6+ Surprising Facts About Wagyu Cattle in the USA

Discover why American Wagyu beef commands top dollar and the unique factors that drive its premium pricing.

wagyu cattle in usa 6+ Surprising Facts About Wagyu Cattle in the USA

Cows produce beef for American meat eaters. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a person in the Midwest consumes about 73 pounds of beef yearly. The average rural individual will eat about 75 pounds of meat annually. Other regions consume between 63 to 65 pounds of beef per person every year. 

Did you know that Wagyu cattle are even more expensive than Angus beef? What makes them so special to be that pricey? Let’s learn six surprising facts about Wagyu cattle in the USA. 

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1. Wagyu Cattle Was First Imported to America in 1975 

The American Wagyu Association reports that Morris Whitney brought four Wagyu bulls to the country in 1975. Two of them were red, and the other two were black. He was a scientific researcher at Colorado University. He and his research team collected bull semen to start the reproduction process with other American cows.

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About 14 years later, Japan lowered its tariffs on beef imports. Hence, Americans were more willing to reassure that the wagyu cattle exported to Japan would be of the highest quality. More Wagyu cattle of both genders were brought into the United States in the 1990s to expedite breeding. 

2. 90% of Wagyu Beef Is a Prime Cut

USDA Steak Grades 6+ Surprising Facts About Wagyu Cattle in the USA

About 90% of Wagyu cattle killed in the United States is Prime beef. There is at least 8% of intramuscular fat throughout the cut. However, the fat content cannot exceed 11%, or it will not be Prime. Plus, the high-quality marbling throughout the raw meat is either abundant or slightly that. 

3. Black Wagyu Cattle Is More Common

Since more black Wagyu cattle were imported in the 80s and 90s than the red or brown varieties, this breed is more common in America. 

The Kuroge Washu, the technical name for Japanese black Wagyu cattle, has high-quality marbling that exhibits a delicious buttery-like texture. Hence, the meat melts on the tongue while eating. 

The Akage Washu, the Japanese brown Wagyu cow, has meat firmer than the black species. Its composition is a bit healthier and has a mild and satisfying flavor. 

Compared to their Japanese cousins, American wagyu do not have as much marbling. Hence, they still make great meats for grilling and searing for a variety of dishes. 

4. American Wagyu Are Cattle Fed for Fewer Days Than Their Japanese Cousins

American wagyu cattle receive cattle feedings of wheat and corn for at least 400 days. The Japanese-raised livestock receives at least 650 days of cattle feed. The feedings for Japanese wagyu are more varied with a more careful nutritional base: wheat and rice bran, barley, and corn.

Hence, this is why Japanese wagyu is more buttery because of the higher marbling content than the American alternative. 

5. The American Species Is Not 100% Wagyu Cattle

When wagyu cows were brought to America in the 70s and 80s, they were crossbred with Angus-producing cattle. Hence, there are no 100% wagyu cattle in America like there are in Japan. While American wagyu is still a higher quality meat compared to Angus alone, it lacks authenticity compared to the wagyu meat sourced from their Japanese cousins. 

6. Japan Outlawed Importing Wagyu Cattle Into the United States in 1994

Japan stopped letting Americans take wagyu cattle from their country for cross-breeding. Before the outlawing mandate, there were 200 cattle considered 100% wagyu. This group became the basis for the present-day Wagyu cattle population in America. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the most surprising facts about Wagyu cows, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about them. 

Are there any Wagyu cows in the US?

Yes, there are Wagyu cattle in the USA. However, they are a crossbred species and not full-blooded. 

How many Wagyu cows are there in the US?

According to Wagyu International, there are 40,000 Wagyu cows throughout the United States, including crossbreeds. 

Are there any full-blooded Wagyu in the United States?

Amongst the 40,000 Wagyu cattle in America, fewer than 5,000 of that population are considered full-blooded. 

Where are the full-blooded Wagyu cattle located in the country?

One company called Vermont Wagyu prides itself on serving 100% full-blood Wagyu to its consumers. 

Can you raise Wagyu beef in America?

Yes, you can raise Wagyu beef in the United States. Breeders specializing in raising Wagyu cows raise them until they are at least ten months before they are transferred to other farmers throughout the country. 

How much is an American Wagyu cow?

Cows producing wagyu beef cost over ten times more than American Angus. An Angus beef-producing cow can sell for upwards of $2,500. A Wagyu beef-producing cow can sell for a whopping $30,000, with some of the highest quality breeds being $200 per pound. 

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