Though the weather outside has been frightful, at Highland Wagyu, the last three months have been delightful with so much going on and lots of tasty projects in progress for 2015.
It?s been a whirlwind of a year and it was topped by completely selling out of all our beef early in December for the festive period to chefs, hotels and private customers, which was incredible and we now have a lengthy waiting list for the new year!
Our beef stays in the UK with consumers and chefs wanting 'British' beef and maybe this is why we are being contacted from around the globe, including Hong Kong, the Maldives and Dubai.
We?re delighted to now supply to Martin and Paul of traditional high class butchers Hook & Cleaver who are based in London (pictured below) and Northfield Farm who sell at the trendy Borough market in London as well as more amazing chefs and restaurants to add to some of the UK?s finest.
There?s been particular interest in our F1 Wagyu crossed with pedigree Aberdeen Angus ? or as we fondly call it, ?Wangus?, and we love it when customers let us know they?re happy with their deliveries on Facebook and Twitter. Feedback is so important!
In fact, our Wangus sausages caused quite a stir, selling to a place in Aberdeen who offered them to the builders working on a big project across the road. He sold out by 9.30am the first morning and is set to try the Wangus burgers for phase 2!!
With the beef all sold 23 days before Christmas, I was able to have some much-needed time to do my favourite and all-important genetics planning for next year.
This month we?ve just completed another embryo programme, flushing Wagyu, Shorthorn and Angus and implanting 60+ embryos. Here?s Highland Wagyu Apache in the crush. She?s used to it now!
From the successful flush, HW Angus now have embryos available for sale from Netherton Fleur L628 by our exciting new stock bull Rawburn Boss M554 (below), so see the HW Angus Facebook page if you?re interested.
We recently sampled our delicious FullBlood Wagyu Salt Beef (which isn?t for sale yet but watch this space) with the ?Roux clan? and Andrew Fairlie who were visiting the estate and, let?s just say, there weren?t many slices left! Mmmm.
We?ve had numerous visits from people interested not only in our beef but also our cattle and everything we're doing here at HW. We recently welcomed an executive chef of a luxury 5* hotel in central London for a weekend on the farm. Being a customer of ours, we were delighted to show him the whole operation and spend quality time with him and his wife. We find it important that our customers get the time to see the cattle and what we're about.
On the pedigree side, October saw the inaugural presentation of the Mohmar Trophy at the Stirling Bull Sales, awarded to James Porter of Uppermill ? congratulations!
Our Shorthorn Mohmar Heathermaid Irania, by prizewinning stock bull Quoiggs Extra Special and dam Quoiggs Irania, was crowned Supreme Shorthorn Champion at the Agri Expo in Carlisle.
While in November Netherton Evita N734 won the Female Overall Yearling Champion at the AA Winter National.
In more Angus news, we?ve made another big step towards breeding the ultimate in AA, with Phase 1 of a new Angus station at Tarneybackle moving forward.
Other exciting news in the past three months includes the new addition to the HW Angus herd of Rawburn Ella, a Double OSeven daughter in calf to Rawburn Boss and the launch of the Wagyu Beef Association down south, which saw a great turnout and good press coverage. This is the first new breed society to be launched in 25 years and we?re happy to be part of it.
It?s a reflective time of year and I my highlight has been that I have survived another year! Well it's true - we walked in here knowing nothing about farming or cattle. We wanted to be hobby farmers to breed beef for our own table because we were fed up with searching for great quality beef! Remember we were consumers so maybe this is why we only want to produce the best.
There's a saying that I have changed to suit me... When the going gets tough... The tough keep going!
The feedback that we get from everyone about our beef has to be a highlight! After all the hard work that goes into it 'from conception to, err, consumption? 🙂 ?So when the finest chefs tell us that our beef is incredible, well those few words make it all worth it. That's what it's about! We feel proud.
I have to say the cattle are the stars; such amazing animals to be around they leave me breathless some days with their individual personalities. I am totally smitten!
And of course the team at HW, without ALL of them this wouldn't work. It really is a 'team' effort! And of course my wonderful husband that puts up with me working all hours, my rants when it's been a difficult day and for cooking me the most fabulous meals every weekend.
And not forgetting my customers some who have supported us from day one! I want to thank you all for the support you have given us and for producing the most amazing plates of food using our beef. Thank you for believing in our cattle and us.
We?re really looking forward to a well-deserved break over the festive period, spending time with family and friends and eating good food while we recharge our batteries for many more exciting things happening in 2015.
So, from our family to yours, have a very happy Christmas and a wonderful new year.
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 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.
The Highland Wagyu Shorthorn team had an 'Extra Special' day at The Fife Show at Kinloss Farm near Cupar on sunny Saturday, May 24th.
Shorthorn bull?Quoiggs Extra Special (pictured above with focussed HW herdsman George McCulloch) lived up to his name, making second in his class, reserve male, reserve overall champion as well as?Best Animal?Bred by Exhibitor and taking home the JBW Smith Shield.
Meanwhile his little sister?Mohmar Georgina was second in her class and reserve female champion.
And yearling bull Mohmar Genghis Khan was second in his class with handler John McCulloch (pictured below) winning his young handlers class, overall young handler as well the NE Farmers Young Handlers Trophy.
Mohmar Georgina and Mohmar Genghis Khan also won the pairs, with John and his mum Maureen leading them to victory in the show ring (below).
Here's John looking delighted with all the rosettes. Well done team - what a family!
It was a great day at Ayr Show yesterday (Sunday, May 11th) where we took home a trio of first prizes and one second prize for our Shorthorns.
We won first prize in the cow class with Quoiggs Rhona E530 and her bull calf Mohmar Hercules (pictured above),?a first prize in the yearling heifer class with Mohmar Gracious Broadhooks (below).
And our final first prize went to Mohmar Genghis Khan in?the yearling bull class.
We were second in the Beef Shorthorn pairs and John McCulloch, son of HW?herdsman George, won the junior young handlers class and the Kemira UKF Fertilisers Ltd Trophy for the champion beef?young handler.
What a day!
Our ambitious plans for Wagyu beef and Highland Wagyu are featured on pp14-15 of Sheep & Beef Producer?Winter 2013/2014.
Say hello to a couple of Rawburn Aberdeen Angus heifers bought at the Stirling Bull Sales on Monday. They're settling into their new home nicely along with a third?Angus heifer and seven Shorthorn girls purchased on the same day.