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Economic Traits - Why Breed Wagyu

The important economic traits of the Wagyu breed are the direct results of selection pressure brought on by the Japanese grading system and the high premiums paid for the highest quality meat. The quality factors selected for under their system include:

  • Why breed WagyuMeat Yield: North American animals are averaged so the yield of an individual is not considered. With Video Image Analysis a reality, it is possible to reward individuals who produce high yielding animals. Wagyu cattle produce high yielding carcasses.
  • Beef Marbling: The Canadian grading system was changed in 1992 to identify higher marbling carcasses. Ultrasound will identify the high marbling strains of all breeds for reproduction of them. In the meantime, Wagyu has a big lead.
  • Meat Color and Brightness: Bright red meat will attract the attention of consumers. Wagyu cattle have been selected for this trait for many generations.
  • Meat Firmness and Texture: This is one of the most important economic traits for which Wagyu beef has been selected.
  • Fat Color, Luster and Quality: Appearance of meat in the display counter can affect the decision to buy. Texas A&M Research indicated that Wagyu beef produces more of the good fatty acids than other breeds.

Beef Production

If the Wagyu breed is to succeed in North America, the cattle must thrive under North American production systems and climate. North American production systems do not allow for pampering of beef cattle as in Japan.

  • Canadian Wagyu beef productionBulls: The bulls are generally gentle and easily handled. However, in breeding pastures they have been found to be aggressive and to be effective in covering a large number of cows.
  • Cows: The North American cow herd has steadily increased in average weight in the past 20 years. Many production systems do not permit the extra feeding and management needed by these large cows to produce a calf, cycle promptly and settle quickly. Smaller cows have an advantage over big cows.
  • Calves: The calves average 70 pounds when born. They are vigorous and have an intense desire to live. There is documented proof available that these calves can adapt to North American weather and production systems.
  • Market Animals: Most animals fed to slaughter in North America have been halfbloods. They yield and grade well. Wagyu crossbreds have good daily gain and conversion rates.

A breed must thrive on North American ranches and farms if it to be a success. Wagyu breeders can attest to the vigor and survivability of the Wagyu breed in Western Canadian production systems.