Unveiling the Genetic Masterpieces: Journey of Wagyu Bloodlines from Japan to the USA
The Hufeisen-Ranch Wagyu:
When it comes to Wagyu cattle genetics, our family takes pride in the diverse and esteemed bloodlines that form the foundation of our exceptional Wagyu herd. In this detailed article, we will explore the origins and significance of the prominent bloodlines in our herd such as Kikuyasu-400, Michifuku, Mt. Fuji, Shigefuku 005, Shigeshigenami 10632, WK's Shigeshigetani, Haruki 2, and Arubial Anticipated.
We will also address the misconception that fullblood Wagyu cattle are exclusive to Japan and shed light on how these exceptional genetics made their way to the United States. Furthermore, we will explain the reasons behind Japan's ban on cattle exportation and how US and Australian Wagyu producers have successfully matched Japan's quality in Wagyu beef.
The Journey to the United States:
While it is a common misconception that fullblood Wagyu cattle only reside in Japan, the United States and Australia have made remarkable strides in producing fullblood Wagyu cattle of exceptional quality. Japan implemented a ban on cattle exportation in the 1990's, primarily to protect and preserve its prized Wagyu beef industry. However, through collaborative efforts and rigorous protocols, select genetics were allowed to be exported to the United States and other countries, enabling the establishment of Wagyu herds outside of Japan.
Matching Japan's Quality:
US and Australian Wagyu producers have successfully matched Japan's quality in Wagyu beef through a combination of factors. The vast land availability in both countries allows for spacious grazing environments that contribute to the overall well-being and flavor development of the cattle. Access to diverse and high-quality pastures and forages further enhances the nutritional profile of the animals, resulting in exceptional flavor and tenderness in the beef. Additionally, these producers have embraced advanced breeding techniques, specialized feeding programs, and stringent animal welfare practices to optimize the genetics and production processes, ensuring that their Wagyu beef rivals the standards set by Japan.
The genetic diversity of our Wagyu cattle, rooted in esteemed bloodlines such as Kikuyasu-400, Michifuku, Mt. Fuji, Shigefuku 005, Shigeshigenami 10632, WK's Shigeshigetani, Haruki 2, and Arubial Anticipated, allows us to produce fullblood Wagyu cattle of exceptional quality. These genetics, carefully selected and strategically imported from Japan, have found a new home in the United States. While Japan initially banned cattle exportation to safeguard its prized beef industry, select genetics were permitted to be exported, enabling the production of high-quality Wagyu beef outside of Japan. US and Australian Wagyu producers, leveraging their vast land availability, advanced breeding techniques, specialized feeding programs, and unwavering commitment to animal welfare, have successfully matched Japan's quality in Wagyu beef. Through their dedication and passion, they have unlocked the artistry of Wagyu beef, offering customers an unforgettable culinary experience characterized by exquisite marbling, tenderness, and flavor.
U.S. Breeders and Producers:
We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the other Wagyu producers and breeders within the United States who have been instrumental in fostering a close-knit community dedicated to the advancement and success of Wagyu beef production. Their expertise, support, and collaborative efforts have played a crucial role in our journey to becoming a prominent Wagyu producer. In the United States, a small group of passionate Wagyu producers and breeders have come together, sharing their knowledge, experiences, and resources to elevate the quality and reputation of American Wagyu beef. Through a strong sense of camaraderie and a commitment to excellence, we have collectively worked towards a common goal: to produce Wagyu beef that can rival its Japanese counterparts. The collaborative nature of our community has allowed us to exchange ideas, best practices, and genetic resources, which are essential for maintaining and improving the quality of Wagyu cattle in the United States. By sharing our collective expertise and experiences, we have been able to overcome challenges, refine our breeding programs, and continually enhance the overall quality of American Wagyu beef. Furthermore, the support and guidance from established breeders within our community have been invaluable. Their years of experience and dedication to the breed have helped us navigate the intricacies of Wagyu genetics, breeding techniques, and husbandry practices. Through mentorship and guidance, they have empowered us to make informed decisions and achieve success in our Wagyu production endeavors. Together, as a united front, we have been able to challenge the notion that only Japan can produce top-quality Wagyu beef. By leveraging the vast land availability in the United States, we have provided ample space for our cattle to roam and graze, contributing to their overall well-being and flavor development. Our shared commitment to animal welfare and sustainable farming practices ensures that our Wagyu cattle are raised in a manner that respects their natural instincts and enhances the flavor and tenderness of the meat. Through our collective efforts, American Wagyu producers have been able to match the quality of Japanese Wagyu beef and, in some cases, even surpass it. Our commitment to excellence, coupled with the favorable conditions and meticulous breeding practices, has allowed us to produce Wagyu beef that showcases exceptional marbling, tenderness, and flavor profiles. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our fellow Wagyu producers and breeders for their unwavering support, guidance, and partnership. Together, we continue to push the boundaries of Wagyu beef production in the United States, striving for excellence and offering customers an exceptional dining experience that rivals the finest Japanese Wagyu beef.
