What Is Wagyu?
These spectacular cattle were originally draft cattle used in agriculture and were known for their incredible endurance. The Wagyu have more fat cells, or “marbling,” (extra intra-muscular fat cells) which provide a stored energy source. Wagyu is a horned breed and the cattle are black or red.
The History of Wagyu
According to the American Wagyu Association these phenomenal specimen date as far back as 35000 years ago. Their history is well documented by the AWA:
Wagyu cattle are the result of crossing of the native cattle in Japan with imported breeds. Crossing began in 1868 after the Meiji restoration in that year. The government wanted to introduce Western food habits and culture. Brown Swiss, Devon, Shorthorn, Simmental, Ayrshire, and Korean cattle were imported during this period. The infusions of these British, European and Asian breeds were closed to outside genetic infusions in 1910.
The variation of conformation within the Wagyu breed is greater than the variation across British and European breeds. The three major black strains - Tajiri or Tajima, Fujiyoshi (Shimane) and Kedaka (Tottori) evolved due to regional geographic isolation in Japan. These breeding differences have produced a Japanese national herd that comprises 90% black cattle with the remainder being of the red strains Kochi and Kumamoto.”
Wagyu cattle were first imported to the U.S. when Morris Whitney imported two black and two red bulls. In 1989 the Japanese began to reduce their tariffs on imported beef and that encouraged U.S. producers to produce a high quality product for Japan. In the 1990’s there were several importations of quality Wagyu. Most were black, but a few were Red Wagyu.
These cattle have the greatest influence on the U.S. herd and those in many other countries.
Most US production was exported to Japan until 2003 when BSE was discovered and Japan and other countries stopped the import of beef for the U.S. However, chefs and others in the U.S. were aware of the superior eating quality of Wagyu and the domestic market then and now utilize much of the U.S. production.
At Caroland Farms we are firmly committed to reproducing full-blood Wagyu, not cross-bred. We want cattle farmers, restaurateurs, chefs and consumers to know that we are vigilant in protecting and preserving the genetic lines in order to produce the highest quality of table beef in the world!