Drone successfully delivers fertilized Wagyu eggs within Hokkaido town

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A drone takes off carrying fertilized Wagyu eggs from a research facility in Kami-Shihoro, Hokkaido, on Friday.

SAPPORO — Delivery of unfrozen, fresh fertilized eggs of Wagyu cattle using a small unmanned drone has been tested in Kami-Shihoro, Hokkaido.

Next Delivery collaborated with the town to deliver the eggs by drone. The Yamanashi Prefecture-based company said that it was the first drone delivery of fertilized cow eggs in the world.

Surrogate births by implanting fertilized eggs from Wagyu cattle into dairy cows are taking place in many parts of the nation. These eggs are usually shipped overland by truck to the dairy cows.

In the experiment, canisters containing freshly fertilized Wagyu eggs were collected on Friday morning at a research facility of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh) in the town, boxed up and secured on a drone.

The drone took off, rose to a height of about 70 meters, and arrived at a ranch about 7.1 kilometers away in the same town. The journey took 13 minutes and the fertilized eggs were immediately implanted. If successful, the calves are due in May next year.

“Delivering such eggs using drones takes less time than ground transportation using trucks and there is less vibration,” said Keisuke Toji, representative director of Next Delivery. “Delivery costs will certainly become lower in the future due to factors such as economies of large scale.”