Australian Wagyu Forum

Predicting Wagyu Performance Summary

Overall, the mission-critical importance of carcass predictive tools is sharply highlighted when placed in an ordinary FB production (time) cycle: if a sire is first mated at two years of age (2yoa), and carcass performance data is first available from his progeny at 900 doa – then the sire is already around 5yoa. In the worst case scenario, this might represent a large number of unprofitable feeder progeny, not to mention dubious quality breeders if females have been retained.

Given that global proliferation of Wagyu genetics is less than thirty years old, Japan represents an obvious source of potential breed development, selection and performance measurement tools, with long-established genetic improvement programs. However, it is evident that new Wagyu industries outside Japan have chosen to largely ignore established Japanese production science and predictive technologies, having preferred instead to adapt existing Western cattle breeding systems and tools. Many years later, much Western re-invention remains ‘work in progress’, as is illustrated by the following Australian outcome:

After more than 25 years, Australia is just achieving credible national Wagyu sire ranking based on limited carcass data. There is no credible multi-trait ranking – for example, of local sires with excellent marbling and superior growth/yield etc traits in combination.

While local industry research ignores one important foundation of modern Japanese Black genetics (unique prefectural sub-genomes) at a scientific level, much of the local F1 industry also ignores most Western scientific input to Wagyu selection, and contradicts ALL science by insisting that ONLY specific sub-genome (Tajima/Hyogo prefecture) genetics offer safe performance.

On-going Western reluctance to embrace the indicators provided by Japanese Black sub-genomes also effectively limits ability to leverage a substantial Japanese scientific literature focused on the measurement of diminishing breed genetic diversity (effective population size), and the related implications for longterm genetic programs. Commencing in the late 1980s, this literature defines diversity in the specific context of the prefectural sub-genomes, which remain readily identifiable in all fullblood Japanese Black pedigrees worldwide. See Nomura et al, 2001 here and follow citations.