As a rule – the higher amount of marbling – the higher grade of meat. Due to their genetic predisposition, their feed régime, and the age when slaughtered, Wagyu cattle average a marbling score of 4-6 and can reach the top score of 12.
Australia received its first Wagyu genetics in 1990, a WAGYU female.
Frozen semen and embryos followed in 1991. Australia was greatly influenced by a shipment of five fullblood animals from Japan to the USA in 1993.
Three other major importations of Wagyu genetics into Australia took place, all of these importations being costly long-term projects since there were no protocols for direct imports from Japan to Australia.
Australia is now in the unique position of having the best accumulation of Wagyu genetic material outside of Japan in a country free of those diseases which restrict exports from other countries.
Australia has become the Clean Green Wagyu supplier for the world.
- Tajiri or Tajima – these cattle are descendants of Tajiri, a sire born in the Mikata District of the Hyogo Prefecture. This is a large, influential sire line in which almost all strains within the Hyogo Prefecture are related to some extent. The Tajiri line has outstanding genetic excellence of meat and finely marbled beef but in combination with a smaller frame and lower growth rates. This line is famous for good temperament, transmitted by a large number of sires as well as cows. Famous are the names of “Kobe Beef” or “Matsuzaka-beef” from beef produced in Hyogo Prefecture using Tajiri bloodlines.
- Fujiyoshi (Shimane) – this line of cattle are well balanced and produce calves with good growth rates and meat quality. They are also quite in temperament and exhibit a strong maternal ability in dams, which also have high fertility. The bloodline started in the Tomada district of Okayama Prefecture. While the number of key sires is relatively small compared to other lines, this line is listed as one of the major bull strains because of the excellence of its beef. Dai 7 Itozakura is a Fujiyoshi line bull, probably the most famous os the line.
- Kedaka (Tottori) – this line formed in the Tottori Prefecture from the descendants of the sire Kedaka born in 1959. Typical characteristics of the line include good growth, larger frame type, good topline, and overall balance. They are known for their fine, loose skin. Dai 20 Hirashige is an important sire of the Kedaka line. His semen is still used although the price per straw is over US$1000. He gained 84.7 points as an “Ikushu-Taroku” bull which was the highest honour in Japan of the time. The number of registered sons of this bull is very high.
- Kochi and Kumamoto – these are red strains and have been strongly influenced by Korean and European breeds, especially Simmental.