For Fullblood Wagyu commercial producers Tony and Zoe Dunne, Sumo Wagyu genetics have proven instrumental in helping them establish their herd.
The Dunne family, which also includes Tonys' parents Trevor and Rose, run their cattle and grain operations, as Wallbury Pastoral, across Central Queensland, with their land portfolio stretching across Dingo, Baralaba, Duaringa, Rockhampton.
Tony is the fifth generation of the Dunne family on Wallbury, their home property in Duaringa, which consists of brigalow scrub, flooded river and softwood forest country.
He said they began their Wagyu breeding program in 2017 on their nearby property, Calvert Creek, with the purchase of a small herd of Fullblood heifers and one bull.
"The breed appeals to us for its eating quality, fertility, temperament, and the returns we can achieve with the article we produce.
"Their drought tolerance has also been crucial, as the years since we introduced the breed have been some of our driest times on record."
The family continue to run Fullblood Wagyus, which are registered with the Australian Wagyu Association.
To ensure the success of their Wagyu program, the Dunnes have exclusively and consistently sourced genetics, including PTIC heifers, bulls, embryos and semen, from Sumo Wagyu, Brookfield, Qld, since beginning with the breed.
"Quantity of quality is the reason we were attracted to Sumo. Their animals tick all the boxes when it comes to breeding indexes, marbling, and carcase weight. The genetics within their dam and sire lines are second to none and have been continuously proven over time."
He said with Sumo genetics they aren't restricted to just one market.
"There's options, as they have everything you look for in a top quality Fullblood Wagyu."
Sumo Wagyu has assisted the Dunnes with a large scale embryo program to help increase the size of the female herd as quickly as possible. The Sumo staff raised the calves until weaning age before transferring them to Wallbury. This program involved a selection of genetics between the late Sumo Wagyu studmaster Simon Coates and Tony.
"Zoe and I had a very eyes wide open approach when it came to selecting embryos - we weren't nailed down to one particular trait, dam or sire lines. We think of this program as a long term plan, not just for right now, but for future genetic options.
"The knowledge, mentoring and assistance provided to us by the Sumo team of Simon Coates, and Mark and Georgia Finden was crucial to our gaining a better understanding of the Australian Fullblood Wagyu herd.
"We were able to market our feeder steers very easily, even during a very difficult time of drought, due to their proven Sumo genetics."
The Dunnes put the bulls in the paddock with the females from November to March and are very strict in their herd management culling practices.
"In saying that very few cases have presented themselves within the Wagyu herd that require these measures."
The family target the feeder steer market with the objective of producing a 400kg article.
"We sold our last mob directly to Lillyvale Feedlot, Condamine in January 2020, at an average of 384kg. They were slightly under our goal weight due to the prolonged drought conditions."
Tony said while rain has been in short supply across the majority of their properties this season, there has been one welcome exception.
"Where the Wagyu herd is located we had a fair season and we have a good body of grass there at present."
Looking ahead, the Dunnes are hoping to continue expanding the size of their Fullblood female herd.
"In the interim, we'll also look to sell Fullblood progeny if the opportunity arises."