GIANT IN THE RED MEAT INDUSTRY PASSED AWAY

Dr Michael Bradfield, CEO of the Wagyu Society, beloved scientist, geneticist, industry leader and friend who has left deep footprints in the red meat industry, passed away on January 6, 2022, at the age of 56, from cancer. His memorial service was held on the 17th of January at the Irene Country Club. During his eulogy Johan de Vos drew a parallel between the life of Michael and the poem A Psalm of Life written by Henry Wadsworth.

 

“When we contemplate the life of great men like Michael and their value to us, and we have grave questions, this poem directs our answers.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal
;

“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Then the poem carries on with some beautiful metaphors, of which I would like to share just one.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Michael was indeed a hero in his strife. And then the answer about the meaning of life, at the end.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait.

This, for me, is Michael’s call to us.

Johan ended by setting the challenge for all of us to follow in the Michaels footsteps. The memorial service can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGmHhZ3gPOE.

WAGYU SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT DAY 25 JANUARY 2022

The Wagyu Society held a Social Development CWB Training Day at Boons Booyskraal on 25 January 2022. The day was held on Mr Eric Leteane’s farm where 60 attendees were expected for the day, however there were 86 attendees that showed up. Attendees were from neighbouring farms, DALRRD, SAMIC and other value chain participants. The morning was spent looking at the requirements of Certified Wagyu Beef. In the afternoon CWB helped to train Eric and his staff on how to tag Wagyu calves and take the necessary DNA samples which can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqDQh_-HDW0. We are excited to see that there is such interest in Wagyu throughout the value chain especially in the developing market. Thank you to Dr Baldwin Nengovhela for organising the successful event and Eric for hosting the day at his farm.

As part of our long-term Social Development plan, we aim to have 10 CWB registered Emerging Farmers in the next three years. These farmers will be well supported by the Society and Certified Wagyu Beef to be fully integrated in the Wagyu value chain. Currently we have 7 farmers being registered under CWB. These farmers were at our CWB Training Day held at Erics farm. They have also all completed the junior inspection course that was presented at WCF Feedlot in Parys on the 24th of February 2022. During our National Wagyu Elite sale one of these producers have purchased their own wagyu bull and heifer as well. Congratulations to Mr Thabani Nxumalo with the purchase of these animals, may you thrive with Wagyu in your herd.

APPOINTMENT OF WAGYU CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

At the board meeting held on 3 February 2022 the unanimous decision was made to promote Ms Elandri de Bruyn to Chief Operating Officer of the Wagyu Society and Certified Wagyu Beef. The decision was made because of the passing of our CEO Dr Michael Bradfield. The position of Chief Executive Officer will be advertised in due course. Elandri started with the Society in 2019 where she worked closely with Michael over the last few years on everything Wagyu in South Africa. She holds an MSc in Production Physiology and Product Quality from the University of Pretoria and is also currently pursuing her PhD in Animal Science at the University of Pretoria. This promotion marks the appointment of the first COO and female director of the Wagyu Society. The board has the utmost confidence in Elandri and wish her great success with the road ahead.

WAGYU CONFERENCE 25 FEBRUARY 2022

The Wagyu Conference took place at the Afridome Parys on the 25th of February 2022. With nearly 100 attendees for the day the conference went down with out a hitch. This was the first time since Covid hit that we were able to host a conference with people physically attending on the day. We were reminded by Mr Johan Strydom that Wagyu is a premium product with a market that appreciates quality over price.  Mr Gerhard van der Burgh showed that it is possible to be profitable and that volume is a key determinant of success. The breakdown of the Wagyu forequarter by blockman Renier de Jager was one of the highlights of the conference. The day was closed with an unforgettable dinner in an authentic Japanese style prepared by chef Keigo Takamori. All who attended agree that the event was a major success and we are all looking forward to the next conference. The conference presentations can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzco9_aqaMD83r6hwPh055auMEEguwgVO. We would like to thank all our sponsors for their contribution to the event.

We had our annual prizegiving in the evening. Congratulations to all the well-deserved recipients.

  • Heifer sold for the highest price at the last auction – Llewellyn Angus trust (Sponsored by Cavalier & Ebuhlanti Wagyu Breeders)
  • Heifer purchased for the highest price at the last auction – RC van Tonder (Sponsored by Morgan Beef & Kiruwashi Wagyu)
  • Bull purchased for the highest price at the last auction – Terra Victus (Sponsored by Molatek & CPG)
  • Bull sold for the highest price at the last auction – RW Jefferey (Sponsored by Sernick & Foods of Tommorow)
  • Breeder with most SNP files on record – Platinum Beef (Sponsored by Stella Wagyu)
  • Breeder that submitted most performance data (>100) – Ebuhlanti Wagyu Breeders (Sponsored by Infracor)
  • Breeders that submitted most performance data (<100) – Fredericksburg Wagyu (Sponsored by Platinum Beef)
  • Sire with most progeny recorded – Kiruwashi Wagyu FGW120002 (Sponsored by Protea Wagyu)
  • Animal with highest ranked Feed Efficiency result in the past year – Beyond Beef BB190125 (Sponsored by Vytelle)
  • Wagyu friend of the Society – Charl Hunlun (Sponsored by Zuney Wagyu)
  • Wagyu Society Merit award for services rendered – Dr Baldwin Nengovhela (sponsored by the Wagyu Society and Certified Wagyu Beef)
  • Wagyu Chairman’s award – Fanie Steyn (Sponsored by Trifill Wagyu)
  • Wagyu Chairman’s award – Frans Stapelberg (Sponsored by Karoo Wagyu)

