Wagyu around the World - Germany

GIF of Steve Bennett of Wagyu International tour to Germany in May 2018

Beef production in Germany is reviewed in this report and compared within the European Union (EU) before the Wagyu market is evaluated in detail.

Germany is second amongst the six main beef producers within the union in terms of cattle numbers. There were 12.7 million head of cattle in Germany in 2017, 27.6 million pigs, 1.6 million sheep and 0.1 million goats. More than one third of cattle are dairy cows and one third of the 1.1 million tonnes beef produced in Germany is from cows.

Regulations of the European Union are enforceable as law in all member states. The rules for beef labelling are covered by EU regulations but control in Germany is shared between several authorities at state or federal levels.

The European Union (EU) produced 7.8 million tonnes of beef and veal in 2017, the same quantity as in 2016. This has been driven by the end of milk quotas on 31 March 2015 which led to increased cow slaughter, as some of the smallest farms abandoned dairy production. Before then, there had been a downward trend in beef production through to 2013.
Almost one half of all the EU's beef production came from three Member States - France (18.4 %), Germany (15.8 %) and the United Kingdom (13.2 %). Two-thirds of veal meat was produced in three Member States; these were Spain (25.1 %), the Netherlands (23.0 %) and France (19.3 %).

EU productionConsumption EU

Over the past twenty years subsidies have been paid under the Common Agricultural Policy to compensate for low farm meat prices. However, despite EU subsidies, income in specialised beef enterprises remains lower than those of other agricultural production systems. The average farm price for beef in the EU is 379 € per 100 kilogram.
The real-terms price for cattle was +2.2 % higher in 2017 than 2016 on average for the EU as a whole. Although this was still lower than the highs of 2012 and 2013, it was about 10 % higher than the average price in 2010. While livestock numbers and meat production have grown in most EU Member States over the past decade, the rate of growth will slow over the coming decade, because of environmental constraints and consumers’ changing attitudes towards animal husbandry. While aggregate meat domestic use is expected to increase over the period from 2014-16 to 2026, most of this growth is due to growth in demand for poultry meat, with sluggish if not negative growth in demand for other meat types.
The proportion of people not eating or limiting their intake of meat in the population, and especially among younger consumers, is increasing in most EU-15 Member States, while generally ageing societies will be reflected in lower demand for meats in general. In Germany and Italy, small increases in consumption per head are projected while in France and Spain, meat consumption per capita is expected to decline. In Germany, Spain and Italy, the dominant meat type is pork. Over five years to 2013 in Germany there was a decline of 4.3kg pork, which represents a decline of 11%. Fresh pork in particular has been under pressure with steady falls in household purchases but even processed products have struggled. Pig meat has been losing market share to both poultry meat and beef and with demand for the latter in particular showing some improvement in recent years. Health concerns surrounding pig meat in its various forms have been building up for example among older consumers, who are traditionally large pork consumers. Concerns about safety of beef in Europe following the BSE outbreaks and the horse scandal when it had been labelled as beef have also reduced per capita beef consumption. In Germany a domestic campaign was launched. ‘4D beef’ mean born, bred, slaughtered and processed in Germany (D for Deutschland. Beef consumption increased in Germany despite a decline over most of Europe. Muslim consumers comprise almost 6% of the population and their meat protein intake mainly revolves around beef and poultry. The ‘4D beef’ is also considered to be responsible for the increase in retail pricing of 27% for minced beef price rose up to 6.9 EUR/kg while roast beef rose up 28% to 9.33 EUR/kg between 2004 and 2013. This rise aligns with increased numbers that have been slaughtered.
price
Germany is an exporting country with regard to the balance of trade in live cattle and beef. As far as live animals are concerned, this is mainly due to the export of calves to the Netherlands, whereas imports of live animals concern older animals, mostly coming from the Netherlands. With regard to the trade in beef, German beef principally goes to the Netherlands, France and Italy and beef imports mostly come from the Netherlands, Austria and Poland within EU.
48.1% of beef production in Germany is from bulls aged 1 year or more, and cull cows comprise one third. 58.8% beef production in Netherlands is from calves and young animal aged not over 1 year.
Germany is an exporting country with regard to both the internal and external trade in live cattle and beef. 48.1% of beef production in Germany is from bulls aged 1 year or more, and cull cows comprise one third. 58.8% beef production in Netherlands is from calves and young animal aged not over 1 year. The UK produces 42.6% beef production from steers/bullocks aged 1 year or more. Turkey and Romania produce beef mainly from cows (76.8% and 52.8%, respectively). Average beef prices paid per carcass from the major beef producing countries is strongly positive for steer and heifer offtake and strongly negative from bulls and cull cows. The proportion of calf offtake (veal) is also negative on overall price. Highest average price for beef carcases was highest in UK and Ireland with a combined proportion of steers and heifers of 70% of the total production. Lowest prices were in France, Germany and Spain with cull cows, bulls and calves comprising 85% of total carcass weight. Generally the retailers are increasingly the major drivers of change and they are dictating characteristics of the animals they want to buy in terms of age, carcass weight and breeds. However, France has engaged Meat Standards Australia to improve the quality of beef production.
More than forty different cattle breeds are encountered. Fleckvieh (Simmental) and Braunvieh (Brown Swiss) are the main breeds in the south of Germany, whilst in the north, German Holsteins predominate (both black and white, and red and white). These three breeds make up 80% of the cattle population. The remaining 20% is made up from 30 beef breeds and eight local breeds. Beef production in southern Germany is more extensive than in the north, where it is more concentrated and integrated.

