The HW Angus herd forms part the Highland Wagyu enterprise at Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman’s Blackford Estate, Perthshire, with the herd founded in 2011 and with a vision of significant expansion. Currently the herd numbers more than 200 Black Angus and 30 Red Angus females with plans to expand to more than 600 breeding females.
Totaling 25,000 acres the Blackford Estate is also home to the couple’s extensive Wagyu herd the largest in the UK and the HW Beef Shorthorn herd, with the Wagyu herd being the couple’s initial venture in to beef production and a significant driver in the business today.
In 2014 the couple formed a revolutionary partnership with the McLaren family’s Netherton herd, buying the bulk of the Netherton herd and employing William McLaren Jnr as consultant to manage the Aberdeen-Angus herd.
Today the herd is firmly focused on producing top quality breeding cattle of moderate frame, easy fleshing and calving which can in turn produce top quality beef, much in line with the development of the couple’s Wagyu beef business,
To this end breeding goals include using sires noted for their marbling and beef quality, with genetics sourced from the best UK herds as well as from leading overseas breeders who have already focused on these traits.
As well as the Netherton cow herd, HW has in its expansion bought top females from Cardona, Rawburn and Jerusalem to form the backbone of the herd.
Bulls of significance currently being used are Rawburn DoubleOseven, Rawburn Boss M554, Netherton Kracker P790 and Netherton Freedom L642.
Junior herd sire Fordel Minnesota Prime P743 which was bough privately in 2016 is one of the highest marbling bulls in the breed.
The Red Angus herd is founded mainly on females from Windy Gowl and Netherton including the Red Essence family which is regarded as one of the top red lines in the UK and include Netherton Red Essence H483 who has produced more than £100,000 in progeny sales.
Both herds are run commercially with the cows mainly out wintered on the hills around the farm.
HW Angus has extensive ET programme with flushing taking place every five weeks to meet the demand for embryos and to fuel expansion.
The herd, through purchase of embryos, has the highest concentration of SAV genetics in the UK, with other purchases coming from Cudlobe and Miller Wilson Angus in Canada.
To date most sales have been off farm with significant numbers of cattle being exported to Mainland Europe. Bulls are sold throughout the UK and a first venture selling in Germany in 2016 saw HW Augustus R547 sell for the second highest price of €6500.
Though showing is not a top priority, the herd has historically shown successfully, including winning the heifer calf championship at the 2012 Winter National with Balhaldie Erica Faith M606 and calf champion at the Aberdeen-Angus junior championships in 2015 with HW Frances P827, with this calf also being heifer calf champion at the Summer National Show in the same year.
The ethos at HW is one of quality, respect and precision and this underpins everything done at the farm.