British breeders to benefit from Spanish Wagyu genetics

One of the world’s newest breed associations has effectively doubled in size overnight after welcoming Spanish cattle into its livestock registration system.

The British and Irish Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA) has this week announced that Spanish breeders of pure-bred and crossed Wagyu cattle can benefit fully from going through the WBA registration book, in the hope of promoting the breed in Spain.  

See also: Why the Luing breed is a hit with beef farmers

Wagyu breed facts

  • WBA founded in November 2014
  • WBA purebred: Around 200-head
  • WBA cross-breds: 4,000-5,000 head

UK breeders welcomed a Spanish delegation in February before sealing a service agreement with Spanish genetics and consultancy company EmbrioMarket, which will act on behalf of Spanish farmers.

The collaboration will generate “important income” for the association, according to WBA company secretary, Richard Saunders, making it mutually beneficial for both set of breeders. 

“Our genetic performance recording data feeds into the Australian Wagyu Association’s Breedplan database and now so will records from Spanish units. This is part of a single global database also incorporating the USA Association. Meanwhile, we have the benefit of a growing association in Britain,” he told Farmers Weekly.

Looking ahead, Mr Saunders said producers will be able to access genomic tests for key consumer-focused traits, namely: tenderness, marbling and healthy eating.

These attributes, as well as the general direction of the breed and its possible roles within the beef sector, will be discussed at the Wagyu Revolution Conference in Yorkshire, scheduled for 27 June.

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