Wagyu cattle breed

The Wagyu cattle breed was introduced through the importation of frozen embryos in 2004. Five years later the German Wagyu Association was registered and it has progressively grown to have 180 members. The superior eating qualities unique to Wagyu are not of the standard of beef that is typically produced in Germany. Biggest carcass with lean beef has been favoured by the trade across much of Europe and Continental breeds are popular.
The Wagyu breed is in a growth phase in Germany so very little Wagyu beef that is sold is 100% Wagyu because most of it is crossed over local dams so it is most commonly 50% Wagyu content and known as F1. Most cattle in Germany are dairy together with continental breeds so are large in size. Other beef breeds only comprise 20% of the beef population. I have seen an Angus seedstock herd and the impressive cows were large. For F1 production in Germany, the Wagyu genetics in sires and semen that is used needs to have high carcass qualities because size and milk production comes from the dam. This is typical of the requirements from terminal Wagyu sires in most markets - except where highly marbled Angus dams are used. In order to ensure the sustainability of the Wagyu breed, the rotation using the strains with their unique genotypes and phenotypes will drive demand for seedstock breeding. Some niches are used but generally sires with carcass traits are used over cows with maternal traits, and sires with maternal traits are used over dams with carcass traits. After a few generations the demand for high quality maternal bulls should equal the demand for high quality carcass bulls for seedstock breeding. There should be diversity across the female breeding herd with either maternal or carcass traits, but both are required for sustainability. Bulls and females that have been record breakers at auctions in Australia, such as Mayura Itoshigetani Jnr, have resulted from carcass sires over carcass dams to produce terminal offspring with about 25% maternal lines.
The Wagyu breed comprises many strains. The content of genetics that has been offered at auction and advertised lists of semen over the last few years has been reviewed. Correlations between Price and all criteria that are presented are tested in order to be able to identify which drivers are behind demand.

