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Wagyu Shifts Gear for High Growth

04 July 2013

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Wagyu Association has responded to increasing domestic and international demand for Wagyu beef and genetics by improving access to the available Wagyu gene pool, reducing the cost of its elite Herdbook registrations and making participation in Wagyu BREEDPLAN free to all members.

President Scott Hughes said the board had positioned Wagyu for a decade of high growth and rapid genetic gain. "We have scaled down our Herdbook registration fees to encourage the larger herds to register all their cattle and maximize herd value. We have eliminated BREEDPLAN fees to members as we need all members to record performance figures. Only by identifying the best can we breed the best".

Herdbook (for Fullbloods, Purebreds and Composites) registration fees will remain at $28.60/head for the first 100 in a financial year with each additional block of 100 attracting a scaled discount down to $23.10 for those in the 500+ block.

"Conservatively, the board estimates Wagyu registration will increase the value of Wagyu Fullblood and Purebred Wagyu dams by at least 50 per cent, making registration a very serious value proposition," said Mr Mr Hughes.

"Registration is critical when these Wagyu dams are traded. But for breeding it is their Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) based on performance data that makes the real difference".

By eliminating the standard $140.80 annual Wagyu BREEDPLAN enrolment fee, members can enter Wagyu performance data at will and then use the MateSel technology to optimize matings based on EBVs.

Many breed associations continue to charge an annual fee to participate in BREEDPLAN.

In a move to open the Wagyu gene pool the board has eliminated regulations limiting the use of artificial insemination and removed Wagyu bull transfer fees.

"Any member can now use any registered Wagyu Fullblood or Purebred Wagyu sire, and of course we confirm breeding identity at registration through DNA parent verification", said Mr Hughes.

"The commercial value of Wagyu is the driving force behind the breed" said Mr Hughes.

To better reflect the value of the Commercial (non-breeding) and Crossbred Registers, a registration fee has been set at $22 for the first 100 with scaled discounts for each block of 100 down to $16.50 for the 500+ block.

This new structure recognizes growing commercial demand while encouraging large Wagyu commercial herd registration to validate Wagyu breeding and content. It will generate a solid base for future developments in breed security and commercial product integrity.

Wagyu registrations have increased by a dramatic 470 per cent over the past decade to be the fastest growing breed in Australia and has climbed to be the nation’s 10th largest registered breed, overtaking several long established breeds.
Australia’s Wagyu industry has matured with domestic and international demand for marbled Wagyu beef, cattle, semen and embryos growing in recent years creating this increase in registrations.

Australia is home of the second largest Wagyu herd in the world after Japan which has banned the export of Wagyu genetics on the basis of the breed being a "national treasure".

Mandatory DNA testing and parent verification of all registered Wagyu in Australia have resulted in the highest levels of pedigree and performance integrity.

Therefore many countries looking to Australia as a source of registered, performance recorded Wagyu cattle, semen and embryos and members are gearing up to satisfy that demand.

"Wagyu is fast becoming Australia’s national treasure which will add enormous value to the national herd over the next decade. The Australian Wagyu Association is ready and willing to contribute this value to Australian beef Industry", said Mr Hughes.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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