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.?
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.
It was great to meet Ida and Lars Bjelvin from Norway last week. They raise pigs and Limousin cattle from their family farm and are interested in breeding Wagyu. We were delighted to show them the cattle and estate and enjoyed a good chat with the like-minded couple about our set up and ethos.
Don't they make excellent models for our branded caps? You visit HW, you get branded!
We were delighted to take part in the 4th edition of the Budding Chefs exchange programme and welcome twelve young French chefs and four budding waiters to tour our farming operation on Wednesday, March 19th.
The Budding Chefs was initiated in 2011 by the Institut francais d?Ecosse and Fred Berkmiller, chef of the L?Escargot restaurants in Edinburgh (who loves our beef) to develop the gastronomic connections between French and Scottish budding chefs and showcase the best of both larders.
This is the second year we?ve hosted a half-day visit as one of Scotland?s producers and we?re very proud to be involved.
The group was keen to learn about our beef and asked lots of interesting questions on all aspects - from embryos to slaughter. The young stars also tasted our?incredibly tender FullBlood Wagyu Flank with lunch?at the Sheriffmuir Inn (pictured).
It?s so rewarding to see such enthusiasm in these young stars of the future. There?s nothing like speaking to people who share our passion and are genuinely interested in the details of what we do.
The Budding Chefs also put their newly gained knowledge from their week-long tour into practice straight away with The Pop-up Restaurant, which was open for one night only on Saturday 22 March ?at The Hub, Castlehill Edinburgh.
Photos courtesy of Albie Clark www.albieclark.com
Our ambitious plans for Wagyu beef and Highland Wagyu are featured on pp14-15 of Sheep & Beef Producer?Winter 2013/2014.
We're always delighted to welcome chefs interested in our Wagyu beef to visit our operation in Perthshire and see the quality of our Wagyu cattle for themselves.
This week we met three chefs from international private members' club The Eden Club in St Andrews (pictured) while last week we were delighted to host the head chefs from Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart's establishments, ?Restaurant Martin Wishart in Port of Leith and Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond.
(l-r) Martine Chapman & George McCulloch of Highland Wagyu with The Eden Club chef Russell Robertson and Mohsin Altajir of Highland Wagyu.