International Wagyu office opens in Texas

International Member Service Office, Fort Worth Texas USA

International Office officially open in Fort Worth, Texas.

AWA Staff and Board Members alongside board members from the Texas Wagyu Association, at the international offices official opening on May 17.

The Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) has become a leader in the International Wagyu Industry and has a rapidly expanding global membership. It is with great advancement to all our members that the AWA announces the opening of its International Member Service Office in Texas USA. The Texas office was officially opened in front of 180 International members, on 17 May 2024 to deliver improved services to our members in the UK, EU, USA and Canada. The Office will deliver:

  • Equivalent service standards for all AWA members
  • Increased access for all members to global Wagyu genetic diversity
  • Improved management of the limited global Wagyu gene pool
  • Opportunities to better understand and manage inbreeding depression
  • Enhanced benchmarking of diverse genetics to the global reference population
  • Increased business efficiency for AWA Australian and international members

AWA International Membership:
International Wagyu breeder membership has been part of the AWA since the Takeda Farm membership was created in 1996. There has been a global trade of Wagyu genetics into and out of Australia since then and a continual increase in AWA international full membership as Wagyu breeders around the world have shared genetics with Australia and visa-versa. In May 2023, the AWA Board approved establishment of an international office to improve service provision and engagement with 450 international Wagyu breeders from 30 different countries who are AWA members.

Improved business efficiency:
AWA has previously managed support of all Australian and International members through its Australian office business hours. Services to international members will be significantly improved through operation of AWA’s international office within the USA, which will allow us to better assist USA, UK and EU members. International members will benefit from increased turnaround time in addressing service requests within USA office hours. Australian members will benefit from increased turnaround time with Australian based staff primarily addressing Australian member requests within Australian office hours.

The Global Wagyu Gene Pool:
Understanding the need for global access to Wagyu genetic diversity, the Australian Wagyu Association brought together representatives of international Wagyu Associations in 2015 to form the World Wagyu Congress. This enabled streamlining of DNA parentage and registration systems for most global Wagyu registries under common processes, information sharing and reciprocal recognition between Associations. The AWA maintains formal service partnership arrangements with many international Wagyu Associations.
The AWA Herdbook now contains more than 300,000 registered Wagyu cattle from our members in more than 30 countries. Increasing the contribution of international animals to the AWA Herdbook will expand AWA pedigrees further and secure the AWA’s position as the most diverse, comprehensive and accurate Wagyu registry globally.

Managing Inbreeding Depression:
Inbreeding depression is the reduced phenotypic performance in animals within a population over time resulting from increased inbreeding. It is the opposite of heterosis, which is observed in crossbreeding of cattle. Negative effects of inbreeding depression can be observed at levels higher than 5%. Based on pedigree relatedness across all Wagyu animals within the AWA database, the average pedigree inbreeding coefficient is 6.6%. However, this calculation is based on shortened pedigrees that fail to recognise ancestral inbreeding of Wagyu cattle in Japan prior to exportation of the global Wagyu herd. Actual inbreeding calculated using genomic relatedness within the AWA database estimates true average inbreeding closer to 10%, indicating that strategies to enable improved management of inbreeding and increased genetic diversity are of immediate importance. A globally accessible database of all available genetic diversity is a necessary tool for enabling future security of the Wagyu gene pool.

Optimising Genetic Diversity:
The global Wagyu gene pool is a narrow and shared resource across all counties able to export and import Wagyu genetics following the original exports from Japan. Through increased inclusion of internationally bred Wagyu cattle, we are better able to examine the genomic differences between every single animal in the population. We will shortly be providing new tools (genetic diversity and inbreeding measures) to assist all Australian and International members to identify genetic diversity with the global Wagyu population and use this within their breeding programs.

Expanding the benchmarked Gene Pool:
Increased international member animal registration and genomic testing has improved the ability for International AWA members to contribute their genetics into benchmarking programs. This includes benchmarking their performance within Australian herds through collaborations and through the AWA-PTP. Increasing participation and active exchange of genetics between international members and the Australian Wagyu population through the AWA-PTP will enable access to outcrossed genetics that have quantified performance estimates in the globally accepted Australian trait scales.

Maintaining the AWA genetic analysis as the accepted global standard:
AWA International membership growth and use of AWA published EBVs and selection indexes has created a common language for breeders around the world to work together and share genetics. The AWA’s genetic analysis is the globally accepted and by far the most comprehensive and accurate analysis for Wagyu cattle. Expanding the international engagement with the AWA’s registry and genetic improvement tools will aid stable future genetic progress for all members through continued use of AWA’s tools as the global benchmark for Wagyu.


Important Notice and Disclaimer

It is very important that you appreciate when viewing the AWA database that the information contained on the AWA database, including but not limited to pedigree, DNA information, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Index values, is based on data supplied by members and/or third parties.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information reported through AWA, AWA officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use or interpretation. AWA disclaims all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you may incur as a result of the use by you of the data on this AWA database and the information supplied by ABRI and AGBU being inaccurate or incomplete in any way for any reason.

Regarding EBVs and Index values, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • EBVs are derived using Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN technology developed independently by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), using the information contained within the AWA database.
  • AGBU is a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England, which receives funding for this purpose from Meat and Livestock Australia Limited.
  • AWA relies solely on advice provided by AGBU and ABRI in accepting Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN software.
  • EBVs published in Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN are estimates of genetic potential of individual animals and may not reflect the raw animal phenotype.
  • EBVs can only be directly compared to other EBVs calculated in the same monthly Wagyu Group BREEDPLAN analysis.

Regarding pedigree and DNA testing results submitted to the AWA, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Pedigree and DNA data submitted and supplied to AWA may have errors in it which cannot be detected without further DNA testing.
  • Technology may have advanced since a particular test was undertaken so that previous inaccuracies which were not detectable are now able to be detected by current testing technology.
  • AWA estimates that less than 1% of the pedigree entries, ownership or breeding details in the AWA Herdbook may have errors or which may be misleading. For this reason, users ought to consider if they need to obtain independent testing of the relevant animal (if possible) to ensure that the data is accurate.

Regarding prefectural content, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Prefectural content is based on the estimation of prefectural origin from Japanese breeding records of 201 foundation sires and 168 foundation dams.  As genotype-based parent verification is not used in Japan, and full Japanese registration certificates are not available for all foundation animals, exact prefectural composition for these sires and dams cannot be validated.
  • The calculation of prefectural content for Australian Herdbook animals relies on the accuracy of pedigree records and DNA samples provided by AWA members.
  • The reporting of prefectural content for animals within the AWA Herdbook relies on the calculation provided by ABRI.

If you consider that you do not understand or appreciate the nature and extent of the data provided on this website or the EBVs of a particular animal, then AWA strongly recommends that you seek independent expert advice.