Well where has the year gone? 2017 is knocking on our door and I didn?t feel 2016 pass!!
It?s been another crazy year for us at HW with the opening of our new, dedicated store, Wagyu House. We were blessed with some amazing support for the opening, which was incredible. Since we opened our doors in August it?s been truly incredible. Of course I?m still based at the farm but I have my Saturday job at Wagyu House and I pop in most days to check on what?s going on and I enjoy meeting and talking Wagyu to all our customers.
With another crazy year nearly behind us, Mohsin and I are looking forward to a well-earned break in January. Mohsin is working on some exciting projects for the New Year so we?ll need some R&R before the excitement begins. Of course, we?ll keep you posted on social media.
We had another great few days at The Royal Highland Show with our Wagyu stand in June. After selling out in two days last year we increased our stock this year?and sold out in three days! It seems our love for Wagyu is spreading. So we will plan better for the Show next year. My nephew Maison came to help for the four days at the Highland and has stayed to work alongside us at HW, which of course has pleased me! It?s great to have him with us and since Wagyu House opened he has grown in confidence and is now looking after all of our private customers.
It?s been an amazing year with many new restaurants and some incredible chefs placing our beef on their menus. We?ve had so much support from many of our customers since the start of our journey that we cannot thank them enough. You know who you are and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for always being there for us. Without you, we wouldn?t be here.
A big thank you also goes to our friend and top-chef customer Adam Handling who used our Wagyu beef on Masterchef this year, which gave us a massive boost. We?re hoping to add a clip to the website soon.
In more good news, I have found a ?mini me? at last. Michelle came on board a few months ago, which has been a massive help for us all. She has been in the beef industry for many years, her enthusiasm is infectious and I believe our customers are going to enjoy her positive and fun-loving character as much as we do. Along with my husband and I, Craig runs around the country shouting about HW. Craig is a long-term friend and his passion for Wagyu is incredible. We tease him most days but he would think something was wrong if we didn?t. I must also mention everyone in the office as well as Nigel who tries to keep everyone in check.
On the cattle side things life is always busy. Every day brings us a challenge and we are all constantly learning that ?every day?s a school day?. I?m told where there?s livestock there?s ?dead stock? and this is something I haven?t been able to grasp well?maybe it?s because I am still so new to the world of cattle? That being said we have had many beautiful new additions to the HW herds. Our Wagyu herd is growing daily and the Wagyu breed itself is growing in popularity worldwide. We have many people calling because they want to learn more about the breed in general, which is a positive sign. For us they are wonderful, but for many they don?t really see them visually as ?beef cattle?. However, once they have seen our steers and of course the end product, this gives them encouragement.
We cross our Wagyu with our other breeds of cattle to see what the Wagyu are doing to our traditional carcasses and each one so far has blown us away. I?m sure many have heard our weird and wonderful names for the different Wagyu crosses. Wangus, Waghorn, Waglander are the three so far and we have another new Wagyu cross coming soon but I?m still working on the name for that!
Our HW Angus herd has gone from strength to strength with William and Karen at the helm. In the past year we have exported live cattle and embryos to 12 different countries from both our Red and Black Angus. With many bulls being sold within the UK, we would like to thank our new and returning customers for all the support you have given us. Next year is looking very exciting, with the World Angus Forum coming to visit. We also have a nice group of bulls for the famous Stirling Bull Sales in February.
HW Shorthorns have stepped up a mark and, since George?s main focus is now on the Shorthorns, they?re coming into their own. Our homebred bull and national champion Freud is now in stud, with many orders for his semen coming in before he even arrived! Hazard was sold to Genus and has also been popular across the globe. So, things are looking up on the Shorthorn front and I look forward to sharing more new about them soon.
We also have a new member on the Wagyu team. Lorna has returned from many years in NZ to join the Wagyu team and we?re very happy to have her on board. She joins Colin, Maureen, Grant and Radik who all look after the Wagyu side of things, making five Wagyu musketeers! And I better not forget a very important member of the Wagyu team - Diaz is HW security the most incredible Rottie I?ve ever met. Along with HW Yoda (our French Bulldog) they are Wagyu quality control 😉 HW Yoda is in full force and brings us such joy at home and on the farm. He is totally in love with the cattle, but sometimes gets a little freaked out when he appears from a bale of hay and finds large Wagyu tongues waiting to kiss him! I?m not sure what he thinks these large beasts are and I?m sure they wonder who or what he is, but they all seem to find each other totally spellbinding.
Finally, I know I?ve said this before, but I cannot say it enough: my husband and I are here not only because of our determination, but also because of the hard work of the whole team. Without everyone?s hard work and passion we wouldn?t be here today. As in life, there are good and bad days, but together we can do many great things. So, to our HW family we would like to thank you for everything you have done. We look forward to walking into the future with you, whatever it may hold.
THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!
Thank you for all your entries. The winners are being notified.
For all you creative carnivores, fantastic foodies and burger lovers, this Twitter contest is just for you!
