Wagyu around the World - France
After tasting Kobe beef in 2002, Johan Hemelaere planned to introduce Wagyu into France. He imported 100 Wagyu embryos from Westholme in Australia in 2005. They were implanted in recipient Holstein cows in Belgian. USA semen was used on the progeny two years later on Domaine de Tilleul in the Aisne in northern France. Embryos were flushed in the French herd from May 2009 by Gérard Bernard from Gènes Diffusion while Johan bred his own Wagyu genetics.
The first Wagyu carcass was marketed in 2010.
Calves are weaned and castrated between 6-8 months then grazed on the 200 hectare property. At 24 months the cattle are moved indoors to receive a finishing ration.
A liveweight of 800 kilograms at 30-36 months yields a 450 to 480 kilogram carcass. Stéphane Lerouge of Delemeat distributes Earl Wagyu France. Belgian and French chefs pay more than €350 per kilogram for some cuts but the overall price per carcass determines profitability. An average of €20 per kilogram grosses €9,000 after 30 months.
Assisted by d'Aurore De Quick, Johan is running 60 cows.
A field day was hosted by Johan in September 2013 for fifteen Wagyu breeders. Gérard Bernard also attended. A code needs to be created for Wagyu to enable an association to be registered through the Institute of Livestock at the Ministry of Agriculture.