Our Herd Bloodlines:
A Legendary Bloodline Kikuyasu-400 is an esteemed Wagyu bloodline renowned for its exceptional marbling and meat quality. Its origins can be traced back to Japan, where this line was carefully developed through selective breeding. Kikuyasu-400 possesses a remarkable ability to pass on its superior marbling traits to its offspring, making it highly coveted in the Wagyu industry. Through strategic importation, this influential bloodline made its way to the United States, allowing us to incorporate its exceptional genetics into our Wagyu herd.
Kiku-400 is a linebred Kikunoridoi bull. His maternal grandsire is Kikuterudoi, son of Kikunoridoi, who was one of the highest marbling bulls in the history of the Wagyu breed, and arguably the most famous bull bred in Hyogo Prefecture, home of Japanese Kobe Beef. Kikuyasu Doi, the sire of Kikuyasu 400, sired the Grand Champion Group (of four carcasses) and Grand Champion at the Japanese National Carcass Competition. Kikuyasu-400 was the largest and heaviest Tajima bull to leave Japan. At the time, he weighed an impressive 1,980 lbs. Kikuyasu-400 sired Kinu T077, a cow that produced progeny which, to date, have all graded BMS +9. Hyogo Prefecture, home of the Tajima line, has designated her dam, Kinu 1, the best foundation stock for breeding. Kikuyasu-400 is used to improve size and ribeye size while maintaining the Tajima bloodline in offspring. Marbling and marbling fineness are generally regarded to be less than for other popular Tajima-line sires, but still very good compared to the average Wagyu sire. There were 484 progeny registered in the USA registry as of 5/1/2019. Tested free of the known genetic recessive disorders. SCD/Tenderness: AA/5.
World K's Michifuku:
The Jewel of Wagyu Genetics Considered one of the most influential Wagyu sires, Michifuku has played a pivotal role in shaping the Wagyu industry worldwide. This bloodline stems from Japan's revered Tajima line, which is responsible for producing the world-renowned Kobe beef. Michifuku boasts exceptional marbling, tenderness, and flavor, making it highly sought after. Through careful selection and international collaboration, Michifuku genetics were successfully introduced to the United States, enriching the Wagyu gene pool and contributing to the production of premium-quality Wagyu beef.
Michifuku (FB1615 / WKSFM0164) – Michifuku is thought by many to be the best overall carcass bull ever to leave Japan. Even with smaller framed offspring, his progeny’s carcass characteristics are superb. Michifuku was formerly the number one marbling bull in the U.S. Wagyu Sire Summary, and consistently ranks second in ribeye area (REA) and fourth in back fat thickness (EPD). Michifuku’s sire, Monjiro 11550, is linebred to Tajima J105, great-grandsire of Yasumi Doi J10328. Michifuku’s dam, Michiko J655635, was sired by Tanishige 1526 and grandsired by Yasutanidoi J472. Yasumi Doi J10328 and Yasutanidoi J472 are considered to be two of the most famous of the Tajima/Tajiri line. Yasumi Doi J10328 sired Yasutanidoi J472, as well as Dai 2 Yasutsuru 774, sire of Fukutsuru 068. Yasumi Doi J10328 also grandsired Yasufuku 930, sire of Yasufuku Jr. and grandsire of Takazakura. Yasumi Doi J10328 appears twice in Michifuku’s pedigree. Descendants of his sire Monjiro 11550 produced carcasses that sold at auction for $16,000, $18,000 and $21,000 at the 2007 All-Japan Wagyu Competition. In progeny tests conducted by his owner, World K’s Group, in Australia, 12,000 F1 calves were fed 540 days, achieving 2.31 lbs. ADG, with 85% grading 9+ on the Australian scale, with the remaining 15 percent all grading 7-9. There were 793 progeny recorded in the USA registry and 4,927 progeny recorded in the AUS registry as of 5/1/2019. SCD/Tenderness: AA/5. Tested free of the known genetic recessive disorders.
Mt. Fuji: A Beacon of Excellence The Mt. Fuji bloodline derives its name from the iconic Japanese mountain, symbolizing its lofty status within the Wagyu realm. This genetic line traces its roots to Japan's renowned Fujiyoshi line, known for its superior marbling and meat quality. The Mt. Fuji bloodline has made a significant impact on the Wagyu industry in the United States, imparting exceptional traits to the progeny, including well-defined marbling patterns, tenderness, and a distinctive buttery flavor.