German Gala Wagyu auctions 2015-19

The European Wagyu Gala auction has been held annually at Münster since 2015 by Dr Hubertus Diers. Live animals and embryos from German breeders and embryos from consignors in USA of embryos are offered. There is a high clearance rate.
Highest price was 27,500 € for a heifer, Ms Dai Da La from Dr Christian Niewöhner. She was approaching two years of age and raised as an embryo from the Americas. GeneSTAR Marbling + 0.66 and Palatability index 588 came from Itohana, Itoshigefuji, Kikuhana and Terutani in the sire and Hirashigetayasu, Michifuku and Fukutsuru in the dam. Second price of 21,000 € went to a Hirashigetayasu over WSI Misako cow with Genestar Marbling + 0.71 and Palatability 497 with an Itomoritaka sired calf at foot. 26 females averaged 14,238 € and five bulls averaged 4,920 €.
In 2016, top price heifer calf, Elisif 793, also consigned by Dr Christian Niewöhner and from ET, earned 29,000 € when approaching her first birthday. Her credentials were: SCD AA tenderness 7 from an Itomoritaka/Sanjirou sire with an Hirashigetayasu/WSI Misako dam. 29 females averaged eleven thousand euros. Four bulls averaged six thousand euros.
In 2018 top price went to a bull for 43,200 €. Mr Kiku Star was not a year old and was tested SCD AA tenderness 10 and BC from Exon 5 and C/C in all the Tenderness markers and was described in the catalogue “tested perfect in all markers”. The embryo from USA was sired by Kikuyasu 400 from a Sanjirou/Itomichi dam and the predicted BREEDPLAN EBVs are illustrated in the chart to the left, below:

Predicted estimated breeding values for Mr Kiku Star top priced bull at Wagyu Gala auction in Germany 2018Predicted estimated breeding values for Mr Kiku Star top priced bull at Wagyu Gala auction in Germany 2019
Predictions from his immediate ancestors rate his breeding merit being above 2017 born calves for short gestation length, light birth weight, light backfat thickness, high retail meat yield and high ribeye area.
This year, top price seven month old heifer calf earned 41,000 €. Ms Itosanji II from Marblelution Genetics is another ET birth, with SCD AA and some Australian BREEDPLAN EBVs from Itozurudoi semen over a Sanjirou/Itomichi dam. The predicted EBVs are illustrated to the right, above, and show that most traits are mostly quite close to average. Superior ribeye area is inevitable from maternal grand-sire Sanjirou and is topped up by her sire Itozurudoi. The first homozygous polled purebred Wagyu heifer was sold on auction in Germany and went for 12,000 € to Wagyu-Genetics/Steffan Schäfer. A total of 32 females sold for an average of 7,753 €.
A very informative catalogue is prepared for each Gala. The GeneSTAR MVPs for 88% of females on offer were published in the first catalogue. The association between GeneSTAR Marbling and predictions of Australian BREEDPLAN Marble Score EBVs was positive (r = + 0.19), but the following year Exon 5 results had virtually replaced GeneSTAR MVPs in the catalogue. SCD and tenderness test results have been presented in all years. The results of these tests in females are illustrated in charts and the proportion each year is also shown. In 2015, 47% of females had SCD results and this increased progressively to 96% this year despite a low correlation of auction price with SCD result (r = + 0.11 in 2019 which is down from + 0.18 in 2015). The correlation of Price with Tenderness is erratic having been strongly negative (r = - 0.31) last year to strongly positive (r = + 0.44) in 2019. This indicates that other factors have more influence on demand. The proportion of Exon 5 tests has increased to 81% in 2019 but there was no association with price (r = 0.00) after a positive trend the previous year.
Chart of GeneSTAR Marbling MVPs for Wagyu on offer at German Gala auctionChart of SCD test results for Wagyu on offer at German Gala auctionChart of tenderness test results for Wagyu on offer at German Gala auctionChart of Exon 5 test results for Wagyu on offer at German Gala auction
For the first time, a few carcass traits and $Indexes from Australian BREEDPLAN estimated breeding values (EBVs) from predictions were presented in a Gala catalogue in 2019.
The first animals in Germany have been evaluated genomically by Australian BREEDPLAN but no animals that were in this offering have genomic EBVs so the accuracies of the EBVs are low because they are only based on predictions. Data from two years (2018-19) were pooled and checked for correlations with Price, Prefectural composition, SCD, tenderness, Exon 5 and GeneSTAR marbling. The distribution of predicted EBVs for major economic traits is shown in the chart below and to the left.
EBVs from Wagyu on offer at German Gala 2018 to 2019EBVs from Prefecture amongst Wagyu on offer at Wagyu Gala auctions 2018 and 2019

The diversity is broad because the line from highest to lowest covers the spectrum from +50% to – 50% within the Wagyu BREEDPLAN database. The average of animals that had predictions that could be calculated from the 2018-19 auctions was within 10 to 20% above Midpoint for a light birthweight, a low backfat thickness and ribeye area. The average was within 10 to 20% below midpoint for all growth, milk, scrotal size, marble score and marble fineness.

