Red Wagyu genetics will be injected into the Australian Agricultural Co's large northern composite cattle breeding programs in an effort to lift fertility and build on meat quality performance, the compnay has confirmed.
Chief operating officer Troy Setter outlined the plans to Beef Central while discussing feed conversion testing work, outlined in this morning's companion story, "AA Co pushes into new era of cattle selection for feed conversion."
The intention is not to claim any Wagyu crossbred ‘identity’ in brands carrying the resultant beef from the composite program, but simply to lift fertility and deliver higher meat quality performance.
Some of those early bulls will be ready for joining in composite herds this year, but most will go out the following year, Mr Setter said, while attending the Australian Wagyu Association's annual conference in Geelong on Saturday.
The company has selected Red Wagyu over Black, because of their better muscling and frame score, while retaining high fertility and carcase traits.
“We really did it for the fertility component – the higher marbling performance is really a bonus,” Mr Setter said. “There are some pretty exciting fertility lines among the Red Wagyu.”
Over time, those Red Wagyu genetics could represent 25pc of AA Co’s ‘softer’ Barkly composite cattle (currently Senepol, Charolais, Santa Gertrudis, Bonsmara-based), but at this point at least will not be incorporated into the second, more tropically-adapted Gulf composite cattle (higher Indicus).
As part of the composite development, AA Co supplied Red Wagyu semen to a heavily performance-recorded Red Brahman herd in Central Queensland, which has produced the crossbreds that will find their way as ‘building blocks’ into the AA Co composite program.
Another large, prominent northern Wagyu breeder, Peter Hughes, has for some years predicted the greater adoption of a splash of Wagyu genetics in composite breeding programs, for both meat quality and fertility reasons.
Clear marbling and fertility trait links were demonstrated in earlier Beef CRC work, where females with the ability to carry more intramuscular fat are also those with higher fertility potential, earlier puberty etc.