We?re looking for the best slogan about Highland Wagyu to be in with a chance of winning SIX of our amazing Wangus ?beef burgers.
That?s 1 kilo of beautiful Wagyu crossed with Aberdeen-Angus?beef.
So what are you waiting for? Tweet us your best slogan now!
You have until:?midnight on Friday 31st?October 2014.
Here?s the deets:
1. Follow us on twitter @chapmanmartine
2. Reply to @chapmanmartine on twitter with your slogan suggestion, which MUST include the hashtag #HighlandWagyu
3. You can send multiple suggestions but multiple entries of the same suggestion won?t be accepted. Please don?t spam us.
4. Once the contest is closed, we?ll announce the best THREE on twitter and DM each individual to arrange delivery of our delicious burgers.
Photo credit: Martine Chapman - The Scran and Scallie's Wagyu burgers. Yum.
The Uppermill Beef Shorthorn herd has been awarded the inaugural Mohmar Trophy for scoring the highest number of points across four major shows during the 2014 season.
Uppermill?s owner, James Porter, of Gill Hall Estate, Dromore, County Down was presented with the award at the Stirling Bull Sales?on Monday 20 October by Mohsin Altajir of Highland Wagyu who donated the trophy.
Mr Porter?received a bronze Beef Shorthorn head specially commissioned by Scottish sculptor, Lucy Poett, together with ?1,000 prize money.
"As Beef Shorthorn breeders ourselves, we wanted to help encourage more breeders, in particular some of the newest members, to show their cattle and recognise?the most successful herd across four shows ? the Royal Highland, Royal Ulster, Royal Welsh and Great Yorkshire,? Mr Altajir explained.
"We hope the perpetual Mohmar Trophy, which is based on our Shorthorn bull Quoiggs Extra Special, will become a much sought-after award in the show season for Shorthorn breeders."
Beef Shorthorn Society?s Frank Milnes commented: ?Our congratulations go to Uppermill which turned out two fantastic teams of Beef Shorthorns at the Royal Ulster and Royal Highland Shows and amassed a very impressive lead score of points.?
He added: ?We are delighted be able to introduce a brand new and unique trophy to our awards line up and our grateful thanks go to Highland Wagyu for generously supporting Beef Shorthorn at a time when the breed?s popularity has reached a record high - calf registrations are up 41% since 2011. Breeders are delivering a functional suckler cow suited to modern commercial requirements whilst Morrisons Traditional Beef scheme has introduced a strong demand for Beef Shorthorn steers, previously a by-product.?
Pic caption:?James Porter receives the new Mohmar award from Mohsin Altajir with from left, Bill Porter, Martine Chapman, John McCulloch and Zara McComb
Note for editors
The Mohmar Trophy judging was based on a point system. The first place in each class was awarded 50 points, second 40 points, third 30 points, fourth 20 points and fifth 10 points. The scoring included group classes but excludes the championships. The exhibitor amassing the greatest total of points from these four qualifier shows was declared the winner.
The HW Angus herd has been augmented with the purchase of ten new heifers this month.
Earlier in August, we bought nine Jerusalem heifers at Penrith from Linda and Bryan Ronan of Jerusalem Farm, Colby near Appleby, bringing the total of our Jerusalems to 35. It?s great to see them settling in nicely - who wouldn?t with this view? (Top picture).
Then, on Saturday, August 16th, we attended the Wedderlie Open Day in Berwickshire along with 800 others for the Tilson family?s centenary celebrations of the herd.
It was a full day with 800 visitors enjoying practical demonstrations, a stockjudging competition and sheepdog demonstrations.
We were delighted to take part in the charity auction for one of a pair of pedigree Angus heifers on display, placing the winning bid of 3000 guineas for Wedderlie Blackbirdy N882. This August 2013-born daughter is sired from Nightingale El Paso J489 and her dam comes from the renowned Blackbird line and the great bull TC Stockman.
The day raised around ?4000 for the RSABI and Macmillan and we wish many congratulations and continued success to John and Marion Tilson and their daughter Wanda Hobbs for the future.
Veterinary student Cameron Gibson has just completed a week?s placement at Highland Wagyu.
The University of Glasgow student has just finished his first year and contacted Martine after seeing the company on Landward to ask about an on-farm placement.
He said: ?I?d also read about the company and thought it would be a brilliant place due to its scale to get some experience, which we have to do as part of the course.?
Following a comprehensive tour of the estate, Cameron was on hand to watch the HW team conduct the whole process of flushing for embryos from the Fullblood Wagyu girls and recipient implantation. He also assisted with the Angus team at Netherton Farm.
Cameron said: ?It was great to see the embryo work. It?s something I?m particularly interested in and will hopefully be a field I'll move into when I'm qualified. It was amazing to see how they're using it to grow and improve the herd.?
Martine said: ?We?ve loved having Cameron here and we don?t just open our doors to anyone. We get a lot of requests and have to be selective so we?re always looking for the stand-out people, like Cameron, who share our passion.?
We were thrilled to welcome David Blackmore (far right) and his son Ben (far left) of the infamous Blackmore Wagyu to Highland Wagyu on Saturday.
