Expanding Our Capabilities: Byer Koi Farm's Successful Trip to Niigata, Japan to Double Our Brood Stock and Expand Our Range of Varieties

At Byer Koi Farm, we're always on the lookout for opportunities to improve. That's why I recently took a trip to Niigata, Japan, to explore new ways of expanding our capabilities and breeding high quality koi for our customers to enjoy.

I'm thrilled to say that the trip was a huge success! I was able to make some fantastic new connections with some of the best breeders in the industry, and I acquired an incredible range of new koi that will help us grow our brood stock numbers to something like double what we had before, and also the range of varieties too.

One of the highlights of my trip was the acquisition of new Beni Kikokuryu, breeder-selected Kikusui, and brood stock from three renowned Goshiki breeders. The Goshiki brood stock was a particularly exciting purchase, as it's known to be a difficult variety to produce.  We've done it before with Kohaku which is also tricky to breed, so I'm up for this new challenge too!

Some of the koi we purchased were sansai and older to give us the best chance of successful breedings in the new varieties this year.  One of the varieties we invested in with those slightly more mature fish is Goshiki.

A trip highlight was meeting Kanno, a renowned koi breeder, who chose a special Kanno Goshiki sansai female for us to start our own breeding line. This was a significant investment, but with Kanno's support and advice on the male pairing, we are confident our chances of success are significantly improved. This female koi was specifically selected for breeding, not just for sales or show purposes.

Here's Kanno bringing her to the surface:

Kanno catching a 3 step sansai Goshiki that he has offered us at Adam Byer Koi Farm as a good koi to start out new Goshiki breeding line from.

To give you the full picture on Goshiki, we also have a sansai breeding set from Ikarashi Ozumi, another sansai male from the same breeder that it turned out they were hoping to use next summer themselves.

At Ikarashi Ozumi koi farm in Japan, netting up koi to review with the breeder

At Ikarashi Ozumi koi farm in Japan, netting up koi to review with the breeder

Also,  a nisai set from Hiroi, and in Gin Rin Goshiki, a nisai Hiroi set plus a very special sansai male from Ikarashi Ozumi.

At Hiroi Koi Farm , having pulled out a range of koi from their nisai tanks, we spent time evaluating each one before choosing which to purchase.  The picture shows Adam looking over several bowls of koi, lined up in a straight line; insight a fish glass house.

At Hiroi Koi Farm , having pulled out a range of koi from their nisai tanks, we spent time evaluating each one before choosing which to purchase

A highlight at Kanno was the chance to talk to show him our own koi farm and koi, including an 80cm kohaku bred from our Sharkey line. When he first looked at that koi, he thought it was bred by a Japanese breeder.  He was pleasantly surprised to hear that we’d bred it and appreciated the quality of our breeding. We talked about the breeding lines I used to create this koi, and some detail about the ratios in the output and selections. And, like with several other similar conversations with other big name koi farmers in Niigata, much advice was provided. I was reassured as much of the advice was confirmatory and we also received some really useful new tips as well that we will employ this year. We also learned about how he created the famous Kanno Goshiki line, and that threw up some ideas for us too.  Those conversations, and being able to share our koi farming experiences with other far more experienced koi farmers has solidified our status as first-generation koi farmers.

Understanding how many generations of koi farmers there have been at a koi farm seemed to be a key metric for the breeders.  They would talk in terms of how many generations there had been at their farm.  Many of the farms go way back over several generations, but I did meet another first generation koi farmer too called Satoshi Tanaka. Breeder of amazing Kin Showa! That was a wonderful visit, and he has enormous enthusiasm for Kin Showa and I have to admit it was infectious!

When I visited Japan in 2015, I went to gain inspiration and I set up Byer Koi Farm breeding koi the Japanese way from Japanese koi. (see a preview of the 2023 trip, and summaries and links to the 8 blogs from the 2015 trip here: https://www.byerkoifarm.co.uk/blogs/blog/adam-byer-koi-farm-are-travelling-to-japan-to-purchase-new-koi-carp-brood-stock )

And now returning in 2023, I am reassured with the koi farm we've created, and that it is in line with the Japanese koi farming approach and I feel even more energised as a result.  We've made it onto the first step, and now we need to increase in size again to get us onto the next step where we generate our own lines in some varieties.  You'll know from previous blog posts that the bottom up patterned Doitsu Ochiba's are our first attempt at this, and I had allowed at least 5 years plus for the project.  Talking to Koshiji about how he built his Metallic Doitsu Ochiba line, he said it took him 10 years.  So, good thing we've already made a start!  Actually, that conversation with Koshiji was another brilliant one; talking through his line and how he created it whilst he showed us examples from his tategoi tosai was a special and valuable moment.  And he provided useful feedback on the Doitsu Ochiba that we've bred with the bottom up patterns, and the line we are developing too.

Another piece in the overall plan for expansion and taking that next step as a koi farm involves bringing in more help; and we've done that with our first employee starting in early March.  Detail on that to follow when he starts, but a heads up that as well as bringing in all the new breeding koi, we are also staffing up to be able to deliver the increased volume and quality koi for our customers.

This trip was truly a game-changer for Byer Koi Farm. We're now poised for higher production volumes and able to offer our customers even more of the amazing koi varieties they love. I can't wait to share our new koi with you!