Newsletter 2017 Des Australian visit Lessons learned

  • The importance of establishing a credible Certified Wagyu Beef program and raising sufficient funding to create a viable Wagyu business using a levee mechanism.
  • The move to a Single Step Breedplan genetic evaluation will transform the Australian Wagyu industry. Wagyu Australia has over 4000 fullblood genotypes with phenotypes. Current R&D projects are collecting a further 4,000 fullblood and 9,000 crossbred genotypes and phenotypes. Proposed new projects aim to collect at least an additional 14000 genotypes and carcass records. The numbers of genotypes taken on registered seedstock is expanding rapidly with some 10,000 genotypes in progress to replace the use of Microsatellite technology with SNP genotyping for parent verification and parent discovery, with those genotypes also to be used in Single Step BREEDPLAN analysis.
  • Need to implement the Allflex TST (or alternative) as soon as possible as an alternative to hair samples and to use it in the whole value chain.
  • Sign an agreement with a genetics company delivering SNP technology
    • Move away from Microsatellites to SNP’s
    • The 50K test should be used on all animals
  • Managing scours in calves by moving the pregnant cows away from the camp in which they are calving down (sand hills system).
  • Producers are also grading up to Purebreds and are also bringing the polled gene into their herds.
  • Come in as equal partners into any combined genetic evaluation with AWA and make a significant contribution with especially the feed efficiency data. Wagyu South Africa (WSA) must collect carcass data as a norm.
  • Only full-blood and purebred cattle are being included into the evaluation in the current evaluation.
  • The F2 Wagyu Bos Indicus crosses are ideal. The F1 probably has too much variation in marbling score (as is the case for Euro breeds such as Charolais and Limousin). o Short feed the F1 steers
  • Probably use red Wagyu (Akaushi) bulls across Bos Indicus and Euro breeds in South Africa, although black Wagyu will work well in our environments
  • We need to do our own research regarding producing the F1 cross with our indigenous breeds.
  • Breed a fullblood “ideal” cow from all the “Prefectures” that have growth, milk and marbling (Shimane and Kedaka) to develop a female herd with a balance of traits suitable for the South African grassfed breeding environment. Use Tajima based bulls over those females to maximise carcase quality, particularly marbling, in the slaughter progeny.
  • There is little genetic correlation between feed efficiency and marbling. This means that we should and can select for highly feed efficient bulls.
  • Urgently need to fix up our registered Wagyu database in South Africa in terms of Fullblood and Purebred animals, as well as including the equivalent AWA IDs’ and unknown parents.