Legendary Akaushi Genetics

Legendary Akaushi Genetics

The superior choice for commercial cattlemen

Article and photos courtesy of Legendary Akaushi Genetics

Founded in Legacy. Driven by Data” – this mantra encapsulates the mission and vision of the new Legendary Akaushi Genetics. Established in 2015, Legendary Akaushi has been at the forefront of preserving and enhancing the foundation genetics of Akaushi cattle. Recently, the ranch transitioned ownership from Bill Fisher and Jordan Beeman to Steve Cotrelle, marking a new era of innovation and growth while still staying true to the vision of the original founders.

With new ownership, the commitment to preserving these foundation genetics remains steadfast. However, there is also a renewed focus on propelling the breed forward. Leveraging our unique position of owning numerous rare foundational animals, we are poised to create new maternal lines based on rigorous data analysis and performance metrics. This data-driven approach ensures that we not only preserve the legacy of Akaushi genetics but also enhance the breed’s future potential through informed breeding decisions and innovative practices.

History of Akaushi
The Akaushi breed, also known as Japanese Brown or Red Wagyu, has its origins in Japan’s Kumamoto and Kochi prefectures. This breed is part of the larger Wagyu family, which includes Japanese Black, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. Wagyu translates to “Japanese cow,” and Akaushi specifically means “red cow.” The breed’s development began in the late 19th century, following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, which opened Japan to Western influences and led to the introduction of European cattle breeds such as Simmental and Devon to enhance size and maternal traits. In addition to these Western influences, Akaushi cattle also integrated genetics from the Korean Hanwoo, noted for its exceptional marbling and robust flavor. Studies indicate a significant genetic overlap between Akaushi and Hanwoo, with some Akaushi showing up to 80% genetic similarity to Hanwoo cattle, this sets them apart from the Black Wagyu and makes them a great cross for heterosis on these types of cattle. This genetic linkage highlights the distinctive qualities of Akaushi beef, blending the intense marbling with a rich, beefy flavor.

Akaushi cattle were first imported to the United States in the 1970s. This initial import included two Tottori Black Wagyu bulls, Mazda and Fuji, and two Akaushi bulls, Judo and Rueshaw. These early imports laid the groundwork for the Akaushi breed in the U.S. However, it was in the 1990s that a significant expansion occurred with the importation of additional Akaushi cattle. This included both Akaushi and Black Wagyu, but the focus was primarily on enhancing the Akaushi genetic pool. These imported cattle were pivotal in establishing a robust Akaushi population in the U.S., ensuring that the breed’s superior marbling, tenderness, and flavor were preserved and propagated. The Akaushi cattle that were originally imported are mostly tied to HeartBrand Beef, previously known as Englewood. In the early 1990s, the Englewood company recognized the potential of Akaushi genetics and invested in importing and breeding these cattle. Englewood’s efforts were instrumental in introducing and popularizing Akaushi beef in the American market. The company eventually rebranded as HeartBrand Beef, continuing its mission to produce high-quality Akaushi beef. Legendary worked with Heartbrand and Wagyu Saki to build their initial herd of rare Akaushi donors.

Why Use Legendary Bulls
Akaushi cattle offer numerous benefits, making them an excellent choice for commercial herds. Known for their exceptional marbling, Akaushi beef consistently achieves higher quality grades, moving select cuts to choice and choice cuts to prime. This superior carcass quality translates to a rich, buttery flavor and a tender texture, highly valued in the beef market. In addition to their premium meat quality, Akaushi cattle exhibit high fertility rates, calving ease, and robust growth, which contribute to efficient and profitable breeding operations. Another significant benefit of Akaushi cattle is their ability to adapt and perform in various climates. Bred on the volcanic slopes of southern Japan, Akaushi cattle have evolved to thrive on grass and in pasture environments. These environmental condiditions allowed the Akaushi to differentiate themselves from the Black Wagyu as they flourish in more rugged conditions, resulting in a thicker build and weaning weights comparable to continental breeds. Since the Akaushi is more related to the Hanwoo than the Black Wagyu, it is also a great choice for producers who have used a Black Wagyu bulls in the past; as these calves will have a high level of heterosis. It is not uncommon for purebred Akaushi to wean calves weighing between 400-550 lbs, with calves being born at around 65 lbs on average. This unique environment also endowed Akaushi cattle with heat resistance. In Texas, it is common to see Akaushi cattle grazing alongside Brahman-influenced cattle in the summer heat when other breeds seek shade or water. Akaushi cattle also perform well in cold environments, thriving in states like Idaho and even further north in Canada.
Our focus on data-driven breeding practices aims to identify cattle that excel in commercial beef production systems. We are currently investigating feed and water efficiency and plan to develop systems and facilities to measure these traits next year. We believe that Akaushi cattle are ideal for use in tropical climates where Brahman-based cattle are common due to their resilience. Akaushi cattle bring not only resilience but also superior carcass quality to the equation. Starting this year, Legendary will incorporate ultrasound technology to select bulls for our program and for sale to our customers. Advances in ultrasound technology over the past decade have made it a valuable tool in ensuring the bulls we sell will marble efficiently. This data will contribute to producing Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) through the Australian Wagyu Association, where our cattle will be compared to Black Wagyu. Although Australia has a robust system for EBVs in Black Wagyu, it may take 3-5 years for the data to accurately reflect the performance of Akaushi. We expect to have the results of the ultrasound scans available by the next breeding season, contributing to ongoing studies comparing Akaushi to Black Wagyu.

By choosing Akaushi bulls, you can significantly improve the quality of the carcasses produced by your herd. This improvement is particularly advantageous if you run a farm-to-table beef program or sell cattle on the grid. In the past year, premiums for F1 calves have decreased, but we anticipate these premiums returning once cattle prices stabilize from their current all-time highs. Investing in Akaushi genetics positions your operation to capitalize on these future market opportunities, ensuring consistent production of high-quality beef that meets consumer demand for superior marbling and flavor. At Legendary Akaushi Genetics, our dedication to preserving the rich legacy of Akaushi cattle while driving the breed’s future through innovation and data-driven practices sets us apart. Our commitment to quality, sustainability, and excellence positions us at the forefront of the beef industry, offering unparalleled value to our customers and the market. By choosing Akaushi bulls from Legendary Akaushi Genetics, commercial cattlemen can enhance their herds with superior genetics, ensuring higher quality beef, improved efficiency, and greater adaptability to diverse environments.
For additional information on our breeding stock, commercial cows, bulls, semen and embryos, visit our website for more information at akaushigenetics.com

Skip to content