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Wagyu Cattle

Wagyu Cattle 和牛

Wagyu cattle originate from Japan. In fact, the name Wagyu simply means Japanese beef. Now you may be thinking how can you have Wagyu in Kansas? Our operation has registered Black Wagyu cattle that can be traced back to Japan. The genetics of this breed of cattle is actually quite special.

 

How is Wagyu different than U.S. Beef?

 

The beef that most of us eat today in the U.S. comes mostly from European descent. Since its beginning in the U.S., it has evolved through selective breeding into a much different animal than what first stepped off the ships onto our shores many years ago. It is now a much better animal to supply beef to a growing population. It is hardier, and much more efficient at producing beef by growing quicker with less input cost. These are very good advancements both for the animal and for the people it feeds. Wagyu, on the other hand, has been selectively bred for different traits. In the mid-1900’s, Japanese breeders began selective breeding to increase marbling and tenderness. Where the U.S. had efficiency in mind, the Japanese cared more about the eating experience. Cattle in the U.S. can reach slaughter around 16 months, Wagyu reach slaughter 30 months or longer.  Because they live longer they eat more feed which is one reason Wagyu brings a higher price.

Health Benefits of Wagyu

 

Marbling, or intramuscular fat, is what gives Wagyu its melt in your mouth texture and rich buttery taste. This is a soft fat with a lower melting point than other breeds, due to the high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in Black Wagyu, (MUFA). This marbling in terms of flavor means really tasty, melt in your mouth literally.

 

The scientific study report “Meat Produced By Japanese Black Cattle and Wagyu“, published in Animal Sciences Publications, contains some very good information on Wagyu. If you are very interested in the scientific data about the type of fats found in our black wagyu go to Report HERE


In this report scroll down to page 49 to the section called 'Fatty Acid Composition of Current Japanese Black Beef' This would give you a better scientific explanation of the Black Wagyu which is what we have. Also, read the conclusion at the end.

 

If you don't want to take the time to read the report basically they found that these cattle are genetically inclined to turn saturated fat into monounsaturated fat, making it not only tasty but healthy. Research is still being done to understand why they do this. Overall this genetic inclination produces an incredible product.  

You can also check out the American Wagyu Association website HERE
and scroll down to the health benefits section 

How does it get so marbled and tender?

 

Wagyu is known for its melt in your mouth texture and amazing flavor. While the genetics of this breed are very important, how this animal is raised and fed is just as important. At Wiens Wagyu we focus on the nature (genetic makeup) and nurture (lifestyle) of our animals.

Nature

 

There is a very big diversity in Wagyu cattle when it comes to genetics. There are basically two types of Wagyu in the U.S., Red Wagyu (Akaushi) and Black Wagyu. The Akaushi were strongly influenced by Simmental and South Devon breeds and closely resemble modern American beef cattle. Black Wagyu are smaller and have less outside influence. Black Wagyu is typically higher marbling and this is where “Kobe” beef comes from. We follow the master breeder, Shogo Takeda, who began breeding Black Wagyu over 50 years ago and has developed a rotational breeding program based on the genetic makeup of bulls. In short, he rotates a bull with good growth and maternal traits followed by a bull with good carcass traits.  

 

We have selected our genetics so our customers can experience Wagyu like it would be in Japan.

Nurture

 

You can have the best genetics that Wagyu has to offer, but if that animal is not cared for and fed right the end product will not be good. We work closely with Dr. Horner, a Wagyu nutritionist, who knows this breed very well and knows how they need cared for to produce world class beef. He formulates specific rations for every stage of our cattles life and instructs us how to care for them.

 

He believes these are the five critical components essential to giving Wagyu calves the chance to express their potential.

 

 

 Colostrum
 

  • Rich in nutrients and antibodies, immune protection  

  • Must be ingested by calf first 12-24 hours  

  • Calf is inoculated with E. coli and other pathogens with onset of nursing

  •  Consider supplements for calves from first-calf heifers, which have lower-quality colostrum.  

  • Proper nutrition of the dam is critical including energy and protein, minerals (including potassium, selenium and zinc) and vitamins A and E

 

Calories  
 

  • Emphasize milk yield of dam through genetics and nutrition; cheapest source of nutrients  

  • High quality creep or starter feed as soon as possible to stimulate rumen 

  • Try to wean by 3-4 months and no later than 5 months  

  • Both creep feeding and early weaning = higher quality, heavier marbled carcasses  

  • Feed consumption is best criterion for weaning; probiotics help.  

  • Offer fresh, clean drinking water to calves  

  • Consider adding electrolytes to water in extreme conditions

 

Cleanliness

 

  • Clean, comfortable, dry conditions,  

  • Avoid calving in wet, muddy, or dirty areas  

  • Poor conditions at calving = sickness and death loss  

  • Proper sanitation of equipment, housing, hands, etc. Anything that touches the calf’s mouth.  

  • Fresh feed and water

Comfort  

 

  • Shelter from extreme weather  

  • Pest control  

  • Accessible feed and water  

  • Calves should always be restrained with minimal stress (chemical or mechanical)  

  • Stress impacts feed efficiency, growth, reproduction and carcass quality more than any other single factor

Consistency

 

  • Consistency of newborn protocols and daily management is of utmost importance  

  • Observe and feed at the same time everyday  

  • Managed by same person every day  

 

To read this full article about the 5Cs by Wes Ishmael titled "Gentle Pays" click here: Full Article