Part two of the heifer program (or “why in the world do we breed to Wagyu bulls?”)
Well that is a question we don’t hear enough. Most people just assume we are crazy and don’t ask. So here’s the story:
We want to bring in genes that will make the cattleman more money at the sale and the packing plant. If your cattle have the reputation of placing high on the grid at the packing plant, professional buyers will pay you a premium. If you slaughter your animals and they capture premiums on the grid, you make more money. More money is good.
When searching for the carcass merits we first looked to Angus. There are lines that have great carcass merit. Trouble is, most of our clients raise Angus and you would lose the hybrid vigor that is so necessary for success. So we looked at the Wagyu (have you heard of Kobe beef), famous the world over for marbling and tenderness. Without much question, they are at the top of the heap as a breed to bring tenderness and marbling to the table (literally). Then you look at the pros and cons of the breed.
Pros: Carcass merit, GREAT CALVING EASE, Black Gene.
Cons: Phenotype (especially rear quarter), lack feed efficiency, lack milk, lack of efficiency, low mothering traits.
At first glance that seems like a lot to overcome. Well those cons of the Wagyu are the strengths of the Braunvieh. Our Braunvieh have great rear quarters, lots of milk and are extremely feed efficient. Then you add in the calving ease, especially with heifers and it is a genetic match. The proof is in the puddin and as these pictures illustrate, they are good looking animals. Ones that do not make the breeding grade make wonderful grass fed and corn finished animals. YUM!
13W , a year old halfblood Wagyu, was DNA tested at Pfiser. She was in the top 20 percent of our breed tested in feed efficiency, top 1 percent in marbling and top 13 percent in tenderness!