Several years ago, completely independently of each other, Ifor Humphreys and I both had the same idea- to breed Wagyu cattle. Wagyus are the Japanese breed whose meat is uniquely marbled, making it more succulent and tender than any other meat- and also much more expensive. The Japanese are fiercely protective of their breed; they will not allow any cattle to be exported so Ifor and I had only one choice- to use frozen embryos and surrogate cows. I have decided to raise a herd of pure-bred Wagyus, which is a painfully slow process. Ifor has taken the more practical, commercial and certainly much speedier route of cross-breeding by using a Wagyu bull on Limousin cows.
The first ever tasting of Wagyu meat from one of Ifor’s bullocks took place today in Powys College in Newtown, Wales. I was honoured to be among 40 guests and the only English farmer present. We were treated to no fewer than 9 courses, all of them of Ifor’s Wagyu meat, cooked to recipes devised by the College’s catering faculty. It was a brilliant occasion. The meat was well marbled and every course was utterly delicious.
Ifor has researched Wagyu’s extensively in Australia, which reflects to some extent the research which I’ve carried out in Japan. Afterwards, at Ifor’s farm (of which I was privileged to be given a tour) we were able to compare notes and had a most useful chat.