UK Sale on the back of growing Wagyu beef demand worldwide

British Wagyu Sale, Hexham, 27 August

The UK demand for Wagyu beef continues to outstrip supply. As processors continue to decrease the maximum weight of carcase, along with possible changes to beef grading systems away from the EUROP grid, the Wagyu will be an ideal choice of bull for suckler beef production, producing a medium-sized carcase with great eating characteristics.

To that end, the British Wagyu Breeders Association will be holding its second virtual sale of Wagyu cattle, embryos and semen at Hexham Auction Mart on the 27th August at 3pm. Among the lots will be bulls offered for sale in the top 5% of the breed worldwide with exceptional breeding potential. The use of Breedplan from Australia will give extensive information on the lots offered and help assist potential purchasers with their selections.

The Australian Wagyu Association recently held its own elite sale of Wagyu cattle, embryos and semen with sales to South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and the UK. The top priced females made AUS$280,000 (£157,000) and $200,000. Excluding those two, 13 other cows averaged $42,692. 14 bulls sold to average $25,393. The top prices in the bulls were $55,000, $52,000 and $50,000.

This Elite level sale has become a global sale with international buyers and sellers playing big roles. The countries involved are USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK. The Canadian vendor, Ken Kurosawatsu produced the top priced embryos. They will be exported to Australia for use in the Hewitt Pastoral Wagyu enterprise, based in Queensland.

The top price female was a heifer from Mayura Station, Millicent, South Australia by the famous Itoshigenami Jnr, who also sired the top price bull last year. Mayura N1229 was bought by Brian Stamps, Tuttle, Oklahoma, USA. Mr Stamps bought well at the November Premium Wagyu Sale and this heifer will join his other cattle at an export centre in Victoria. He also bought the top price semen of the day at $6730 per straw (x 10) from Macquarie M0546 a high performing son of Y408.

The other high flyer was a Trent Bridge cow, PTIC to a son of Y408. Trent Bridge K0034 is just under five years and by a home bred sire in TB F0126 and has a double cross of Itoshigenami TF148.  Her claim to fame is her marbling data both for marble score and marble fineness. The top female in the breed with an MS of 2.4 and MF of 0.48. Being in calf to a son of Y408 will make the calf something special. She was purchased by the under bidders of the top priced lot, Geneflow, who are new entrants in the IVF embryo industry, based at Tocumwal, on the Murray River in southern NSW. She will go into their quarantine for production of embryos. Geneflow will offer breeders and investors a chance to buy a share in the cow. Syndicate details are being prepared. Overall it was a very strong result for the Wagyu breed and values will continue to increase.

Here in the UK, demand is increasing from chefs and beef-loving consumers for high eating quality beef. With Wagyu beef steak restaurants opening in Scotland and Yorkshire, many chefs are now sourcing Wagyu beef to put on their menus as more Wagyu beef comes available from UK producers.

Wagyu bulls with high IMF (marbling) are ideal for producing high-quality, well marbled beef from both dairy and native breeds of cattle.  It is said Wagyu bulls have the ability to improve the eating quality of beef produced from all breeds of cattle and with the use of IVF and embryo transplantation Fullblood herds can be established in a reasonably short time.

On the morning of the sale (27 August) there is an opportunity to visit Steve Ramshaw’s Northumbrian Wagyu farm near Hexham to look at Wagyu Fullblood, purebred and F1 production. Steve brought his Wagyu cattle from the USA over 12 years ago and has seen the demand for stock grow year-on-year. The beef produced from his herd sells for up to £125.00 per kg in local butchers. 

For more information on the sale, contact Drew Patrick 07854361967 (Hexham & Northern Marts) or to visit the farm before the sale Steve Ramshaw on 07599392976.