British Wagyu cattle numbers double in 2023

British Wagyu cattle numbers double in 2023

The Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA), a promotional body for British Wagyu, has said that the demand for Wagyu beef shows “no sign of slowing”, as figures released by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) for 2023 show that British Wagyu more than doubled its numbers on the year.

Over 35,000 Wagyu-sired calves were born in 2023.

The figures for beef cattle born in England, Scotland and Wales revealed over 35,000 Wagyu-sired calves were born in 2023. Of these 35,000, the figures showed that 33,347 were crossbred (sired by a Wagyu bull) and 2,203 were purebred, totalling 35,550 head of Wagyu when compared to 17,083 in 2022.

In 2014, 2,405 Wagyu-sired calves were born – 10 years later, the breed represents 1.8% of the circa 1.9 million beef-sired calves born in Great Britain annually.

WBA director Chris Dickinson said: “Consumer demand for the world’s luxury beef shows no sign of slowing and its great to see British Wagyu numbers continuing to grow year-on-year. The profile of the breed has risen dramatically over the past decade and it is the easy-care nature of the cattle combined with a premium return that has attracted so many new farmers and breeders.

“It also taps into the expansion of beef from the dairy herd backed by integrated beef schemes like Warrendale’s. British Wagyu has become a significant player in the UK beef industry and as both a Wagyu producer and British Wagyu Association Director there is still great potential ahead.”

WBA said that the figures are backed by a British Wagyu quality assured branded beef scheme now entering its third year. It is alongside Meat Image Japan (MIJ) carcase camera technology, which takes digital images from the cut ribeye surface to objectively measure marbling score, marbling fineness and ribeye area – this gives an overall DMS (Digital Marble Score) for each body of beef.

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