wagyu gave a presentation which provided information on the Wagyu breed and the potential of these cattle in Australia. Most people had either never heard of the breed or had paid no attention to them labelling them as a “gimmick” of akin to ostriches. There was talk about the price premiums available for F1 Wagyu calves and the speakers were doing their very best to convince people to join their best Angus cows and even stud Angus cows to Wagyu bulls. Most farmers who attended that field day walked away saying that it all seemed too good to be true and scoffed at the thought of only using their best or stud Angus cows as had been suggested.
A simple small sample of some Wagyu beef was provided at that field day from a BBQ as a “taste test”. This was one of the things that helped convince me to look into Wagyu further – the small portion of meat was tender, flavoursome, and simply magnificent. This simple “taste test” changed my mind about Wagyu right there and then and inspired me to take a serious look at the breed..
After doing some of my own research about Wagyu and attending a second field day on the breed, I bought my first Wagyu bull and converted a small part of my Angus herd to F1 Wagyu production as “an experiment”. I was looking to improve the quality of the beef I was producing and to also find a better way and step away from the local beef market systems and the wild price fluctuations and often poor returns obtained.
Whilst there were some initial teething problems in those early days, I found that, as I had been told at the field days, there were price premiums available for these cattle and there was definitely a market for them. I converted 100 Angus cows to F1 production and also sourced another 150 F1 Wagyu heifers and cows over the following years to move more quickly into higher Wagyu content production. I could see the benefits and found them to be cattle that were generally easier to handle than other breeds I had. Some of my neighbours were less than impressed with the new additions to my paddocks saying things like ‘You’re mad”, “they’ve got no rump”, “can you move them away from the boundary fences – I don’t want people to think they’re mine” and so on !!! ……………..Some of those people still buy Wagyu beef from me.
Cross bred Wagyu cattle in those days were predominantly going to the live export trade to Japan. In more recent years the cross bred cattle have been more in demand within Australia and my preference was to sell as locally as possible.
In the last few years I have downsized my cross bred cattle operation and decided to establish a full blood Wagyu herd with a view to breeding a smaller number of high quality full blood Wagyu animals. This has been the start of “Lisheen Wagyu“ which is based from my property “Lisheen” located in the hills about an hour north of Melbourne. AI and Embryo transfers are used in an effort to rapidly improve the genetic quality of the full blood herd. Sires with quality pedigrees and high EBV accuracy have been preferred.
All Full blood calves are subjected to a thorough genetic testing and vaccination program, and all have Breedplan performance information recorded. All cattle on the property have been tested for Pestivirus and the property now running a PI free, closed herd. All performance data, vaccinations, treatments, and basically anything relating to each animal, is recorded on a livestock management system. I have been an early adopter of newly available genetic testing and other technology in an effort to gain as much accurate information as possible about the cattle I breed.
A comprehensive Biosecurity plan is in place for the property with a current JBAS score of 6.
Limited numbers of Quality Full Blood Wagyu Bulls, Heifers, Embryos and Semen will be made available for sale from time to time and can be viewed via the “FOR SALE” tab of this site.
Bulls are available from a variety of bloodlines. Some of the bulls offered for sale have EBV’s and/or Index Values in the top 10% (or better) of the breed in Australia. All bulls are raised under paddock conditions and receive hay and silage during times of feed shortage. To ensure that a true indication of performance is available, bulls do not receive grain supplements to boost their weight. All full blood Wagyu bulls receive additional vaccinations, are fertility tested and freeze branded before sale and are accompanied to their new homes with a full Animal History Report, a National Cattle Health Declaration, a copy of their Registration Certificate, and a Fertility Test Report.
Cattle can be inspected at the property but strictly by arrangement and in line with Bio Security procedures.
The emphasis at Lisheen Wagyu is on Quality.