Composition by Prefecture is reported for most animals in the catalogue so trends were observed from the top third in composition by Prefecture.

A summary of Prices and characteristics from Predicted EBVs is presented in the table below:

Prefecture name

Content in top ⅓  

Average Price (€)

wiMI

wiCI

Tajima

> 69%

9,538

- 25%

-   5%

Kedaka

> 15%

7,169

-   1%

-   4%

Fujiyoshi

> 13%

6,219

-   7%

-   4%

Okayama

> 10%

6,231

- 12%

-   4%

Live animals with higher Tajima and Kedaka content earned higher prices.
My understanding of the distribution of bovine Growth Hormone (bGH) within Japanese Black (Black Wagyu) by Prefectures in Japan is compared with trends from data preseneted in the catalogues. The Nakadoi-kei strain (we call it Tajima outside Japan) from Hyōgo is mainly ‘B’ and ‘C’ bGH. Fujiyoshi-kei from Okayama and Itozakura-kei from Shimane are predominantly A and C. Kedaka-kei from Tottori and Iwate-kei from Hiroshima are both largely ‘A’. Carcass weight is highest from the ‘A’ allele of bGH and marbling and ribeye area is highest from ‘C’ allele of bGH.
Animals with higher Kedaka and Fujiyoshi content had stronger predicted EBVs for economic maternal traits ( – 1 to – 7% wiMI in the table above, compared with – 25% for Tajima). Hiroshima is not quantified in the Gala catalogues but instead they are included with Others. The closeness of predicted carcass traits between Prefectural groups suggests that sires with highest marbling breeding values have not used within this population that has been sampled because there is no advantage shown by the Tajima group (all are between – 4 and – 5% in the table above).
The ‘B’ and ‘C’ alleles (from BB, BC and CC test results from Exon 5) are the preferred variants in the preamble in the catalogue. I agree that this should apply to selection of Group ‘B’ and ‘D’ sires in the Wagyu Rotation but I have concerns when it is used as a general statement. Apart from the marbling anomaly, the bGH genotypes and their EBV predictions from the Gala align with those from Japan. I believe that compliance with the Wagyu Rotation is very important and the use of genomic EBVs and/or Exon 5 test results will resolve borderline cases. To align classification into Group for the Wagyu Rotation by matching Prefectural with bGH composition, Tajima fall into Group B and D, Fujiyoshi (Shimane), Itozakura and Okayama are Group A; and Kedaka, Tottori and Hiroshima are Group C. This designation can usually be made without the use of an Exon 5 test.
The economic value of single test results as demonstrated by the variable association with Prices paid at recent auction appears to be waning. Benefits between 1 and 4% in fatty acid profile have been obtained from the preferred SCD gene in research in Japan but there was no response in the field. SCD is one of a few genes that contribute to fatty acid content but ultimately oleic acid composition is more related to flavour and needs to be tested and EBVs to be established from whole genome analysis and incorporation into Australian BREEDPLAN. Similarly, tenderness in Wagyu is of lower importance in highly marbled beef from grain finishing but when older animals are turned off grass it is more relevant. Pressures on sustainability may bring a shift in offtake so if shear force is not being tested in the studies at Kerwee it should be considered sooner than later. The value of genomic breeding values of traits of economic importance, including carcass, growth and milk, from BREEDPLAN is gaining traction in Germany and with the addition of a few missing traits, it could become the one-test complete evaluation of breeding merit as early as a hair sample can be taken.