Mt. Fuji (FB104 / IMUFA0104) – One of the two 1976 original Black Wagyu imports. There were 414 progeny recorded in the USA registry and 74 progeny recorded in the AUS registry as of 5/1/2019. Data on offspring is light, but what data exists shows that Mt. Fuji transmits lighter birth weights, and calves have lower weaning and yearling weights, mature cows are on the smaller side of average for the Wagyu breed, that milk production is above average, ribeye size is smaller, retail yield is relatively low, and marbling is average for the breed. Not tested for the known recessive disorders. SCD/Tenderness: Untested.
Shigefuku 005 and Shigeshigenami 10632:
An Unparalleled Legacy Shigefuku 005 and Shigeshigenami 10632 are two prominent Wagyu bloodlines that have left an indelible mark on the breed. Originating from Japan's Kedaka line, these bloodlines are highly regarded for their extraordinary marbling and meat quality. Shigefuku 005 has been praised for producing exceptional carcass characteristics who NEVER EVEN LEFT JAPAN, while Shigeshigenami 10632 is recognized for its superb meat flavor. Through meticulous breeding and importation, these influential bloodlines have been integrated into the Wagyu herds of the United States, allowing for the production of Wagyu beef that rivals its Japanese counterparts.
Shigefuku 005 (FB6538 / IMJFF0005) – The “5th Westholme bull”, Shigefuku 005 is well regarded for excellent early growth and mature size. This bull was never physically exported from Japan; only a small amount of semen was exported from Japan to Australia, some of which was then exported from Australia to the USA. Shigefuku is the only line bred Kedaka bull of the exported Japanese Wagyu genetics, and is 75% Kedaka and 25% Tottori bull, raised in Tottori prefecture. He is the only 100% Kedaka/Tottori sire available outside Japan. In Japan, Wagyu breeders have shifted to a heavier emphasis on Kedaka liniage since around year 2000, trying to focus on larger-framed and more balanced growth sires of Kedaka lineage. 7 of the top 10 Wagyu sires in Japan during the 10- year 2005 to 2015 period have been of largely Kedaka heritage, and recently, the Kedaka cow has been valued above all others in Japan. For these reasons, Shigefuku has been growing in popularity outside Japan since approximately 2010. Shigefuku is less well-proven in terms of AUS Breedplan data, but is generally well regarded for excellent growth, excellent milk, and balanced frame/size. Less is known about Shigefuku’s carcass qualities qualities. The AUS Breedplan data, which is not highly accurate for this sire because of limited progeny analyzed, as of 5/1/2019, shows that Shigefuku’s impact as a sire includes somewhat longer than average gestation length, somewhat below-average birth weights, lighter weaning and yearling weights, but heavier than average mature cow weight (although, oddly, below-average carcass weights), outstanding milk production, and poor marbling, marbling fineness and ribeye size. However, there are some experienced breeders who believe that Shigefuku’s carcass traits are better than indicated by the current AUS Breedplan data. There were 184 progeny recorded in the USA registry and 289 progeny recorded in the AUS registry as of 5/1/2019. Tested free of the known recessive genetic disorders. SCD/Tenderness: untested.
Shigeshigenami 10632 (FB219 / PDFA10632) – Shigeshigenami 10632 is one of the most famous sires in Japan. He is the sire of Itoshigenami TF148 and Suzunami, the dam of Suzutani, one of the most highly respected female Wagyu to have been exported from Japan, who sired both Sanjirou and Shigeshigetani, two of the most famous “2nd generation” sires outside Japan. The Tajima strain of Wagyu consists of breeding from three major sire lines, Kumanami, Naka-Doi and Oku-Doi. Shigeshigenami is the reason the Kumanami line is on that elite list. Shigeshigenami was born in 1972 in Hyogo prefecture, and was originally named Masaki, but his name was changed when Hyogo prefecture bought him as a prospective sire. A year after Hyogo prefecture purchased him, Shigeshigenami was sold to Yodomi-san, a calf grower who entered him in a Miyagi auction in June 1974 where he was purchased for the then unbelievable record price of 4.5 million yen, by Miyagi prefecture. By the time of his death in 1980, almost 30% of all Wagyu calves in Miyagi Prefecture had been sired by Shigeshigenami and he is ranked Number 4 by Kenichi Ono in his book “Outstanding Wagyu Of Japan” following Yasufuku J930, Dai 7 Itozakura and Kitaguni 7/8.
WK’s Shigeshigetani, Haruki 2, and Arubial Anticipated: Preserving Excellence WK's Shigeshigetani, Haruki II, and Arubial Anticipated are additional bloodlines that have significantly contributed to the diversity and quality of our Wagyu herd. These bloodlines trace their lineage back to esteemed Japanese Wagyu lines and have been selectively bred to uphold the superior traits associated with Wagyu beef, including marbling, tenderness, and flavor. By incorporating these bloodlines into our breeding program, we ensure the preservation of excellence and the production of top-quality fullblood Wagyu cattle.
