Breeders eye big dollars in Wagyu beef
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:16p.m.
Two Hawke's Bay beef companies will spend $23.7 million over the next seven years developing a New Zealand equivalent of Japan's famed Wagyu beef, and they want dairy farmers to come to the table.
The Government announced today it would be contributing $11m to the programme, run by Brownrigg Agriculture and Firstlight Foods.
The two companies already have a Wagyu beef programme and the government funding, via the Primary Growth Partnership, will allow them to extend it to what they say is a largely untapped dairy industry.
Their programme uses Wagyu genetics to produce a meat comparable to the Japanese product, famed for its fat marbling characteristics, and also being grain, beer and sake-fed. It is also famed for being very expensive, reportedly costing up to $62 for a 100g steak.
While the NZ animals are entirely grass-fed they still produce a marbled meat that producers in other countries can attain through feedlots, they say.
Firstlight Food's Gerard Hickey told NZ Newswire there was a swing in US and northern European markets towards New Zealand's year-round forte of natural and grass-fed production.
Breeding their Wagyu bulls with Angus cows and dairy cows produced a "half-breed" Wagyu which would reach the same standard as the top US beef.
The programme could help dairy farmers add value to their calves, and might appeal to those that want to make better use of them.
Brownrigg's David Brownrigg said both beef and dairy farmers could lift the quality and value of their calves and finished cattle.
Dairy calves were an underutilised resource, he said.
"Brownrigg's Wagyu crossed with 'Kiwi' dairy cows and Angus beef cows will produce outstanding beef and help us lift our game in international markets."
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16/07/2012 9:41:21 p.m.
Its a shame that the end product being produced is either purebred or crossbred Wagyu,and not full blood wagyu.
To be producing a Wagyu/Angus or Wagyu Dairy cows is a further bastardization of the Wagyu beef name.
If a government is being involved why not be involved with top genetics not
cross bred Wagyu.
Why breed sub standard Wagyu compared to full blood Wagyu.
I understand the marbling is lower for grass fed Wagyu but selling a second string product to the world is not the NZ way.
Get your act together NZ.
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