Wagyu semen in Germany

Wagyu semen has been advertised in the European Wagyu Gala catalogue.
Semen with highest value was from Red Wagyu/Akaushi sires with highest growth, birth weight, milk and scrotal size estimated breeding values. Top price was 55 € for a son from Judo. Black Wagyu sires with high marble score (+1.3), marble fineness (+0.22), eye muscle area (+0.5) and yield EBVs were on the low price of 29 € while one with higher growth and lower carcass quality was priced at 35 €. All of this semen was imported from USA.
GeneSTAR Marbling, Palatability and Tenderness results, and SCD, tenderness and Exon 5 test results were reported in catalogues or the USA Wagyu Association database.
The following year, eight Black Wagyu averaged 49 € each and one locally bred Red Wagyu composite sire cost 50 € per straw.
In the first year, prices were positively associated with maternal traits with a correlation of +0.91 with Wagyu International Maternal Indicator (wiMI). The prices were negatively associated with carcass traits with a correlation of -0.77 with Wagyu International Carcass Indicator (wiCI). The highest priced Black Wagyu semen was from a sire with SCD VV so the trend was negative between Price and SCD, but it was positive for the next two years and then weakened. There was a strong positive trend between price and Tenderness for the first two years, and then it decreased but remained slightly positive (+ 0.18 and + 0.17). The trend was slightly negative for Exon 5 and this is probably due to the preference in the market for growth. This is typical of a beef industry that is favouring growth, size and a lean carcass so this is in unison with the rest of the beef industry in Germany.
Another breeder, Wagyu-Genetics, had also advertised Wagyu semen on the internet and those prices were analysed too. Associations between prices and genetic test results and breeding values are presented in a chart.
Association of Price of Wagyu semen with henetic test results and traits in GermanyChart showing corelation of Prices of Wagyu semen in germany with predicted breeding values by Year
Over this period, the trend away from pricing more heavily for maternal traits by Wagyu DE can be viewed on the chart above and to the left. Wagyu-Genetics offers semen from locally bred sires and imported semen from USA and Australia. The semen from Australia includes some highly marbled bulls with strong carcass qualities so are sold at a higher price. This has the effect of revealing contrasting behaviour in the charts between Wagyu DE which has been strongly maternal trait/SCD and tenderness test result driven and Wagyu-Genetics which has a higher price for carcass trait sires. More detail showing correlations of Price with major traits in BREEDPLAN are shown in the chart above, to the right.
Not all of the sires with semen for sale have published single test or EBVs displayed so the analyses have been based on low numbers but some trends have been revealed. The breeding merit from an analysis of a prediction of mid-parent EBVs in Australian BREEDPLAN is shown below. Trends are displayed within the offer from Wagyu DE over a few years in the bluish bars and Wagyu-Genetic predictions are in red:
Chart with EBVs of semen advertised in Germany by Wagyu DE from 2015 to 2019 and by Wagyu-Genetics in 2019
The Wagyu breed comprises several strains and there is usually a bias in each animal towards either maternal or carcass traits. In some cases characteristics may be around average for both but it is rare for strong maternal traits to be carried together with carcass traits, and vice versa. Purchasers of Wagyu genetics over time will require both carcass and maternal traits so a full spectrum in semen should be on offer. The distribution within the major predicted EBVs from the two sources that advertised in 2019 is shown in the charts below:
Distribution within EBVs for semen advertised by Wagyu DE in the Gala catalogue in 2019Distribution within EBVs for semen advertised by Wagyu-Genetics on their homepage in 2019

History of breeding Wagyu in Germany

Some farmers had independently imported Wagyu embryos over a few years from 2004 and established Map of Germany showing breeders and meat retailerstheir own herds. It was in the autumn of 2007 that two Angus breeders - Klaus Möbius and Benjamin Junck - discussed forming a Wagyu association to promote the Wagyu breed in Germany. After preliminary discussions, a meeting was held amongst other breeders in Mittelbach in Saxony on 27th June 2008. Nine founding members selected the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board. The application was formalised in November at the animal production fair “EuroTier” at Hanover. The registration of the association was approved early in 2009 and breeding objectives were determined and promotion of the breed commenced. Ties were established with the Wagyu associations in Australia, USA and Canada.

