Our cattle are different!
Yuba River Ranch’s herd consists of fullblood, purebred and percentage Wagyu as well as a commercial herd of purebred Angus cows that we breed to full blood Wagyu bulls.
We pride ourselves on a strong Japanese black Wagyu program. Our registered herd consists of purebred and fullblood animals that trace back to genetics imported directly from Japan.
We also run a commercial herd of purebred Angus cows bred back to our fullblood Wagyu bulls for F1 production. Our crossbred calves offer finished beef that is “best of both worlds” delicious. The Angus dam provides the growth and milk needed for a good start and the Wagyu sire lays on the marbling.
What is Wagyu?
The term Wagyu literally translates into the Japanese characters 和 (wa), meaning Japanese, and牛 (gyu), meaning cattle. In the United States, Wagyu beef is often referred to as “Kobe beef.” However, this is a trademark name used specifically for Wagyu beef originating from the city of Kobe and its vicinity in Japan. Wagyu were originally utilized as draft animals in Japan. Over many years, this selection process resulted in increased intra-muscular fat cells (i.e. marbling) for endurance, which became the most praised genetic trait of this breed. Wagyu beef is considered to be the finest beef in the world by many due much in part to its extreme marbling characteristics. According to the American Wagyu Association, the original export of Wagyu from Japan to the United States occurred in 1976, followed by several more in the 1990s. Recognizing the unique traits of Wagyu, however, the Japanese government designated this breed as a national treasure and soon exports of Wagyu genetics were prohibited entirely. During the short period of time from the 1970s to the 1990s, only a limited number of Wagyu genetics were exported and thus the number of cattle descended from the original bloodlines remains small. The American Wagyu Association estimates that there are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 Wagyu-influenced cattle in the U. S. today. Among those, less than 5,000 are presumed to be full-blood Wagyu.
What is American Wagyu, Wagyu Influenced Beef or Wangus?
According to the definition set forth by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, offspring of the Wagyu breed with more than 46.875% of traceable Wagyu genetics are eligible to claim Wagyu influence. To distinguish from the full blood Wagyu, we define the offspring of our cows and bulls as “American Wagyu.". “So why crossbreed,” you ask? Although Wagyu cattle offer many benefits, this breed is not without its drawbacks, which include slower growth and the tendency of cows to produce insufficient milk for their calves. On the other hand, the American mainstream breed, Angus, is known for its ample milking capacity, good feed efficiency and quality meat. Thus, by crossbreeding, we can take the best of both breeds and increase genetic diversity, which is known to improve the overall health and performance of cattle.