About Bar R
Jerry and Heidi Reeves started converting their small commercial cattle herd into a Wagyu herd in 1990. The past three decades have been dedicated to advancing the American Wagyu breed. Bar R Cattle Company registered our first percentage Wagyu heifer in 1990 and maintains membership number 20 in the American Wagyu Association; the oldest continually active member in the Association.
BR2 Wagyu Genetics LLC. is a family owned and operated company established in 2004 from a partnership between two ranches: Bar R Cattle Company and Blue Rock Cattle Company, both from the state of Washington. Blue Rock Cattle Company sold their interest in BR2 Wagyu Genetics to Bar R Cattle Company. BR2 Wagyu Genetics LLC. is the marketing arm for semen and embryos produced by Bar R Cattle Company.
Located in the Palouse region of Eastern Washington, we winter cattle on family land in the breaks of the Snake River and lease land in the Idaho Mountains for summer pasture. We grow and produce our own alfalfa hay during the summer in order to feed our cattle through the winter.
We believe in selective breeding based on data. We evaluate sires from progeny carcass data by leasing bulls to large commercial Angus ranches who use the bulls to breed their heifers. The resulting calves comprise a contemporary group and are followed through to slaughter with carcass data collected. This has allowed us to select elite sires with proven superior carcass genetics. We use a reference sire in each contemporary group so a connectivity between groups can be used in calculating Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) by the National Wagyu Sire Summary. We have 60-80 bulls on lease each year and from these we select those that produce progeny with the highest quality carcasses.
For the last eight years we have also been evaluating all young sires and select groups of heifers for residual feed intake (RFI) and average daily gain (ADG) using a Grow Safe system at Snyder Livestock in Yerington, Nevada. We believe that RFI may be the best way to evaluate efficiency of cattle and we are committed to not only select for carcass quality, but also performance through increasing efficiency in our sires. We are one of few Wagyu breeders that evaluate sires so extensively.
When genetic defects were able to be determined by DNA technology, we were able to eliminate sires with these defects and replace them with sons that were free of the defects. We only sell semen on sires free of the genetic defects that can be tested at this time.
Dr. Jerry Reeves
Dr. Jerry Reeves is a professor emeritus in the Animal Sciences Department at Washington State University, retiring after 37 years. In 1988, he was a member of a team with Dr. Raymond Wright and Dr. Raymond Jussaume that went to Japan to evaluate the potential of Wagyu cattle. The team's objective was to determine what the Japanese consumer wanted in beef that could be exported from the USA into Japan. The State of Washington funded this project to develop a meat export market from Washington to Japan. The quotas on meat into Japan were to be lifted in 1991 so the state of Washington was trying to strategically position themselves to be ahead of the Midwest packing industry.
We found a breed of cattle they were not familiar with - this delightful and amazing carcass breed called the Wagyu. The Japanese consumer was accustomed to and wanted this very high-marbled beef which we as Americans were not familiar with. Our recommendations were to try and produce the highly marbled meat they were accustomed to by importing the Wagyu genetics into the US and crossing the Wagyu with existing cattle in the US. This started the importations of the cattle first into the State of Washington and then into other areas of the US.