Members of the Wagyu Association Germany have fullblood Wagyu Photograph of bull being led at a show from Chateaux Wagyuthat are descendants from the Japanese genetics that was exported then bred in USA, Canada and Australia. The first goal of the association has been achieved as registrations of Wagyu raised in Germany are recorded in the German Studbook. Numbers are being consolidated through the use of embryos. Both Black Wagyu and Red Wagyu are raised and herds are spread throughout Germany. The association is is very active and the porofile of the breed is increasing.

The Annual General Meeting is held in July. The association, with 180 members, is the largest Wagyu association in Europe. The number of fullblood Wagyu females is above 500.

Founder of the Wagyu Association Germany is Klaus Möbius of Photograph of Wagyu on Midland Wagyu FarmMidland Wagyu Farm. This is an arable farm in Mittelbach in Saxonia which breeds Wagyu (since 2005) and Angus. Vice-Chair is Dr Benjamin Junck of Vornagel Genetics in Jungingen in Baden-Württemberg. He has a registered Angus herd and a Wagyu fullblood herd and is an active office bearer in the German beef industry. Treasurer is Hans-Jürgen Kühl, breeding manager on a fullblood Wagyu and Holstein farm at Bordesholm in Schleswig-Holstein.

The Advisory Board comprises Steffen Schäfer of Der Vogelsberger in Romrod-Zell, Ronald Haake from Havelberg in Sachsen-Anhalt and Ludwig Maurer of Schergengruber Wagyu in Rattenberg in Bavaria.

Several members and the executive attended the inaugural World Wagyu Congress in Queensland in May 2015.

The first Fullblood Wagyu sale in Europe was successfully held in Münster on 11-12 September, 2015. Auctioneer Andreas Aebi came from Switzerland. 45 lots were on offer and they included 30 females. All animals were tested free of known recessive conditions. Preparations are well under way for the third Gala in 2017.

Uwe Jerathe of Wagyu-Genetics is President of the association from the AGM of July 2019.

Sakura Wagyu was started in 2004 in Lautertal by Barbara Hartmann with fullblood Wagyu and now comprises a herd of 21. The beef is dry-aged for 6 weeks and vacuum packed for delivery.Photo of marbled beef from Wagyu Genetics

A dairy farm in Stödtlen in part of the Schwäbischen Ostalb has been in the same family for eleven generations over 400 years. Wagyu were introduced by Thomas & Heinrich Spang in 2005 to form "Virngrund Wagyu" and now it contains one of the biggest pure Wagyu herds. Westholme genetics from Australia is the basis of this herd with a biase towards the Tajima strain. The animals move freely between pasture and stable and close contact with the stock is maintained. Beer by-products - such as brewers yeast - are obtained locally and the slow growth from free range access makes them ready to market at three years of age but premium quality is guaranteed.

Embryos and semen were imported in June 2006 by Uwe Jerathe to form "Wagyu-Genetics". He was a founding member of the association. Semen from Yasuzane which links Yasufuku with Suzutani has been used over the initial imports. The poll gene has been introduced through 'purebred' imports from America and are being upgraded. Fullblood Wagyu genetics is available from "Wagyu-Genetics" and breeders in Germany and trhough Europe are making good use of the services provided by Uwe. Wagyu-Genetics is the first herd that imported Trent Bridge F115 from Australia while it is the highest rating Fullblood sire in Breedplan from Australia that is semen export accredited.

Wagyu have been raised since 2006 in Lower Bavaria by Christian Lang and Angelika Heller as "Wagyu Weide". The farm has been in the family since the 17th Century.

After the unification of Germany, two brothers switched from careers as electricians and carpenters to take over the farm in 1999 that had been reinstated back to their parents. The farm is situated in Kuhlhausen in the north of Sachsen-Anhalt near the junction of the rivers Elbe and Havel. This area is important as a breeding area, stopover site and wintering ground for waders and waterfowl.

