THE WAGYU BREED
Rich in traditions of Japanese agriculture, Wagyu has long been a mystery worth pursuing. Japanese Wagyu cattle are fed on beer and massaged daily. This is a myth. However, they are sometimes brushed with a stiff brush to increase blood circulation and to relieve stress.
'Wagyu' refers to Japanese beef cattle: 'WA' meaning Japanese and 'GYU' meaning cow. These particular cattle have more intra-muscular fat cells known as marbling and were originally used in Japan as agriculture draft animals. Only Wagyu cattle with the finest proven genetics are kept for breeding, highlighting its superior value and have been declared a Japanese ‘national living treasure’.
Traditionally four main breeds are used for Wagyu production in Japan, Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn and Japanese Polled. Modern Wagyu is usually a cross between these native and imported breeds.
Wagyu is a unique breed with key attributes, exquisite marbled beef, high calving ease, excellent docile temperament, resilient to savannah free-range holding and high carcass yield in dressing percentage.
“Tender, extremely juicy, rich textures with plenty of flavor, and pleasant lasting taste on the palate. Extraordinary beef.”
Judges’ comments, Australian Wagyu Association – Branded Beef Competition.
Wagyu cattle produce a finely marbled meat with a rich, buttery flavor and remarkable tenderness.
Wagyu is not only mouth-watering delicious it is also proven to be good for you.
Compared to other beef, Wagyu Beef has a higher percentage of monounsaturated fat and low cholesterol (stearic acid) content with a ration of 2:1 to saturated fats, making it the healthiest beef available. Highly marbled beef not only has a different flavor profile, but also genetically contains higher levels of valuable omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids (conjugated linoleic acid) have highly anti carcinogenic and anti inflammatory properties and are known to aid in protection against high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer's and arthritis.
The Japan Meat Grading Association gives each piece of Wagyu meat a yield based score (A-C) and marbling level, firmness, color and overall quality (1-5), with A5 being the highest possible mark. The Namibian Wagyu Society uses a similar grading system, which is based on the Japanese system. The well known Kobe beef, one of the most highly prized meats, is a type of Wagyu from the Tajima breed and can only be raised in the Hyogo province of Japan.
In Namibia, agricultural farming with about 4000 commercial farms contributes ±5% of the national Gross Domestic Product.
The vast dry savanna land with low-average rainfall and high mineral soil content results in a healthy, free-range natural grazing. This enables Namibia to produce world class, organic Wagyu beef.
Adding value to Namibian beef with fullblood Wagyu or cross breeding with proven and established local breeds starts on the open pastures, where farmers rear free-range cattle using natural methods. Free roaming cattle are raised according to strict animal welfare principles on veld for the majority of their lives and no growth hormones or routine antibiotics are allowed to be used.