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BEGINNING their Wagyu journey with one heifer in 2015, the Morgan family, Arubial Wagyu, has come a long way in a short time with the article they produce.
In the heart of Queensland's Western Downs region resides a testament to the passion, dedication, and pursuit of excellence in Wagyu production. Meet the Morgan family, led by Laird and Sonia, who manage the main herd of the Arubial Wagyu stud in Condamine. Additional breeders are run on Brooklyn in Kilcoy, Echo Hills in Beaudesert, and Takeda Park in Condamine.
Arubial Wagyu have access to diverse breeding environments. In the eastern country, where Rhodes and natural grasses flourish, they embrace the region's increased rainfall, while their western country thrives as Brigalow Belah scrub, supporting improved buffel and medic pastures.
The seed was planted for the Morgan family's passion for Wagyu production when they first tasted Wagyu beef at the 2015 Wagyu Conference in Yeppoon.
"Being long-time beef producers, we had never eaten beef that compared to it. Since introducing the breed into our business we've found that the constitution, temperament, and eating quality of the Wagyu is unequalled," Laird said.
Their journey into Wagyu took its first step during the conference when they acquired their first female in the Elite Wagyu Sale. When asked about their plans for her, Laird responded, "No idea, but I know we can eat our way out of her."
In the years that followed, while other herds faced destocking due to drought, the Morgans seized the opportunity to expand their Wagyu venture and purchased 600 cows from different studs.
Fast forward to 2023, and Arubial Wagyu has 3500 registered Fullblood Wagyu females within the herd. Using fixed-time AI programs, they've joined almost 2500 females to lead sires, including Arubial Bond, Arubial United, MYMF22T1701 and MYMF22T0714.
Their upcoming program will create 500 embryo calves using IVF and MOET, as they build a self-replacing, sustainable herd.
Laird emphasised the role of data performance, stating, they "focus on carcase traits while understanding we need to balance maternal traits to produce a functional sustainable article for the Australian environment".
Their commitment to genetic growth and continuous improvement is evident in their utilisation of enhanced genomic and raw data performance recording entered into Breedplan. This meticulous process enables them to make rapid genetic progress while remaining selective in procuring elite genetics from herds with structured and performance-backed programs. Recent acquisitions from Mayura Wagyu, Macquarie Downs, HP Wagyu, Longford Wagyu, Peppermill Grove, Doorkey Wagyu, and Sumo Wagyu, reinforce their dedication to genetic strength.
Laird also acknowledged the vital role of the Arubial team working alongside his family.
"We are truly so grateful for the efforts and talents of our team. They're all invaluable pillars of the business and their dedication contributes immeasurably to the success and continued growth of our stud."
Arubial Wagyu's reach extends globally, with year-round bull sales enabled by their ET and natural mating programs with 350 bulls sold in 2023. They actively support the AWA Elite Wagyu Sale in May each year as well as the Marble High Sale in August with their esteemed partners HP Wagyu, Macquarie Downs, and Sahara Park.
Their strong association with ABS Australia has been pivotal, with the exclusive rights to the sale of Arubial Bond, Arubial Anticipated, and Arubial United semen. Arubial United was the number one revenue bull for ABS Australia last financial year across all breeds and the number two unit-selling bull for the financial year. These genetics have achieved global recognition, surpassing expectations, and validating their exceptional EBVs through raw data.
Laird offered sage advice to those venturing into Wagyu production.
"Follow the numbers and buy out of reputable breeding programs."
The journey of Arubial Wagyu serves as a testament to the power of dedication, data-driven decision-making, and the pursuit of excellence in the world of Wagyu production.
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