Photo of Sepp Kratz with a Wagyu steer on German Wagyu Academy at MunichWagyu semen was imported for crossing in 2008 but a decision was made to breed pure Wagyu. Embryos were imported from breeders in Australia and the calves born in May 2010 formed the basis of the fullblood herd "Havel-Wagyu-Zucht" on 150 hectares of pasture. After that success, more embryos were imported in 2011 from Australia.

In winter the cattle are housed and are fed hay, litter and grass silage with concentrate mixed from crops grown at our farm plus bought minerals. The calves grow up naturally and are weaned at 7 months. They are slowly fattened to yield the exquisite quality of meat they're famous for by the age of 3 years.

Fullblood bulls, pregnant heifers and heifers are for sale as well as F1 and F2 progeny for commercial production.

Wagyu were introduced by Reinhard Holtmann onto "Wagyu Münsterland" in 2009. Wagyu beef from fullbloods is available.<Wagyu being petted at Chateaux-Wagyu>

Sepp Krätz grew up on a farm between Augsburg and München and learnt the skills of a butcher after school. After 20 years he acquired a farm and built up a Wagyu herd. In 2009 he travelled to Japan, USA and Australia with Tina Fichtel to learn about husbandry from the experts and now commands a premium of almost €200 per kilogram for some cuts from his fullblood herd of 100 animals. Sepp established the "German Wagyu Academy" and Wagyu burgers have been served in his hippodrome at the festive Wies'n during the Oktoberfest.

Andrea & Rüdiger Marquardt farm 80 registered Wagyu fullbloods on 162 hectares on "Holstein Wagyu". Only 12 head are slaughtered annually. The first sexed Wagyu semen in Europe was available from Yojimbo.

Châteaux Wagyu is an association of Wagyu breeders who share the same principles of husbandry in Europe and are represented in Belgium (Château Altembrouck), Wales (Voelas) and France (Chateau de la Pouvriere). "Châteaux Wagyu Heimkreit" is a small pure herd run by the Müller-Gut family at Wackersberg and is certified to be organic.

Conclusions and the way forward

The Wagyu herd in Germany has origins from the foundation exports from Japan that have subsequently been imported from USA, Australia and Canada. Selection of the genetics has been mainly influenced by the Americas and most of the genetics in the catalogues has been sourced from USA. Single gene tests are also similar to those that are routine in USA. The Wagyu herd is rapidly growing with constant growth in membership of the German Wagyu Association. Most herds are small in number and the shift to Wagyu is within a population of beef producers that have more experience in industrial type operations were the market is driven by size rather than quality.
The bulk of beef produced in Germany is from young bulls and one third is from culled cows.
Consumption of beef per capita is quite low and one third of the intake is imported. Consumption of beef per capita is quite low and one third of the intake is imported. The market for high quality marbled Wagyu beef in Germany may need some promotion to be stimulated. Even though German beef is not considered to be of the highest quality in Europe, the small top end luxury market should be supplied by German Wagyu producers from their own genetics.
In order for high quality F1 Wagyu beef to be produced there is a requirement for high quality carcass terminal sires to cross over the large dual-bred dams that are more abundant. Some Wagyu breeders have started to measure breeding merit of their herds genomically and this should result in the identification of the best home-grown elite bulls. It is hoped that whole genome sequencing of Wagyu will one day be able to evaluate net feed intake, tenderness and oleic acid (fatty acid) content. Field trials have been underway at Kerwee Feedlot in Australia so those EBVs should be available sooner than later. If, and when, measurements have been made of tenderness, oleic acid, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, one test from a hair sample taken at a young age will provide a complete evaluation of breeding merit through Australian BREEDPLAN at a young age. BREEDPLAN already covers a large and valuable array of maternal and carcass traits but a few extra steps would make it the one-stop analysis. Tenderness and feed intake/efficiency are tested in other breeds.  In the Australian Wagyu industry where grain finishing is common palatability is not a constraint so it is rarely tested. However this could change if the period of feeding grain is reduced or the finishing off grass increases. Testing of fatty acids in Wagyu genomically has been underway in Japan for some time so for the benefit of selecting for taste and to counter health concerns about fatty profiles in beef this work should be prioritized while the sustainability of beef is increasingly coming under scrutiny.
There has been a strong adoption of Wagyu breed by German beef producers and they can make the quickest genetics gain by cherry picking from best practices around the world.

