Processing the Wagyu



As we approach the end of our grass season, we’ve begun processing our Wagyu X calves before we ship them to Snake River Farms in Idaho around mid-May to be fed and sold as American Kobe beef. Each calf receives a second round of vaccinations and Electronic ID tags consisting of a unique 15-digit number that can be read both visually and electronically, denoting the country of origin and complying with the requirements of disease traceability. Calves destined for the export market must have EID tags.

Born after the first of September, the calves have had a tough start with only 3 inches of rain accumulated by the end of February, but seem to have done remarkably well since our March and April rains. However, I don’t expect them to weigh as much as in past years.

Once the Wagyu X calves are shipped, we will take these cows, mostly second-calf mothers bred to an Angus bull, up into the Greasy watershed as we begin weaning our English calves. With a little luck, we ought to be done weaning by the first of July. With temperatures breaking into the 90s, we’re bracing for our usual summer heat.


Mustard yellow greens
under a blue sky, cows wait
for some direction.


3 responses to “Processing the Wagyu

  1. I’m curious about the “American Kobe” beef designation, John. Maybe you can explain it a bit more for me. My understanding that only beef raised in the one small area of Japan and raised in a certain way can be called Kobe, “Kobe” being similar to an appellation for wine. I thought Wagyu was different and didn’t have to only be from Japan. Enlightenment, please? 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re on the right track, Janet. Wagyu is one of several Japanese breeds of cattle that qualify for the appellation Kobe. Snake River Farms’ “American Kobe” is a Wagyu cross on English breeds, predominantly Angus. Our calves are only 1/2 Wagyu, but fed in Idaho for 400-500 days as opposed to most straight English breeds who spend approximately 120 days in the feedlot. You can tell the difference in the Wagyu cross in both taste, tenderness and texture. Quite nice if you can afford it.


      • Thanks, John. We had Wagyu beef once at a chef’s dinner and it was delicious! We just shook our heads one day when we met friends at a bar/pub for dinner and they had Kobe beef burgers on the menu. Sigh. A friend of my husband’s who has been in Japan and had real Kobe says it’s both too fatty and too expensive to be used as a burger.


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