A QUEENSLAND Wagyu producer is opting away from the traditional Angus-cross to pair with a renowned Shorthorn breeder in a bid to increase profitability.
Noticing the increase in feed costs and lower carcase prices, Edwards Livestock principal Matt Edwards realised the importance a correct genetic mix had on his Wagyu operation.
Adding to the fact leading restaurants are demanding a point of difference from the increasingly popular Wagyu product, Mr Edwards joined forces with Condamine Shorthorn breeder Spencer Morgan to produce a new F1 feeder product.
Mr Edwards said data suggested marbling of Shorthorn/Wagyu was very comparable with an Angus/Wagyu plus the additional advantage of an increased carcase weight.
“It appeared a really good fit for us because we have a really good data set on our Wagyu genetics and we know that Morgans have a really good data set on their Shorthorns,” he said.
“They have an unrivaled success rate in the Paddock to Palate where we have always noted their gains on feed and the ability of their cattle to match it with the Euro cross cattle in the comp for yield.
“At the same time, their steers are always at the forefront of the marbling and MSA scores.
“That, combined with the fact that we will be working with a smaller base of cows of, which the Morgans will ultimately have control over the genetic makeup, will only increase the carcass compliance rate which will drive the bottom dollar.”
The first cattle were put on feed earlier this year with both parties eagerly awaiting data from the first kill in April 2019.
Co-principal Godfrey Morgan said in the past year they had placed in the top 100 producers of MSA cattle in Queensland.
“Four of the five top indexing bulls in the PHA database with an IMF in the top one per cent have all been bred and are currently being used at The Grove,” he said.
“This is allowing us to breed a really fertile, high growth animal with plenty of IMF, which is ticking all the boxes for high end beef production.”
Strong genetic match
Edwards Livestock principal Matt Edwards has been involved in the live export of high-end quality animals for over 30 years with his family.
But, 2018 has shown a significant increase in input costs with a reduction in the end commodity price.
Genetics are what he believes can help their current challenges.
”It’s not just any Wagyu bull and any Angus cow that is going to give us the marble score and carcase weight we need to come out on the right side of the ledger,” he said.
“The difference between a marble score six and marble score three is huge at the end of the day and we simply cannot afford to have a low compliance rate in a program with high production costs.”
He said the Shorthorn breed always had the propensity to marble as well as any other breed, despite the colour of their hide.
Condamine Shorthorn breeder Spencer Morgan was happy to pair with the Edwards family on their new F1 program.
“We have always strived to breed beef that is suited to the quality end of the market and our challenge has always been to try and break down the negative correlation between quality and quantity,” he said.
“Genetics is always a juggling act where you generally have to give in some traits to gain in others.
“We have collected lots of data over the years, which when analysed through our PHA database, has allowed us to make some great genetic gains.”