Wagyu around the World - Uruguay

Towards the end of the 1990s Mario Aishemberg travelled to Australia and discovered the Wagyu breed. He evaluated the attributes and the quality of meat and decided to specialize in Wagyu in Uruguay’s which has high beef producing potential. Wagyu steers on pasture in Uruguay on Wagyu International page

In 2002, the Australian Wagyu Alliance was formed in association with one of Australia’s leading Wagyu Studs. 10,000 straws of semen and 100 Black Wagyu and Akaushi (Red Wagyu) embryos arrived in the first consignment in 2003.

During the following year a group of 13 beef producers toured Australia to learn about Wagyu production. The Wagyu Breeders Association of Uruguay was formed with members of the Australian Wagyu Alliance, together with other producers. After several years since the introduction and development of the Wagyu breed in Uruguay, Carne Wagyu del Uruguay SA had been founded in order to initiate, develop and manage the program of crossing with Wagyu for the production and export of Wagyu meat to the most demanding markets in the world.

In 2005, the first Angus heifers were inseminated with Wagyu semen and this expanded over other breeds with selected producers, in order to produce high quality Wagyu beef. Within four years a high standard of marbling had been attained.

During 2010 - 2011 the first Wagyu beef exports commenced to the United States, Europe and Brazil. This was followed to Asia in 2015-6.

Young stock are raised on grassland and pasture to 18 months of age then grain finished until 30 months of age. Beef from ‘Estancias del Valle’ is renowned to be tender, tasty, nutritious and natural, with the right amount of intramuscular fat produced with the highest quality standards throughout the production chain. The family owned and operated company is dedicated to producing crossbred and pure Wagyu in Uruguay. Over the years, Mario and his family have promoted and given lectures about the breed in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, United States, Croatia and Spain.

Map of UruguayThe Rogberg family have been farming in Uruguay for over 150 years. After visiting Australia to learn about Wagyu, embryos were imported from Goshu in 2005. Munar & Asoc implanted the embryos, of which 60% were weaned. "Cabaña El Oriental" was the first stud to register Wagyu animals in the Uruguayan Rural Association (ARU) herd book. The initial bloodlines include Hirashigetayasu, Itoshigefuji, Itoshigenami, Michifuku and Suzutani and are used in a combination between Tajima and Kedaka strains to get best marbling with good growth. Fullblood Wagyu herds have been established with 50 females in Uruguay and recently 10 in Argentina, growing every year. Another three herds in Uruguay and another three herds in Argentina use Wagyu genetics from the stud. At the beginning of 2014 there were around 300 fullblood Wagyu from "Cabaña El Bull head on Cabana El OrientalOriental" genetics, and more than 5,000 crossbred animals sired by their bulls across Uruguay and Argentina.

Martín Rogberg Muñoz  studied agronomy at the University of the Republic (Uruguay). He also worked as a supervisor in a prestigious butcher house in Uruguay. He is now in charge of management, reproduction and nutrition of “Cabaña El Oriental” herd.

Andrés Rogberg Muñoz studied biochemistry at National University of La Plata (Argentine). He is a researcher in animal genetics and genomics, lecturer, and collaborates in research with Wagyu at National University of La Plata, University of Buenos Aires (both Argentina), and University of the Republic (Uruguay). He is now responsible for El Oriental selection and genetic evaluation program. Andrés is Treasurer and Founder of the Urugyuan Wagyu Breeders Society and becoming involved with La Asociación Argentina de Criadores de Wagyu.

“Cabaña El Oriental” sells young bulls, semen, embryos, and recipient beef cows pregnant to male El Oriental fullblood genetics. Breeding advice is also provided to clients.Heifers on pasture on Anchorena Ranch in Uruguay

Another family has a fascinating story. Aaron de Anchorena flew across the Rio de la Plata in a balloon to select the site of a new ranch in Uruguay in 1905, and almost ditched in the river. It proved to be an area rich in history as it was the site of original occupation by the Spanish. Sebastien Cabot built a fortress there in 1527 but it was abandoned. The city of San Juan was subsequently built there 27 years later but it was destroyed by the fierce Charrua Indians a few years later. A 70 metre high stone tower/lighthouse on the ranch houses a museum which contains artefacts from those times.

The family ranches cover 15,000 hectares in the heart of the Urugyuan Hills in the Pampas. With its abundant natural grasses, perfect temperate climate, and plentiful spring-fed streams, the region is widely recognized as one of the best cattle producing regions in the world.

The Wagyu operation draws from the Red Wagyu and Black Wagyu from Mazda Wagyu in Australia and also Urugyuan genetics. Wagyu cattle are raised in pastures until they reach the final 90 days of production when they are supplemented with green feed in a “semi-confined” feedlot till 30 months age. In addition, specially selected producers use Anchorena Ranch Wagyu genetics to produce crosses with Angus, Hereford, Holstein, Charolais and Limousin breeds. The processing plant has USDA approval as well as authorization to export to the EU. InterContinental Foods is a company that was established to market beef from the ranch across North America.

Since 2015 the Uruguay team at the Rugby World Cup tournaments, the 'Los Teros', is fed home grown beef - barbecued rib cut 'asado'- to help their performance. In total, 450,000 tonnes of beef is exported from Uruguay to 80 countries and Wagyu is a valuable component of that.

Wagyu cows and calves on rangeland in Uruguay on Wagyu International pagenoneWagyu fillet before cooking in UruguaynoneWagyu steak in pan in Uruguay on Wagyu International pagenoneCooked marbled Wagyu steak in Uruguay on Wagyu International page

Semen & Embryos accredited for export to South America:

NAME OF ANIMAL COL'R PRO CONTACT
Bald Ridge Henshin Red Sem Bald Ridge Wagyu
Hirashige Tayasu Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Itomoritaka Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Kalanga Red Star C402 Red Sem Bald Ridge Wagyu
Kitateruyayasu Doi Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Lake Wagyu C87 ¹ Black Sem Lake Wagyu
Sumo Seisakushu C221 Red Sem Gabni Wagyu
Trent Bridge F115 Black Sem Trent Bridge Wagyu
Westholme Itoyoshiharu ² Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Westholme Kiyoyasu ² Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Westholme Shigetanaka ² Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Westholme Terutakanami ² Black Sem Westholme Wagyu
Westholme Teruyamanami ² Black Sem Westholme Wagyu

Note ¹: Columbia and Uruguay

Note ²: Argentina, Brazil and Chile

Note ³: Mexico

Additional information

Anchorena Ranch
Cabaña El Oriental

References

Anchorena Ranch
Andrés Rogberg communication
Mario Aishemberg communication