Bull semen is not something that sounds all that desirable, but some people are prepared to pay a lot for it — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.
- The Elite Wagyu National Sale was held in Adelaide for 2019
- A batch of bull semen sold for more than $67,000
- The record was also broken for the most expensive sale of female wagyu cattle
It is all about the stud. The quality of the bull determines the eventual quality of the meat — in this case wagyu beef.
Wagyu meat is prized as a delicacy in parts of the world, especially Japan, and Australia’s biggest sale of wagyu cattle has just concluded in Adelaide.
“Outside of Japan, Australia has the largest number of wagyu cattle in the world,” stock manager Harvey Weyman-Jones said.
“Japan don’t sell wagyu cattle outside of their country anymore. Anybody else in the world is basically looking at our genetics and our cattle here and sourcing from Australia.”
The Elite Wagyu National Sale sells some of Australia’s finest cattle and cattle genetics.
On Friday, bidders at the Adelaide Convention Centre competed with those online for the best bulls and heifers.
“Over the last few years we’ve sold quite a lot to South African breeders, the USA and Britain,” Mr Weyman-Jones said.
“This is the best catalogue we’ve had.”
At the sale, a batch of 10 bull semen [stored in straws] sold for more than $67,000.
Meanwhile, a record was broken for the most expensive sale of female wagyu cattle — bred at South Australia’s main wagyu farm in Millicent — fetching $280,000.
Overall sales from the auction totalled a whopping $1.66 million.
Embryos and semen sold by the straw
Among the categories of items for sale were embryos and semen, which are sold by the straw.
The straws are bundled into batches, which often attract big money.
“Last year we broke the record for semen. The record last year was $8,000 per straw,” Mr Weyman-Jones said.
“You take 10 straws and $80,000 would be the cost to that buyer.”
The wagyu breed of cattle is known for its high marbled fat content, but is still a relatively uncommon breed in Australia.
“They’re high marbling and the beef is prized and it’s the taste that comes from the marbling. High-end restaurants are serving wagyu beef and paying good money for it,” Mr Weyman-Jones said.
“By the time you’ve got it on your plate, you could be paying $150 or more for a steak.”
In Australia’s top restaurants, the cost of wagyu beef has been known to approach $400 for a 300-gram steak.
Much of the product is exported to overseas restaurants, but no cattle were present.
“All the cattle and genetics are kept at home or stored in a semen centre, or an embryo transplant centre,” Mr Weyman-Jones said.
Last year, a wagyu bull fetched $185,000.