Fullblood, crossbred and commercial

The production systems and supply chain for Wagyu can be categorised into

  • Breeding – for the purpose of producing sought after genetics
  • Backgrounding – to feedlot entry weight at 340-400kg
  • Lot feeding – up to 450 days
  • Carcase Sales
  • Beef Sales – sold as frozen or chilled carton, principally to overseas markets

All of which can be undertaken using Fullblood, Crossbred or Commercial level Wagyu.

Fullblood and crossbred production systems

A fullblood herd consists of 100% Wagyu cattle and will show the full merit of the breeds’ characteristics, including the high marbling that the breed is renowned for. Utilising the Wagyu BREEDPLAN will enable breeders to establish the genetic authenticity of sires and dams to develop or improve a Fullblood herd.

Crossbred Wagyu herds typically are a Fullblood with a third or fourth cross of another breed. Common crosses include Angus, Brahman and Holstein. Crossbreds are undertaken to improve certain characteristics of the herd such as maternal traits or carcase traits.

Understand the Japanese Black genetics

Commercial Wagyu Herds

Commercial herds are generally first and second cross fullblood with another breed and are more often characterised by lower marbling scores (typically MS 5-7).

Defining Wagyu Content

Cross number Level of Wagyu content Definition
First cross 50% Wagyu Crossbred Wagyu
F1 50%
Has 50% or higher Wagyu genetic content. For example the first generation of crossbreeding a
Wagyu Fullblood sire and the dam of another breed.
Second cross 75% Wagyu Crossbred Wagyu
F2 75%
Has 75% or higher Wagyu genetic content. For example is the result of at least two generations of
crossbreeding, using a Wagyu Fullblood sire and a crossbred Wagyu F1 dam.
Third cross 87.5% Wagyu Crossbred Wagyu
F3 87+%
Has greater than 87% Wagyu genetic content. For example is the result of at least three generations of
crossbreeding, using a Wagyu fullblood sire and a Crossbred Wagyu F2 dam.
Fourth cross 93.75% Wagyu Purebred Wagyu
F4 93+%
Has greater than 93% Wagyu genetic content. For example, the result of at least four generations of
crossbreeding using a Wagyu fullblood sire and a crossbred Wagyu F3 dam.
Fifth cross 96.875% Wagyu
Sixth cross 98.4375% Wagyu
Seventh cross 99.21875% Wagyu
Purebred Wagyu
F4 93+%
Has greater than 93% Wagyu genetic content. For example, a Wagyu fullblood sire over a
crossbred Wagyu F3 dam.

 

Notes:
The above table show crosses are the result of using a Wagyu Fullblood 100% bull.

A purebred is referred to as a crossbred animal with 93+% Wagyu by content. Further crosses are also referred to as purebreds. Fullblood animals can only be produced a result of a Fullblood Wagyu male (100%) over a Fullblood Wagyu female (100%).

When visually inspecting Wagyu, it is helpful to understand what you are looking for in structure – whither height, rump shape, thigh or gait – an old document now, but still relevant, become familiar with Assessing Wagyu Cattle (pdf)