According to Wagyu South Africa, WAGYU is a Japanese beef cattle breed derived from native Asian cattle. Wagyu were originally draft animals used in Japanese agriculture, and were selected for their physical endurance. This selection favoured animals with more intra muscular fat cells, or ‘marbling’, which provided a readily available source of energy. Wagyu is a naturally horned breed and the cattle are either black or red in colour. Visit Wagyu South Africa for more information.
According to the Wagyu Society of South Africa’s breed definition, the term Wagyu may only be used for cattle sired by a registered full blood or purebred bull or for first line crossings with a minimum of 50% breed content. Besides this, the meat should have a marbling score of at least three and be free of any hormones. Farmers need to comply with various ethical and animal welfare practices, keep thorough production records and bull calves need to be castrated before they are five months old.
We purchased six cows and a heifer from Brian Angus who imported Wagyu into South Africa. To date, our breeding policy to grow the herd has been to use embryo transfers, by superovulating our females, inseminating them with imported semen and flushing them. We have also bought top quality imported embryos which have been implanted into some of our top grade Brangus cows. This has been the most economical way to grow the herd with the best genetics.
General Manager, Piet Botma, explains that in this case, an authentic Wagyu cow’s embryo was transferred to this surrogate cow, making this little Wagyu calf special indeed!