Industry/Wagyu Sectors

The Wagyu industry is a global system with the increasing global demand for a premium marbled beef product driving the Wagyu industry. Strong and well established Wagyu industries can be found in Japan, USA, and Australia. Emerging Wagyu sectors include Europe, South Africa, and China. The greater Wagyu Industry can be broken down into 5 sectors: Breeding, Backgrounding, Feedlotting, Carcass Sales, and Retail Beef Sales. Some businesses span multiple sectors and others focus on a specific aspect.

Breeding Fullblood, Purebred, Crossbred, Commercial

The breeding sector forms the foundation of the Wagyu supply chain. This sector focuses primarily on the cow-calf operation. They are responsible for managing genetics, breeding, and rearing through the weaning stage. Well-managed programs utilizing the correct genetics for their end goals are key to the success of the rest of the supply chain.


The backgrounding stage takes weaned animals and continues to take them to feedlot entry weight. This is a critical stage for Wagyu. Wagyu need to be kept on a rising plane of nutrition to optimize marbling gain along with skeletal and structural growth. Nutrition and management are essential during this well-known marbling window in cattle.


The feedlotting sector is responsible for the growing and finishing phases of production. Traditionally animals enter the feedlot anywhere from 550-750 lbs. live weight. Wagyu are typically fed to 1,500+ lbs. live weight. Ration and nutrition balancing along with consistency are key factors in the success of this stage in Wagyu production. There are many facilities options ranging from tradition small scale Japanese styles to large commercial lots, however cattle comfort is of upmost importance to all producers.

Carcass Sales

The carcass sales sector has a variety of different strategies depending on the location and market being targeted. Regular whole carcass auctions are a staple of the Japanese Wagyu industry. Branded and boxed beef companies have a large presence internationally, exporting product globally. Small farms/ranches and artesian butchers also have a growing presence in many countries such as the USA. This sector is often a part of either a branded/boxed beef line or a vertically integrated farm/ranch that spans multiple Wagyu sectors.

Beef Sales

The beef sales sector includes restaurants, grocery stores, butcher shops, farms stores, online storefronts, and more. This part of the industry is responsible for placing Wagyu beef with the consumer. Traditionally high-end restaurants have been the target market of much of the Wagyu industry. The increase in supply of wagyu globally and the advent of social media & online sales has expanded the horizons of this industry. Wagyu is now regularly sold in grocers, farmers markets, and online storefronts. The Beef sales sector is an ever evolving and expanding integral part of the Wagyu supply chain.