Semen and Embryo Directory of Wagyu genetics accredited for EU

Some countries require different veterinary tests.

NAME OF ANIMAL COL'R CONTACT
Goorambat DoubleSixty K473 Black Goorambat Wagyu
Goorambat Mr Marble K483 Black Goorambat Wagyu
Goorambat Terutani F145 Black Goorambat Wagyu
GWG 1010 Kinuyasudoi Black German Wagyu Academy
GWG 1027 Hikoshigefuji Black German Wagyu Academy
GWG 1108 Itoshigenami Black German Wagyu Academy
Hirashiget WG045 Black Wagyu-Genetics
IWG Itomoritayasu 107 Black Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Judo 79Z Red Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Kimifuku 117 Black Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Rueshaw 74Z Red Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Umemaru 69Z Red Idaho Wagyu Genetics
Kalanga Red Star C402 Red Bald Ridge Wagyu
Lake Wagyu C87 (+ sexed) Black Lake Wagyu
Ohanasaki Brilliant Black Wagyu Ireland
Sumo Michifuku K430 Black Goorambat Wagyu
Trent Bridge F115 Black Wagyu International
Echigo Farms Maifuku ♂
Goorambat H284 ♀
Black Goorambat Wagyu
Irish Kobe Fuji ♂
Ohanasaki Breda ♀
Black Wagyu Ireland
Goorambat DoubleSixty K473 ♂
Goorambat K552
Black Goorambat Wagyu
IWG Itomoritayasu 107 ♂
IWG Ms Kimifuku 022X ♀
Black Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Itomoritayasu 107 ♂
Ms CHR Kitaguni 245T♀
Black Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Kimifuku 117 ♂
IWG Ms Itoshigenami 023X ♀
Black Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Rueshaw ♂
Coates Tsuki ♀
Red Idaho Wagyu Genetics
IWG Umemaru ♂
Coates Taiyo ♀
Red Idaho Wagyu Genetics
Lake Wagyu C87 ♂
Lake Wagyu E008 ♀
Black Lake Wagyu
Lake Wagyu C87 ♂
Moyhu H130 ♀
Black Lake Wagyu
SPL Yojimbo Mr Shou 05 ♂
Ohanasaki Breda ♀
Black Wagyu Ireland
SPL Yojimbo Mr Shou 05 ♂
Ohanasaki Harriet ♀
Black Wagyu Ireland

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Breeder homepages and references

Bodensee-Wagyu
Châteaux Wagyu Heimkreit
Der Vogelsberger
German Wagyu Academy
Havel Wagyu Zucht
Hof Kranenkamp
Holstein Wagyu
Hümmling Wagyu
Midland Wagyu Farm
Sakurawagyu
Virngrund Wagyu
Vornagel Genetics
Wagyu-Genetics
Wagyu Münsterland
Wagyu Weide

 

Association and reference

AuctionsPlus, 2019. Auction results, Elite Wagyu Sale, 10th May, 2019.

AuctionsPlus, 2019. Auction results, Wagyu Fullblood Sale, 30th August, 2019.

AuctionsPlus, 2019. Auction results, Wagyu Fullblood Sale, 17th September, 2019.

Australian Wagyu Association, 2019. Database search on internet.

European Commission, 2015. Evaluation of EU beef labelling laws. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2015.

eurostat, 2018. Agricultural production - livestock and meat. November 2018

PrismaGen, 2016. European Wagyu Gala. 9/10 September 2016.

Wagyu DE GmbH, 2018. European Wagyu Gala. 9 September 2018.

Wagyu DE GmbH, 2019. European Wagyu Gala. 7 und 8 September 2019.

Wagyu Verband Deutschland

WWS Germany, 2015. European Wagyu Gala. 11/12 September 2015.