Washington State University Wagyus

Dam with herd in background
14 year-old Wagyu dam with herd

Dam with calf
16 year-old dam with calf

With the WSU beef cow/calf production system, we treat Wagyu, Angus and crossbred cattle the same. This allows for the best cows of any breed type to rise to the top and illustrate a breed’s potential under common environmental pressures. The two dams highlighted in the photos are two of WSU’s best cows and both are fullblood Wagyus currently in production. One is almost 14 and the other is 16. We expect our beef cattle to winter graze in steep, inaccessible river breaks terrain, pasture calve with little oversight, and breed up again without trouble. Such pressure results in a herd that is low maintenance, trouble free and lasting. To put it another way, the design of the WSU production system reduces costs and promotes health.

The bulls listed for sale are products of this system.

We develop all bulls slowly on a high-forage ration, one that ensures sensible growth and sound structure that lends to a customer confidence that a WSU bull will thrive if given simple, adequate nutrition and care once he arrives to his new home. Also, this type of development gives the WSU staff time to experience their behavior. We castrate or harvest any bulls that display a disappointment, be it a high birth weight, little growth, lack of docility, a structural problem, or a fertility issue. All WSU bulls go through a breeding-soundness exam by 15 months old. They never see a foot trim, or a haircut. We do dehorn.

10 year-old Wagyu bull purchased from WSU in 2014

These bulls are designed to work anywhere, meanwhile being easygoing and fertile. Past customers of WSU Wagyu bulls report using their bulls many breeding seasons beyond what is traditionally expected out of a beef bull. David Schuerman ranches near Colville, WA, and the purebred Wagyu bull he bought from WSU in 2014 is still breeding his heifers. That bull will be 11 soon. (See picture taken January 31, 2023.)

Please be aware that WSU Wagyu cattle are sometimes carriers of genetic defects; any defect is noted in each animal’s details. Commercial cattle folks wanting to create F1s need not worry about defect carriers when crossbreeding with a terminal purpose. All bulls in this offering are parent-verified that have recently passed BSEs and proved free of Trichomoniasis. They are also vaccinated for the breeding season ahead.

Of course, fertility and longevity are only part of what folks seek in beef cattle, especially when buying Wagyu genetics.

What about the beef?

WSU also sells beef direct to customers. This part of our business model helps greatly in our selection and culling.

We routinely harvest purebred and fullblood Wagyu cattle at around 2 years old, and often harvest percentage Wagyus, ranging from 50% to 75%, at around 18 months of age.

Like the WSU cow/calf system, the feeding system is designed with simplicity and practicality in mind. Our feeder rations usually consist of beef-cattle-quality chopped hay and steam-rolled corn. The feeders see one meal a day, drink clean water, and have a place to loaf and get out of the weather. We practice simple cattle care with basic facilities and equipment. We strive to keep the cattle comfortable and in good nutrition, and our costs low.

The pictures of rib-eye areas featured are representative of what you can expect from the progeny of WSU Wagyu bulls, assuming similar nutrition, care, and age at harvest.

WSU G75—heifer, 1/2 Wagyu
Harvested at 17 months
1220 pounds live; 769-pound HCW
WSU J90—steer, 5/8 Wagyu
Harvested at 18 months
1430 pounds live; 908-pound HCW
15-inch ribeye area
WSU C129—purebred steer
Harvested at 23 months
1388 pounds live; 850-pound HCW

What else makes the WSU cattle and beef production special?

The student involvement.

Undergraduate students, usually four to seven, depending on the season, are paid to work in the WSU beef operations. They have critical roles in every phase of the beef cattle production, including breeding, calving, weaning, backgrounding and finishing. They do health checks and help process the cattle, such as taking weights, vaccinating, dehorning and freeze branding. They help handle the cattle in corrals and in pastures. They learn proper methods in resource management, facility/infrastructure care and equipment operation. They do a lot of extras to make sure the beef cattle are comfortable and thriving.

Much of the money made by WSU beef cattle through live animal or beef sales, goes right into the students’ pockets. It is a simple, virtuous system. The students care for the beef cattle and the beef cattle production helps the students pay their bills. This reality gives the students a great incentive to do the right thing with the cattle. The message they hear is consistent: help the cattle thrive, but keep the costs under control. Basically, the better the cattle do and the lower the costs, the more potential there is for students to earn money in the beef operations.

Brent McCann 509 335 3777