Wagyu around the World - Chile
Wagyu Chile based in Las Condes is the largest company which breeds, feeds and exports Wagyu cattle in Chile. Breeding and feeding takes place in the south of Chile where natural conditions within idyllic countryside favour the raising of beef cattle on pasture.
Fernando Hartwig imported 50 Wagyu embryos and 150 doses of semen from Washington State University in 1998. This is the first importation of Wagyu genetics into South America. Bloodlines were based on the high marbling sires Fukutsuru 068, Hirashigetayasu and Michifuku. Fullblood Wagyu have been bred and make up 10% of the herd. Semen and embryos are sold. Crosses have been raised using pure Wagyu on Angus and F2 comprise 70% of the herd.
Cattle enter the feedlot weighing between 300 and 350 kilograms at an age of 12 to 14 months. They are kept calm in a stress free environment for 400 to 450 days on specially balanced and formulated natural foods using traditional formulations. By 2015 there will be the capacity for 30,000 head in the vertically integrated operation. There are exports to USA, Europe and Japan at a value of US$70 to $130 per kilogram.
Fernando Hartwig is the President of Asociación Chilena de Ganado Wagyu. There are 15 breeders which include Agustín Edwards, Sebastián Piñera, Felipe Ibáñez and Jorge Fernández.
Ninety percent of the premium beef sold in Chile, including Wagyu, comes from Chilean producers. Wagyu attains prices of pesos 25,000 per kilogram, and almost 30,000 a plate in specialized restaurants (1US$ = 570 pesos). According to Esteban Plaza, commercial manager of Wagyu Chile, one of the country’s top breeders, the local market reported sales of US$1 million in 2009 and is gaining strongly. Chilean beef producers are considered to have the capacity to compete with their eastern neighbours and in some cases, even, to do better than them, said Alejandro Anwandter, General Manager of premium meat producer Frigosor. The most important sales channels are restaurants and hotels, followed by supermarkets and direct sales. The majority of Chile’s Wagyu beef is exported to the USA, Europe and Japan, at between US$70 and US$130 a kilogram.
Agrícola Mollendo was founded in 2002 and is located in the Los Angeles, VIII Region of Chile. The company is owned by the Gras family, which is also involved in real estate, engineering and construction, aquaculture and the wine industry. Currently, the feedlot carries 3,500 head of cattle and is projected to reach 10,000 head, while maintaining the qualities that produce premium meat. Mollendo Wagyu Beef is consolidated in the Asian Market and premium Wagyu beef is exported to USA, Europe, and Latin America.