Three major contracts underpin progressive registration, tagging and branding facility

The Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA) held its Spring Conference on Friday 22nd May 2015 near York where a unique package of benefits for Wagyu breeders and farmers was unveiled. Aimed at ensuring complete product integrity and lifetime traceability backed by a ‘British Wagyu’ branded ear tag, the details of three major contracts with the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA), Caisley Tags and TL Biolabs respectively were announced. Together, these provide pedigree and commercial Wagyu producers with animal registration and DNA authentication all at a single ‘click of a button’ via a bespoke database interface.

Held at WBA Director Jonathan Shepherd’s 500-head crossbred and purebred Wagyu cattle enterprise at Field House Farm, Huggate Road, Tibthorpe, Driffield, around 80 existing and prospective Members were in attendance. In his introduction, WBA Chairman, Mike Tucker, said: “As producers of Wagyu beef, widely held as the world’s finest, our focus is on building a premium brand backed by the best science and technology available. Working in partnership with Australia, we can harness their world-leading marbling and tenderness technology secure in the knowledge that all Wagyu-sired animals are backed by the assurance of DNA and the ‘British Wagyu’ tag – all accessed through an easy-to-use, farmer-friendly database.”

Visitors were able to not only witness first-hand the management, growing and finishing regime on-farm but at the same time see the importance of developing a visible brand - with all calves sporting a DNA-verified British Wagyu tag. There followed practical demonstrations of the Caisley Geno Flexo-Plus tissue punch tag as well as the bespoke database built for the Wagyu Breeders Association by TL Biolabs.

Naturally, sampling the taste and tenderness of Wagyu beef was also centre-stage! Catering was provided by The Yorkshire Wagyu Company which Jonathan Shepherd runs in partnership with another WBA Director Jim Bloom. Guest chef was Martin Shaw who runs The Dining Room in Driffield, and Spring Conference attendees were treated to a carpaccio of Wagyu topside marinated in wine and cider vinegar followed by a Wagyu burger served in a brioche bun from Fullers Bakery and homemade pickles from Puckett’s Pickles of York.

The Spring Conference followed the day after the WBA’s successful inaugural stand at the National Beef Association's Beef Expo at York Market on Thursday 21st May.

Summing up the Spring Conference, WBA Company Secretary Richard Saunders said: “British Wagyu is building an easily-identifiable, high-value brand which is able to stand up to the highest scientific scrutiny. Ensuring complete integrity and provenance are key to maintaining a premium product and 100% consumer confidence in the finest-tasting and most tender Wagyu beef.”

Grateful thanks are once again extended to WBA Sponsors Caisley, Harbro, RAFT Solutions, Grass Science & Kelvin Cave