The Story of Highland Wagyu
Highland Wagyu is a pedigree beef company, breeding 100% Fullblood Wagyu, Wagyu crosses, Aberdeen Angus, Beef Shorthorn, Highland and Dexter cattle with a mission to produce the best beef in the world from our 25,000-acre estate farm in Perthshire, Scotland.
Established by husband and wife team Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman in 2011, our ethos of quality, respect and precision underpins everything we do.
Highland Wagyu sells directly to chefs and private customers. We are the largest producer of Wagyu cattle in the UK and on course to the biggest in Europe.
The business started as a personal venture after tasting a mind-blowing Wagyu steak in Australia. At the time Mohsin was playing golf six days a week and I was looking for a new business. I’d never set foot on a farm before, but I was passionate about Wagyu beef so we moved to Mohsin’s family farm in Perthshire – the gateway to the Highlands of Scotland – and bought seven Wagyu heifers and two bulls to breed our own beef. We then decided to buy some embryos and the business just snowballed from there.
Just two years later, in August 2013, we bought an entire herd of 300 head of Wagyu cattle from fellow Perthshire farmer David Ismail, giving us the largest Wagyu cattle herd in the UK. Within the next ten to fifteen years we are looking at 5000. We want to make Scotland the Wagyu centre of Europe.
Genetics play a huge part in producing quality beef. While we breed pedigree Aberdeen Angus, Beef Shorthorn, Highland and Dexter cattle, our main focus is on building our 100% Fullblood Wagyu cattle. And the aim has always been to produce the best, luxury Wagyu beef in the world with a consistent marbling score of 9+, which is the highest rating outside Japan.
The majority of our genetics are from David Blackmore, renowned as the man with the best Wagyu cattle genetics outside Japan. 95% of our Wagyu cattle bloodlines are Tajima, which come from the area where the great Kobe beef originates and some of our bloodlines can be traced back 70 years.
We breed and cross with only 100% pedigree animals and our embryo and semen work is undertaken for our own use and for export. We also put the bull to the native breeds and are achieving something special with our Wagyu cattle crosses. Our native pedigree surrogate mothers produce 30% bigger calves than our Wagyu mothers.
Precision & respect
Set within a majestic highland landscape, Blackford offers rich, fertile Perthshire grassland on which all our herds graze and much of the forage they eat during the winter is cut from our organic land. Low energy feed is a vital part of raising premium Wagyu beef and our all-natural “Highland Wagyu” blend was prepared with a livestock nutritionist and is supplemented with organic Seaweed. In addition, our females are given Omega 3 to enhance fertility and wellbeing.
To create the best marbling, we condition our cattle; we handle them with care (the use of sticks is banned), keeping them happy and content. We’ve created a stress-free environment by investing in ‘Wagyu Central’ – three huge zen-like buildings to house the animals.
We respect each animal from nose to tail right through the life cycle. We pamper our Wagyu cattle and that ethos continues with our luxury Wagyu beef. I personally inspect each carcass to ensure the Wagyu beef’s premium quality and to keep improving.