Animals representing the top 5 per cent of Wagyu estimated breeding values across the world, as registered with the Australian Wagyu Association, went under the hammer on Thursday and demand was strong from the outset.
The Elite Wagyu Sale saw 146 registered bidders, representing 11 countries, push the sale to a top of $105,000 and set a new record price of $23,000 for an embryo.
Of the 25 females on offer, 20 sold to the sale high of $105,000, for a clearance rate of 80pc and an average of $35,850.
The top money came at the opening of the sale when Jeremy Freer, Scottsdale, Arizona, US, outbid five other parties to purchase Sumo Fuku P526 (AI) (ET).
Offered by Simon Coates, Sumo Cattle Co, the 21-month-old was sired by Sumo's most elite bull, Sumo Michifuku F154, and out of Sumo Nami D066.
With a strong influence of TF Itoshigenami in her breeding, Fuku P526 boasted estimated breeding values of 2.6 for eye muscle area, 1.4 for rump fat, -0.3 for retail beef yield, and marble score of 1.7.
The sale's second-top price of $90,000 was also paid for a female offered by Sumo Cattle Co.
International money once again won the bidding, with Marcel Merz, Switzerland, purchasing Sumo Fuku P524 (AI) (ET).
Also sired by Sumo Michifuku F154, and out of Sumo Doi E209, the 17-month-old had EBVs of 2.6 EMA, 1.5 rump fat, -0.2 RBY, and 1.8 MS.
In total, Mr Coates sold five unjoined heifers, averaging 15-months-of-age and all sired by Sumo Michifuku F154, for an average of $62,300.
Sale manager Harvey Weyman-Jones, GDL, said females sold well from strong international interest, with 10 of the 20 selling to Switzerland or the United States, including two polled females selling to Switzerland for $65,000 and $62,500.
Demand for bulls couldn't match that of the female section of the catalogue with eight of the 24 on offer selling for a 33pc clearance.
Bulls sold to a top price of $47,500 and an average of $22,125.
The top-selling bull was Circle8 Q122 (ET), offered by Jeremy Cooper, Circle 8 Wagyu, Marulan, NSW, and purchased by a syndicate of four breeders - Michael Katz, Cammeray, NSW, Brian Angus, South Africa, Peter Bishop, Cowra, NSW, and Joe Grose, Bukkulla, NSW.
The 13-month-old, sired by Sumo Michifuku F154 and out of Trig Farm Aizakura C118, had EBVs of 3.3 for EMA, 1.2 for rump fat, RBY of -0.1, and MS of 1.8.
The Cooper family said at time of entry, Q122 was "approximately double breed average for all growth traits, carcase weight and marble score".
"From a structural standpoint, Q122 is sound, well made, free moving with excellent soft silky skin and hair.
"Hailing from one of the breed's most recognised and respected cow families, Aizakura's, who have been the foundation stones for many successful herds... we believe Q122 will add value to a cross-section of Wagyu production systems."
Circle8 Q122 weighed in at 370kg on February 26, 2020, with 28cm testicles, 73cm EMA and 5mm/4mm fat.
A second-top price of $32,000 was paid for Coochin Kitanami Q113 (AI) (ET) by Peter Knudsen, Chinchilla, Qld.
Offered by MA Schmitt and AM Ryan, the 9-month-old was sired by Coates Itoshigenami G113 and out of Trent Bridge K0036, with EBVs of 4 for EMA, -0.6 for rump fat, 0.1 RBY and MS of 2.1.
Described as a quiet bull calf with elite genetics to suit any serious breeder, "early growth rate indicates Q113 should have very good size when mature".
The embryo section of the catalogue saw 15 of 25 lots sell for a clearance of 60pc and average of $15,520.
The record price of $23,000 per embryo was paid by Scott de Bruin, Mayura Wagyu, Millicent, South Australia, for four embryos sired by World K's Kanadagene 100 and from WSI Tai Ms Ito DG007W.
Offered by Ken Kurosawatsu, Wagyu Sekai, Ontario, Canada, the embryos were said to be "a royal marriage of World K's Suzutani with World K's Okutani, which will never be offered again".
Mr Kurosawatsu offered three genetic lots in the sale - the others being 10 semen straws selling for $1500 each and another 10 semen straws making $1100 each.
Mr Weyman-Jones said all of Mr Kurosawatsu's lots were old or rare genetics and sold for export to leading Australian Wagyu breeders.
An offering of 19 lots of semen straws saw 16 lots sold for a clearance rate of 84pc and average of $7431.
A top price of $4300/straw was paid by well-known thoroughbred stud owners Yulong Investments, Mangalore, Vic, for 10 straws from Mayura P1040.
Offered by Scott de Bruin, Mayura Wagyu, P1040 was sired by Mayura Itoshigenami Jnr which achieved a world record semen price of $68,000/straw at Mayura's inaugural high performance production online sale in March.
Two of the three flush lots on offer sold to $12,000, while 89 of 139 individual embryos sold for an average of $2615, and 310 of 360 individual semen straws sold for a $384 average.
Volume buyer was Marcel Merz, Switzerland, who purchased seven heifers, including the two polled heifers for $65,000 and $62,500, and one bull for a total of $303,500.
Mr Weyman-Jones said international interest had accounted for 19 lots, including eight to Switzerland, six to the US, and five to the UK.
"We predict that Europe will become strong buyers of Australian Wagyu cattle and genetics over the next few years due to the increasing demand for the world's luxury beef," he said.
The Elite Wagyu Sale is normally conducted as part of the WagyuEdge Conference which was to be held on the Gold Coast at the end of April.
Coronavirus forced the cancellation of the conference, but the sale went ahead in an online-only format.
The sale was conducted by the Grant Daniel & Long team from their head office in Dalby, Qld, and facilitated by Elite Livestock Auctions. Peter Brazier, Mark Duthie and Will Loudon conducted the auction.