“The recent Marathon Wagyu steer drop sold well, which gives us confidence knowing that our extensive data collection is benefitting not only feedlot buyers but also producers who are buying our herd’s genetics.”
Last year, a new chapter in Wagyu breeding was written when Michael and Susan McCosker purchased the Codenwarra Wagyu herd. The Codenwarra herd was bred by Michael’s late uncles, Robin and John McCosker, who visited Japan in 1997 and subsequently began their career as pioneers in bringing the Wagyu breed to Australia. Michael and Susan have amalgamated those generations of breeding with their own herd, Marathon Wagyu, combining heritage genetics with modern cattle traits. The Codenwarra herd still strongly recognises the Sumo genetics it’s bred from.
“We’ve bred our Marathon herd by implementing embryo transfer and artificial insemination, using some high-performance animals to rapidly expand our genetics,” Michael said. “Now we have a good mix of well-bred animals, with established fertility, mothering, growth and marbling traits.
“Our fertility is excellent and we’re achieving some great results through artificial reproduction. Using artificial reproduction is a great way to stay at the forefront of genetic improvement technologies.”
All data is important to the breeding plan and Marathon wagyu steers consistently perform impressively – with the most recent cohort demonstrating marble scores averaging 8.3 (MIJ). The AUS-MEAT beef quality grading system uses a scoring range of 0 to 9+, with the latter being the highest grade of exceptional marbling.
“We’ve got a base herd of large females with plenty of growth, and we’ve achieved this without compromising on carcase quality,” Michael said. “The recent Marathon Wagyu steer drop sold well, which gives us confidence knowing that our extensive data collection is benefitting not only feedlot buyers but also producers who are buying our herd’s genetics. We are selling our genetics all over Australia and internationally.”
Marathon Wagyu recently purchased an MIJ camera, and the principals use this to collect carcase data on both their and customers’ cattle in the abattoir.
“It’s something we like to do so we can consistently measure and verify carcase traits including marbling of every animal. This gives us traceable data that we can use when making future breeding decisions,” Michael said.
This attention to detail also transfers to production operations at the Codenwarra property in Emerald, Queensland. The family grows irrigated cotton, silage and grain on the property, as well as producing their Wagyu herd.
“Codenwarra is also home to a comprehensive backgrounding system that the family uses to grow out steers; and an artificial insemination facility where they store semen. We work with some amazing nutritionists, veterinarians and reproductive technicians to breed animals we are really proud of, and that we believe meet the needs of the modern Wagyu industry in Australia,” Michael said.
“We have premium semen in storage and some great bulls coming forward. This means we have something to suit most producers, whether they have large established herds or they’re just beginning to build their herds. We have the data to back each animal and that’s something people can rely on.”
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