TOKYO, June 6 — The Livestock Improvement Association of Japan announced on June 5 that Fukunohime, a Japanese black breeding bull kept by the association, died of acute heart failure on June 2 at the age of 10 years and 10 months.
Fukunohime has been known as a “super breeding bull” for its ability to produce calves with high growth performance and carcass yield.
His progenies have been the price setter at calf trading markets nationwide and achieved good results at national carcass contests.
The association says there are not enough semen stocks left to meet the current demand.
Fukunohime was born in Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture. His father is Yoshinokuni and his mother’s father is Katsutadahira.
Nearly 379,000 containers of his semen have been sold by the end of fiscal 2022 that ended in March, making him one of the top-class active breeding bulls in the country.
“He wasn’t showing any signs of illness and has been in good health until immediately before he died,” an official of the association said. “To be honest, he died too soon, but the only redeeming thing is that we have been selecting a good-quality bull to succeed him.”
News of the early death of a breeders’ favorite rattled the industry.
Iko Kawakami, a 62-year-old cattle breeding farmer of Otawara who raised Fukunohime, said, “I had been raising him, brushing him every day, hoping he would thrive as a breeding bull.”
“He was born thanks to Yoshinokuni, also from Tochigi, and fellow farmers. I wanted to him to stay well for years to come.”
Fukunohime’s progenies won the top prize two years in a row in the nation’s largest beef and carcass competition held in Tokyo.
With the sudden death of Fukunohime, which enjoyed overwhelming popularity nationwide, the power balance in the breeding bull market which had been mostly dominated by his genetics is likely to change.
An official of the industry in Hokkaido, where Fukunohime’s progenies marked the highest in terms of the number of breeding bulls traded in major markets in 2022, said, “The number of his progenies traded in the markets will not decline immediately, but (the death) will have an impact.”
“Selection of a next-generation ace candidate will accelerate from now on.”