Have no doubt, there is an insatiable demand for the Wagyu product from both a genetic perspective as we have witnessed with recent sale results, and from a retail and consumer perspective. From fast food outlets to fine dining restaurants, everyone wants a piece of the Wagyu product. As such a large number of producers are making a conscious decision to transition into the popular breed. One such family who took a calculated gamble over 30 years ago is the McCosker family.
The McCoskers purchased Codenwarra on the outskirts of Emerald in 1928, operating a successful sheep, cattle and farming operation over the past 90 years.
In 1994 brothers John and Robin McCosker backed their judgement and decided to change their entire cattle operation over to the Wagyu breed. Their initial contact and advice came from Simon Coates of Sumo Cattle Co and genetics adviser Alan Hoey. They bought two purebred bulls, starting an F1 herd, and 30 recipient cows with purebred embryos in them. In 1998 they started an embryo transfer program with Simon which was the beginning of their full blood herd. In 2006 John and Dr (veterinarian) Paul McCosker visited Japan to delve deeper into the Wagyu breed, and identify the important characteristics to progress the upgrade of their foundation herd. Initially all steers produced were sent to southern feedlots and fed for a minimum of 500 days, then as the purity and quality of the herd upgraded, the past 10 years or so the bulk of the males have been retained as bulls, and sold mainly to breeders throughout the eastern states as well as consignments to Western Australia. The operation today comprises a complete full blood herd of 1300 Wagyu cattle, managed and overseen by Michael McCosker, a nephew of the founders. The Codenwarra reduction sale of 153 full blood females and 40 full blood bulls will be held on AuctionsPlus on Friday, July 12.
Today, Cannon Hill is a popular family-friendly suburb, tree lined streets, café precincts and sporting fields. Most locals and indeed the next generation of farmers would not remember that Cannon Hill was once the "hub" of livestock marketing in Queensland. Weekly cattle and sheep sales were conducted with livestock trucked in from all over the state. Each year those who cut their teeth as buyers, agents, carriers and wholesale traders gather at Brisbane's leading beef and beer garden the Breakfast Creek Hotel to continue the banter and competitive nature of stories from past glory days.
Some of the regular attendees at the Cannon Hill reunion lunch included Teys Australia bosses Allan and Geoffrey Teys, Jim Scully, formerlly Australian Estates, Eric Bassingwaight and Glenn Dunn ex-Primaries, Ashley Daley, Arrabury Pastoral Company, Roy Pugh (IMT) and Teys Australia former livestock buyer Reginald Clancy.
Sadly, one of the real characters from the past, former Brisbane wholesaler Leo Pugh, passed away last year but was fondly remembered and his stories retold with greater intensity and colour.
Cannon Hill ceased as a livestock auction centre in the 1990s with livestock marketing options becoming available in the Brisbane and Fassifern valleys.
The Murray family, trading as Kindee Pastoral Company, penned their annual run of 1650 weaners at Roma last Tuesday. As they have done for longer than I can remember, they topped the sale with Charolais cross steers at 324c/kg live returning a healthy $1222/head. Watkins & Company director Brad Neven, who has been the marketing agent for the Murray family for a significant number of years, advised that for the first time ever, Ian missed watching his weaners sold due to ill health.
Maranoa Regional Council Mayor Tyson Golder presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Kindee Pastoral Company for their continued support of the Roma saleyards and for "promoting and supporting Australia's largest saleyards", claimed Mr Golder. That would have been very well received by the Murray family and well done to Maranoa Regional Council, which is currently carrying out further expansion of the livestock marketing facility.
- Brendan Wade: 0439 663 060, email@example.com