Foundation of Black Wagyu, Red Wagyu and Akaushi that were exported from Japan
A total of 167 Black Wagyu is known to have been exported. 21 calves registered from Japanese AI sires were born after the arrival of the heifers. 16 Red Wagyu/Akaushi bulls and heifers were exported and 6 registered births resulted. A total of 221 Wagyu cattle brought genetics from Japanese Black and Japanese Brown and they formed the basis of all Wagyu and Akaushi in USA, Canada and Australia. The second migration from those countries commenced globally from the late 1990s to Europe, South America then South Africa. Finally, herds have become established across the Pacific and Asia.
Four bulls were sent from Japan by Morris Whitney in 1976. Colorado University took semen collections then they were bought by Wagyu Breeders Inc. There were no Wagyu females in America so the original two Wagyu Black (Mazda from Tottori and Mt Fuji from Hyogo) and two Wagyu Red bulls (Rueshaw and Judo from Kumamoto) were joined to Angus, Holstein, Hereford and Brangus cows in Texas. By 1991 the highest percentage Wagyu bull in the USA was 63/64 and it was estimated that there were less than 300 Wagyu crossbred females of breeding age that were 3/4 Wagyu or higher. In about 1991 the narrow genetic base was widened when semen from the fifth bull Itotani was brought to Canada by Lakeside Industries at Brooks. In the fourth generation, the American Purebred (15/16) is obtained and contains 93.75% Wagyu genetics.
The Mannett Group (later to become World Ks) imported three Black Wagyu females (Suzutani and Rikitani - both Tajima - and Okutani - 75% Tajima and 25% Shimane) and two bulls (Michifuku and Haruki II) in 1993. The first Fullbloods to be born outside Japan were the second generation embryos sired by Haruki II. Rikihari in Canada was the first on 19th June 1994 from Rikitani, then Genjiro from Okutani on 23rd June, with Okuharu following on the next day. The first Fullblood calf to be born in USA was Fujiko with her brother Beijirou from Okutani, also on 24th June 1994. Later in the year the first live exports were transported from USA to Wally Rae in Australia.
The Mannett Group imported four black females (Okahana, Nakayuki, Kanetani and Nakagishi 5) and two black males (Kenhanafuji and Takazakura) in 1994. Calves born after arrival were Tanitsuru, Nakazakura, Kitaguni Jr and Reiko.
In this consignment were Red Wagyu imported by Dr Al and Marie Wood from selections made by Mr Yikio Kurosawatsu and Dr King in Kumamoto Prefecture. Nine red females (Namiko, Ume, Namoi, Akiko, Haruko, Fuyuko, Dai 3 Namiaki, Dai 9 Koubai 73 and Dai 8 Marunami) and three red bulls (Shigemaru, Tamamaru and Hikari) are registered. Calves born to AI (from Japanese sires Namimaru and Dai 10 Mitsumaru) were Big Al, Kaedemaru, Momigimaru, 504 and 505. After the 180 days incubation that was required for quarantine, Namoi, Dai 3 Namiaki, Kaedemaru and Momigimaru went to Ontario in Canada. The remainder of the Red Wagyu/Akaushi herd in USA was sold to Englewood Farm in Texas. Subsequently most were transferred domestically to HeartBrand, also in USA, to form what became one of the biggest Red Wagyu/Akaushi herds outside Japan.
Japanese Venture Partners imported three black bulls (Kikuyasu, Fukutsuru, Yasutanisakura), ten black females (Chisahime 662, Chiyofuku 992, Fukutomi 990, Kikuhana 298, Shigehime 208, Tokuhime 486, Yasufuji 1/4, Yoshifuku 2 and Yuriko 1), and two red heifers (Kunisakae and 27 Homare).
Mr Shogo Takeda exported 35 black females, many in calf, and five black bulls (Itomichi 1/2, Kikuhana, Itohana 2, Kinto and Terutani) in 1994.
Mannett imported 7 black females (Taguchi 9, Nakahana 5, Mitsutaka, Okuito 9, Hanateru 9, Rabito and Hisako) with one black bull (Yasufuku Jr) in 1997. Calves were Taguchifuku, Kotomichan and Kousyun.
Chris Walker of Westholme imported 25 black females and three black males (Hirashigetayasu, Itomoritaka and Kitateruyasu Doi) to USA from ET Japan Company in Hokkaido in 1997. The following year another 59 females arrived together with semen from three black bulls (Shigefuku, Dai 6 Seizan and Kitatsurukiku Doi). Out of the 84 females, 63 were pregnant. The bulls 001, 002 and 003 were used heavily in Australia and the females were exported to Australia while 004, 005 and 006 were used more heavily in USA. This consignment was diverse with 44 Shimane and 28 Kedaka with 12 Tajima so injected milk and size with marbling. Dams which bred in Australia include: Hatsuko, Itoreiko, Kazuaki, Kitahikari 97/1, Kitakazu, Kitaokumi, Kitasakaedoi, Kitasekitori, Kitatizuru 2, Kunikiku 96, Masako, Masatoshi 2, Sakaehikari, Sekinakada 22, Sekiyuhou, Takakuni, Takashigedoi, Yamafuji, Yamaketakafuji 3 and Yuriyuhoi.
Takeda Farms imported 6 black bulls (Kikutsuru Doi, Itoshigefuji, Itoshigenami, Mitsuhikokura, Kikuterushige, Itozuru Doi). After the quarantine period in USA, the Takeda herd was dispersed to Australia and Canada.
