AWA Friday Newsletter - October 15, 2021

AWA Friday Newsletter - October 15, 2021 To receive our weekly newsletter in your inbox, contact the AWA office and request to be added to our email list.


Wagyu: It’s the Best Beef in the World
By Burt Rutherford

Renowned meat scientist describes his Wagyu journey.

When world-renowned meat scientist Dr. Gary Smith made his first trip to Japan early in his career, his mission was to ferret out ways the U.S. could sell more beef to Japanese consumers. What he came home with was just the opposite: he learned how to sell more beef in the U.S.

What he saw those many years ago was a wide array of branded beef. And each brand had a story. It’s taken many years and a change in how quality beef is identified and marketed, but branded beef is now a mainstay in grocery stores and restaurants throughout America.

And Wagyu, Smith told breeders at the American Wagyu Association 2021 annual conference in Fort Collins, Colo., is at the most recognized beef brand in the world.

That’s because of the breed’s remarkable genetic ability to produce heavily marbled beef that has a flavor all its own. Initially, however, American meat scientists and nutritionists didn’t know that. They thought it had to be in the way the cattle were fed. Was there some secret sauce? Or was it the storied “beer and massage” production practice?

During following trips to Japan, Smith says U.S. ruminant nutritionists would collect feed samples from Japanese beef farms. However, after testing the feed, they discovered no secret sauce was involved. It was just feed, no different nutritionally than feed in the U.S.

So, it had to be the beer and massage. Smith and other scientists again visited Japan, this time spending more than a month visiting farms and universities. At the National Wagyu Conference livestock show in Japan, “The first thing we saw was a guy giving beer to one of (the animals.) And then we saw someone taking a swig of sake, pulling out a rice root brush and brushing (the cattle) until they were dry,” he recalls.

But they learned those were far from daily practices. In visiting with Japanese beef farmers, he learned that when feeding Wagyu on a concentrate ration for around a year, they sometimes would go off feed. When the cattle would go off feed, the farmers would stop feeding them grain, give them some beer and gradually put them back on feed.

“What about the sake and brushing?” Smith asked. “And they said, ‘The one thing we want our consumers to know is that we are compassionate about the animal, and if we do that, it’s compassion.’”

What’s more, in research trials in the U.S., meat scientists discovered that the beer and brushing had no effect on carcass quality in Wagyu beef.

“So, it’s not the (beer or) massaging,” Smith told Wagyu breeders. “So where does that leave you? It has to be genetics.”

Indeed, it is. Wagyu cattle have been selected for centuries as draft animals for plowing rice fields as well as for beef. That selection pressure has produced an animal with a strong genetic ability to marble.

That’s because, Smith explained, the three different types of muscle fibers use different energy sources. And the red muscle fibers use fatty acids for the source of energy. “So, the more of those red muscle fibers you have, the more marbling they deposit.” That puts the source of fatty acids right next to the muscle fibers that need it.

An offshoot of the highly successful National Beef Quality Audits done in the U.S., Smith and others conducted an International Beef Quality Audit. They learned that worldwide, Wagyu is famous. “It is the best beef in the world, no question,” he told Wagyu breeders.

“So, I think you have a huge future,” he said. He encouraged Wagyu breeders to conduct cooking and tasting demonstrations and to work with local restaurants. “I think you can get high dollar out of the product. I want everyone to know that as far as I’m concerned, relative to the palatability of beef, there is nothing the equal of Wagyu.”

For more information about Wagyu, go to


Entries for North American International Livestock Show

Attached is the sign-up form for the Wagyu Show in Kentucky, North American Intentional Livestock Expo (NAILE).  This year our show will be on November 17, 2021 at the Broadbent Arena at the Louisville, Kentucky Exposition Center.

Also attached are the Wagyu pages from the premium book with the classes listed.  Deadline for registration is November 1, 2021.

Please fill out the entry form attached and send it in via email to as soon as possible.  If you have any questions at all please contact Martha at the office.  208-262-8100.

Parking fees and Exhibitor passes will be addressed in a later email.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Click Here to View Registration Form
Click Here to View Class Listings

Did You Know?
Breeding Inventories: Part 3 - Embryo Inventories

Did you know that you can keep track of your Embryo Inventories in Digital Beef?

Go to Herd Mgmt: Breeding: Embryo Inv to view or enter new records in your Embryo Inventory.

Any previously recorded embryos will be listed in the Embryo Inventory menu with the registration number of the donor parents as well as embryo details including cane codes, quantities, etc.

To add a new embryo record or search for an existing record in your inventory, select the Add New Embryo button at the top of the screen. A new window should open with a table to complete with the breeding information of the embyro. The registration number of the AI sire and the donor dam will need to be entered, as well as the day the donor dam was flushed when the embryos were recovered.

Click the ‘Find These’ button to continue. This will either redirect you to an existing record with this mating, or if no record is found in your inventory, the Embryo Inventory Maintenance menu will appear, and you will be prompted to record the following details for new embryos to add in your inventory:

Cane Code: code printed on the embryo straw

Flush Date: date the embryos were recovered from the donor dam.

Qty: Quantity of embryo straws with this mating

Tank: Tank Identifier that contains straws for these embryos

Canister: Canister Identifier that contains straws for these embryos

Exportable: Indicate that the embryos being recorded are exportable

Once the table has been completed, click the ‘Save Inventory’ button. The Embryo Inventory should refresh and include the newly added embryo record.



Team Wagyu Shirts
Whether you’re interested in something for yourself or a gift for your customers, we have several items to choose from. With each purchase you are helping support your association and proudly support this great Wagyu breed.

Share a Favorite Photo
We make lots of memories with family, friends and Wagyu cattle! What activities have you been up to on the farm? Send us a picture and we will chose one to feature in an upcoming newsletter!
AWA Calendar
January 1, 2022 - Start of 2022 Membership Renewal
January 1, 2022 - Spring CAR Enrollment Starts
February 1, 2022 - Spring CAR enrollment fees Increase
April 1, 2022 – Annual Membership Renewal – Late Fees Apply
May 1, 2022 – Fall CAR Enrollment Starts

June 30, 2022 – Fall CAR Enrollment Deadline – Fees Increase July 1

Upcoming Industry Events/Livestock Shows
November 17, 2021 – NAILE – Wagyu Show – Louisville, KY
January 9, 2022 – NWSS – Wagyu Show – Denver, CO

February 1 – 3, 2022 – NCBA  Trade Show – Houston, TX
February 28 – March 20, 2022 – Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – Houston, TX

Upcoming Member Events
October 9, 2021 – Studwagyuauction(dot)com - Domestic and International Frozen Genetics
Oct0ber 14, 2021 – Joseph Decuis Inaugural "Toast to a Wagyu Celebration" Sale, Roanoke, IN
October 23, 2021 – Vermont Wagyu Production Sale - At the Farm in Springfield, VT

November 6, 2021 – Texas Wagyu Association - Fall Harvest Event - Luling, Texas
January 8, 2022 – Mile High Wagyu Experience - Denver, CO
March 19, 2022 – Triangle B Ranch - 14th Annual Spring of Opportunities Sale - Stigler, OK
March 26, 2022 – A5 Wagyu Production Sale - Virginia
March 26, 2022 – The Top Shelf Collection - Genomic Marvels at their Finest - Luling, TX
April 9, 2022 – M6 Ranch Wagyu - Bull Battery Sale - Alvarado, Texas

April 23, 2022 – 13th Annual