Asda targets British farmers with Wagyu beef semen

Asda is hoping to recruit younger farmers into producing premium quality Wagyu beef cattle with the launch of a new scheme.

Asda’s head of ethical and sustainable sourcing Chris Brown said: "Asda will be supplying Wagyu semen to dairy farmers before purchasing the calves back at two weeks of age. These calves will go into rearing units.

"The big advantage for the rearer is that they have no capital outlay and with Asda offering a minimum guaranteed price for the product, a huge amount of risk is taken out of the enterprise.

"Calf cost will be deducted when the animal goes to slaughter and mortality rate will also be taken into account," added Brown.

Asda said due to the low set up costs of the system, it would be targeting the scheme at young farmers as a low cost way of them getting onto the beef production ladder.

"Asda will also be offering discounted Wagyu semen to its loyal BeefLink suckler producers at a cost of £7.50 a straw, the equivalent of a 25% discount. The semen is highly fertile and ideal for using over heifers as the calves are exceptionally easy calving with loads of get up and go,” said Brown.

Asda’s red meat buying manager Jim Viggars added: "The quality of Wagyu beef is second to none so this new range will ensure Asda consumers will be experiencing some of the finest dining experiences from Wagyu beef.

Leading chefs worldwide are advocates of this product and already some of our BeefLink producers with Wagyu calves on the ground are being contacted by chefs as to how they can go about sourcing their beef."

Some 1500 head of Wagyu cattle will go through Asda in the first year, and the intention is to significantly increase numbers to meet demand.