Calves are sold at auction on a individual basis at about 280 days of age, with a typical steer weight of 270 – 300 kg; heifer weight about 250.kg. Information for prospective feedlot buyers includes pedigree, date of birth, feeding and treatments history, current weight. Calf auctions are held fortnightly/monthly in indoor sales arenas throughout Japan, managed by regional cattle market authorities, with yardings ranging from 150-2000 head. Buyers can range from tiny 1-2 head fattening operations to a 7000-head feedlot. (A large feedlot in Japan holds about 15,000 head).
Sale is on individual ‘store’ not liveweight basis. In 2007, typical FB steer calf prices ranged from $AUD5000-5500.00; FB heifers $AUD4400-4600.00; XB (Holstein) steers $AUD2200-3000; XB heifers $AUD1500-$2300. About 360,000 head of fullblood and 80,000 head of crossbred calves are traded in this system in Japan each year. For typical 2011 prices see What’s a Wagyu worth?