It was a real privilege to show them around the estate and they were delighted to see Wagyu Central - our zen dens - and our progress in such a short time.
We look forward to welcoming them back soon, hopefully in better weather next time!
We were thrilled to see our Shorthorn bull Quoiggs Freud do so well at?England's premier agricultural event - the Great Yorkshire Show - held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire from Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th July 2014.
He was first in his class, winning The Northern Beef Shorthorn Club Trophy for the best two-year-old Beef Shorthorn bull before going on to the male championship and becoming reserve male champion.
Here's a few images from the 156th event, which saw more than 131,000 people enjoy three days of sunshine and blue skies - we thought we were in Scotland!
The Rt. Hon. Gerald Turton with Quoiggs Freud and George McCulloch - and the Northern Beef Shorthorn Club Trophy.
Quoiggs Freud with his rosettes after the parade on Wednesday:
Our spur-of-the-moment slogan competition on Facebook was a great success last week. The lure of a Highland Wagyu goodie bag of our branded caps and rucksacks generated 94 comments and a lot of laughs. Thanks to everyone who got involved for a bit of fun.
The goodie bags are on their way to the following?winners (listed in alphabetical order):
Jan McCourt - Highland Wagyu, YU deserve it
Phil Shaw - Highland Wagyu - creating a buzz since 2011, once you taste it, you'll think you're in heaven.
Trevor Shortt - For those Culinary Nights, Highland Wagyu delights!!
Sue Watson - och ey the noo, Highland Wagyu.
Look out for future competitions on Facebook and Twitter for some more fab prizes.
The past three months have been all about new life, cute calves and quality breeding.
We?ve welcomed 200 calves from our Angus, Shorthorn, Highland and Wagyu breeds, collected semen from four bulls and had a very successful flush.
And we?ve had great interest from South America in particular for our Wagyu semen and requests for semen from our champion Beef Shorthorn bull Quoiggs Extra Special while Quoiggs Freud has generated his own little flurry of enquiries with his success on the show circuit (see below).
Recent press interest in the Wagyu breed has brought Highland Wagyu to the attention of UK chefs who are surprised and delighted it?s being bred ?on their doorstep? especially with the demand from customers to source quality meat closer to home.
We?ve also been contacted by a number of private customers looking at our Wagyu beef for a treat or a special occasion. In fact, we now have a waiting list!
April and May saw the majority of our new arrivals, including 50 calves in 10 days ? that was a busy week! And it?s been so exciting to see the arrival of more of our F1s (50% Wagyu) and we also saw our first F2s (3/4 Wagyu).
Here are some images of the little ones:
In an exciting first for us, we had three of our fullblood?Wagyu boys at stud?in May with their semen collected for our use and for sale in the EU. We?re also planning on collecting semen for international sale in the future so stay tuned.
Here are our stud muffins...
We also took semen from one of our Aberdeen Angus bulls, Idvies Proud Painter K460, and our Wagyu bull, Odyssey, for sale in the UK only. To round everything off at the end of May, we flushed for embryos in six of our Fullblood Wagyu girls and implanted 25 into Angus, Shorthorn and Highland surrogates and froze the excess haul.
The month of May also saw Mohsin become Vice President for Stirling on the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland board and we were proud to be one of the main sponsors of the Royal Highland Show ? the ?Greatest Show on Earth?.
This year?s show season over the summer has been fantastic ? as has the weather. It?s hard to believe we?re in Scotland with all this sun!
The HW Shorthorn team has been incredibly busy in May and June. Our star line-up of our champion shorthorn bull Quoiggs Extra Special, young bull Quoiggs Freud, Mohmar Georgina, Quoiggs Rhona E530 and her bull calf Mohmar Hercules, heifer Mohmar Gracious Broadhooks and yearling bull Mohmar Genghis Khan brought home the rosettes and trophies from Ayr Show, Fife Show, Stirling Show (for which we were also main sponsors), and the Royal Highland Show.
It?s not all about Wagyus and Shorthorns. In June we made a big announcement for the Aberdeen Angus breed with our exciting partnership with W & D McLaren of Netherton Angus, our neighbours and good friends.
In the last six weeks I?ve been going through the genetics, matchmaking the Wagyu girls with the bulls. I love genetics; I could talk about it all day. To get the Wagyus officially registered, DNA has to go to Ireland before heading to The Australian Wagyu Association. It?s a time-consuming process but absolutely fascinating. I just wish I could spend more time doing it.
As we say on the website, raising Wagyu is considered an art and in order to be successful, it?s 70% genetics and 30% diet. We also like to add in a huge dollop of passion and respect.
Meet Andrea (pictured here with our magnificent Wagyu bull Thor) who we were delighted to meet with and discuss quality beef this week.
Andrea and her partner, who breeds Aberdeen Angus, live in France and want to invest in Wagyu. It was great to hear how much research she'd done on our quality genetics - even speaking to David Blackmore.
She's looking to buy live Wagyu cattle, embryos and semen from us, so watch this space...