A Mishima bull (Kamui) - a native cattle breed from Mishima Island - was in this consignment. The indigenous cattle population on Mishima Island had been eliminated by Rinderpest disease in 1672. A few Japanese Black were transported over from mainland Japan to re-establish the herd, which has been in-bred for more than 25 generations. Mishima has high marbling but is smaller than the conventional Wagyu breeds of today. Kamui is registered as a Base animal (B115 with date of birth 28th August, 1991) to enable crossing with Wagyu. His progeny out of registered Fullblood dams are registered as Wagyu percentage (50% Wagyu) by the American Wagyu Association.
The names of bulls, heifers and calves that were imported or inseminated from Japanese parents are tabled:
Simon Coates of Sumo Wagyu in Australia imported 56 calves as embryos from Shogo Takeda's first consignment. This included six bull calves:
Two heifers sired by Kikuhana for Sumo Wagyu in Australia out of Itomichi sired Foundation heifers from Shogo Takeda exports of 1995 are illustrated below. Estimated Breeding Values for TF Hikohime 34/1 show exceptional growth/size and milk (to the left with Maternal traits in the chart below) which are typical from this dam comprising 9% Kedaka and 83% Fujiyoshi group (including Shimane, Itozakura and Okayama lines):
Dr Simon Coates also bought the Australian herd from Mr Takeda to complement the embryos that he had imported from six families. Together with Takeda Farm semen they formed the basis of his herd and the industry throughout Australia. The Takeda herd in USA was sold to Mr Gary Yamamoto in Canada.
Estimated Breeding Values for those Foundation Black Wagyu that have the highest number of registered progeny are illustrated below:
Estimated breeding values from Breedplan are shown in white bars. Those to the left are 'maternal' and associated with growth and milk, while those to the right are 'carcase' traits. EBVs that are above the midpoint are considered to be favourable for each animal.
The Australian Wagyu Association has recently published Indexes from ABRI Breedplan and they are the Self Replacing $Index, the Fullblood Terminal $Index and the F1 Terminal $Index which are illustrated here in red bars. The new Self Replacing Breeding $Index estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial Fullblood or Purebred self-replacing herd. Heifers are retained for breeding and steers and surplus females are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing. The Fullblood Terminal $Index estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial Fullblood or Purebred self-replacing herd in which all progeny are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing. The F1 Terminal $Index estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an F1 production system using Wagyu bulls and non-Wagyu females where all progeny are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing.
To assist overseas readers, weightings to the characteristics that are either 'Maternal' or 'Carcase' have been applied by Wagyu International to produce two distinct indicators. The first is the Maternal indicator which is primarily driven by growth, size, milk, fertility and low birth weight. It is shown in the yellow bar to the left of centre. Next to it, also in yellow, is the Carcase indicator which is a weighted economic integer from marble score, IMF%, marble fineness, eye muscle area, backfat, etc.. These charts give a quick visual impression, but the details of each animal should be viewed on the Australian Wagyu Association website as accuracies should also be considered jointly with the EBVs.
The Red Wagyu/Akaushi foundation animals that have been independently confirmed to have been selected and exported from Japan, or are their direct descendants, are tabled:
The links between Foundation Red Wagyu/Akaushi with the Japanese Brown ancestors in Kumamoto prefecture is illustrated:
Five Red Wagyu sires were exported from Japan in two shipments, and several of the heifers were pregnant to either Dai 10 Mitsumaru or Namimaru. Even though limited carcase data from 100% Wagyu joinings from registered pedigree is available from the small Akaushi population base, Breedplan EBVs for these sires are illustrated below. 58 Red Wagyu have genomic EBVs out of around 1,000 Red Wagyu with EBVs in Australian Breedplan. In the charts below, EBVs of these Red Wagyu are charted relative to the midpoint and range of the entire Red Wagyu/Akaushi population for which there are EBVs in Australian Breedplan. In other words, reds are ranked with reds. These charts are presented to give a visual indication but the EBVs and their accuracies should be viewed on the Australian Wagyu Association website in order to make breeding decisions.
The two Red Wagyu/Akaushi sires in Japan that had been inseminated to several of the Englewood heifers prior to their export from Japan:
Red Wagyu/Akaushu foundation sires that were exported from Japan in 1976:
The Red Wagyu/Akaushu foundation sires that were exported from Japan in 1994:
The Red Wagyu/Akaushi heifers that were imported in the 1990s, are shown below. Predicted EBVs are shown as shadows:
There are no EBVs for Dai 3 Namiaki may also have below average growth and milk, but have above average carcase traits. Naomi may have below average growth, small birth weight, but give above average carcase traits (apart from high backfat). Both she and Dai 10 Mitsumaru share Mitsutake as grand-sire. Kunisakae also may have below average growth rate and milk when compared to the Red Wagyu/Akaushi population.
Finally, to put the foundation animals in perspective, the exceptional breeding merit attributed to popular Australian Red Wagyu/Akaushi sire, Ashwood X014 is illustrated below:
EBVs from one of the best Red Wagyu steers that has been slaughtered and recorded are illustrated below. Also, to put it into perspective, its EBVs are charted against the Wagyu breed (predominantly Black Wagyu) on the right below. When compared with whole herd, the maternal traits are amongst the highest (+50%) due to the benefits in growth and size, but the caracss traits fall from +47% out of the red population to only +15% of whole herd:
American Wagyu Association database registrations
Australian Wagyu Association database registrations
Crescent Harbor Ranch history webpage
Ken Tew communications
Wagyu Sekai history webpage
Acknowledgement is given to communications with, and materials supplied, by Sumo Cattle Co and Wagyu Sekei