WK’s Shigeshigetani – (FB2907 / WKSFP1593) – Shigeshigetani is a famous sire that is believed to have a high degree of propensity to transmit his characteristics to offspring. He is bred from some of the most famous and highly regarded genetics exported from Japan, and has been well proven. He is 75% Tajima line. His offspring are born small but grow relatively rapidly, and grow to have a long body with good ribeye size. Shigeshigetani’s offspring exhibit relatively rapid growth to relatively good size, which is impressive given the fact that his genetics are 75% Tajima line, which is known for being slower growing and achieving a smaller overall mature size. He is regarded as having very potent carcass quality genetics. There were 803 progeny recorded in the USA registry and 519 progeny recorded in the AUS registry as of 5/1/2019. SCD/Tenderness: VA/3. Tested free of the known genetic recessive disorders.
Haruki 2 – (FB1614 / WKSFM0139) – Haruki 2 is well regarded for being a very balanced Wagyu bull, with 56% Tajima, 19% Shimane, 13% Itozakura and 6% Kedaka genetics. Directly sired by Monjiro, one of the most famous of all Japanese sires, who is in turn directly sired by the famous Yasumi Doi. Known for small birth weight calves that grow rapidly to above average size at weaning and yearling ages, with good carcass qualities. Most recognized as being a well balanced, high Tajima-line sire who’s female offspring can raise a good calf while also having very good carcass qualities. During the early breeding of Wagyu outside Japan, he was considered to be good enough to breed to the outstanding cow Suzutani, which resulted in the the famous second-generation sire Shigeshigetani. There were 549 progeny registered in the USA registry and 1,547 progeny registered in the AUS registry as of 5/1/2019. SCD/Tenderness: VA/3. Tested free of the known genetic recessive disorders.
Arubial Anticipated - (FB61047 / MYMFQ0014 - Anticipated is in the top 1% for marbling, marbling fineness and is in the top 5% for all Australian indexes. Sired by Coates Itoshigenami G113 who is considered to be an excellent balanced sire providing above average production in maternal, production and carcass traits
In addition to the prominent bloodlines mentioned earlier, our fullblood Wagyu dams encompass a wide range of exceptional Japanese bloodlines that contribute to the genetic richness and diversity of our herd. These bloodlines play a crucial role in shaping the quality and characteristics of our fullblood Wagyu cattle. Let's explore some of these fantastic bloodlines:
- Tajima: The Tajima bloodline is synonymous with the world-renowned Kobe beef and is considered one of the most influential and prized Wagyu bloodlines. Cattle from this line typically exhibit exceptional marbling, tenderness, and a rich umami flavor. The Tajima bloodline has been meticulously preserved and selectively bred to maintain its superior traits, and it continues to make a significant impact on the Wagyu industry worldwide.
- Itozakura: The Itozakura bloodline originated from the Shimane prefecture in Japan and is highly regarded for its exquisite marbling and meat quality. Cattle from this line often possess a delicate balance of fine fat marbling and tender meat, resulting in a luxurious dining experience. The Itozakura bloodline has gained recognition for its exceptional beef texture and superior taste.
- Kedaka: The Kedaka bloodline, known for its robust build and muscularity, is valued for producing cattle with well-marbled, flavorful meat. These animals typically exhibit a balance between meat quantity and marbling quality. The Kedaka bloodline has made a significant contribution to the development of Wagyu genetics, ensuring the production of beef with exceptional taste and texture.
- Shimane: The Shimane bloodline originates from the Shimane prefecture in Japan and is prized for its outstanding meat quality and marbling characteristics. Cattle from this line often exhibit exceptional tenderness, succulence, and a unique flavor profile. The Shimane bloodline exemplifies the meticulous breeding and selection processes undertaken to produce superior Wagyu beef.
- Fukutsuru 068: The Fukutsuru 068 bloodline is revered for its remarkable marbling, tenderness, and meat quality. It is known for imparting exceptional intramuscular fat, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, buttery flavor. This bloodline has been instrumental in maintaining and enhancing the desirable traits of Wagyu beef worldwide.
These are just a few examples of the many extraordinary bloodlines present within our fullblood Wagyu dams. Each bloodline brings its own unique set of characteristics and contributions to the overall quality of our Wagyu cattle. Through careful selection, breeding, and the incorporation of diverse genetics, we aim to produce fullblood Wagyu cattle that embody the pinnacle of excellence in marbling, tenderness, and flavor.
By combining these fantastic bloodlines with meticulous husbandry practices, optimal nutrition, and a commitment to animal welfare, we strive to deliver an unparalleled Wagyu beef experience to our valued customers. Our dedication to preserving and promoting these remarkable Japanese bloodlines ensures that every bite of our Wagyu beef is a true testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of this extraordinary breed.