WAGYU INSPECTION COURSE 24 FEBRUARY 2022

Our annual Junior Inspection course took place on the 24th of February 2022 at WCF Feedlot in Parys. This is the first Inspection course to be held since the outbreak of Covid-19. As per the Wagyu regulations, Wagyu breeders are permitted to inspect their own cattle on-farm after the completion of a Junior Inspection course and completing a refresher course every 2 years. The course was attended by 31 people. We were privileged to have Mr Charl Hunlun present the course to us again this year. Charl has many years of experience working with Beef Cattle and specifically Wagyu Cattle. Charl has been inspecting Wagyu cattle since the beginning of the Society and is very familiar with the uniqueness of the Wagyu Breed. We would like to thank Charl for his time as well as Platinum Beef and WCF Feedlot for the use of their facilities and hosting our Inspection Course. The next Inspection course will be held later this year with more detail to follow closer to the time.

WAGYU ELITE NATIONAL AND OUT OF THE FLASK SALE 25 FEBRUARY 2022

The first fully virtual Wagyu Elite National and Out of the Flask sale was held on 25 February at the Afridome Parys. Even though no animals were present at the facility, all animals were inspected beforehand. The animals, semen and embryos presented at this auction went through an intensive selection process that ensured that only top genetics were put up for sale. The selection process was coordinated through Waldo Scheepers and his Breed Improvement Committee. Bidding took place at the venue and buyers could register online with SwiftVee to bid from home. We would like to thank Vleissentraal, with Allan Sinclaire as auctioneer, for coordinating this event.

The bull sold for the highest price was R150 000. There were two bulls sold at this price by Stella Wagyu and Beyond Beef, the purchasers were RC van Tonder and Trifill Wagyu. The average price for bulls sold at the auction was R86 000. The heifer sold for the highest  price was R120 000 (pregnant heifer). The heifers were sold by Absolute Wagyu and Rising Sun, the purchasers were Fredericksburg Wagyu and Ebuhlanti Breeders. The average price for a heifer was R30 000 (open heifer) and R81 667 (pregnant heifer). The cow sold for the highest price was R70 000. The cow was sold by Beyond Beef and the purchaser was M van Dyk. The average price for a cow was R40 000. The highest embryo lot was R65 000. The lot was sold by Absolute Wagyu and the purchaser was Greyling Broers Trust. The average embryo lot was R7 615. The highest semen lot was for R5 500. The lot was sold buy Kentucky Wagyu Stud and purchased by Glen Walton Wagyu. The average semen lot was R2 673. Congratulations to the buyers and sellers.

WAGYU REMEMBERS DR MICHAEL BRADFIELD – FIRST CEO OF THE WAGYU SOCIETY

During our recent Wagyu Conference, a special tribute was made to the late Dr Michael Bradfield, first CEO of the Wagyu Society of South Africa. Attendees were invited to light a candle on behalf of his family. This tribute reflected on the life that was lived and the contributions that Michael made not only to Wagyu but to the wider Southern African red meat industry. During the last World Wagyu Council where South Africa currently holds the position of Secretariate, Michael was awarded the first World Wagyu Council’s Honorary Ambassador Award. The award was given to Michael for his contribution to Wagyu on an international scale, showing the true visionary that he was. The award was handed to his wife, Elmarie Bradfield at his memorial service held on 17 January 2022.

As was Michael’s way we also looked toward the future and the vision that he left he behind. It is this vision, where it is profitable for a farmer to work with Beef cattle, that we will continue to pursue. The framed picture of Michael will be displayed in the Wagyu office. It will remind us of the legacy that he left, while we continue to build on the foundation already laid down.

View the tribute video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_V-jliOwVo&list=PLzco9_aqaMD83r6hwPh055auMEEguwgVO&index=5

WAGYU SUPPLIER DATABASE UP AND RUNNING

After a lot of effort during 2021 we were finally able to launch our upgraded website. Even though the website had a new look and feel to it we still had some work to do to make a tool which could be used by every site visitor to find all relevant information with regards to Wagyu.

Therefore, during the second half of last year we started building a Wagyu supplier database. We are excited to announce that the database is now up and running and all registered CWB Wagyu suppliers can easily be found on our website. New buyers of Wagyu, whether livestock or Wagyu product, have an easy to access database with contact details to find their ideal Wagyu supplier.

To view the Wagyu supplier database, you can follow this link https://wagyu.org.za/suppliers/. With this database we can easily direct potential customers to reputable Wagyu Suppliers at the click of a button. We would like to thank everyone involved for all the hard work that went in to putting this database together.