Better breeds for meat (question)

11 years 6 months ago #33156 by robbie88
For the past few seasons we have introduced Hereford straws to the original black white faced cows that result in lovely 3/4 Herford calves. We have also bought in Murray Grey X, Simental X and full Fresian calves for rearing and in the course of time have sampled most of the meat.

Obviously the best cuts of steak such as eye fillet will far outweigh others in terms of tenderness and juiciness and other cuts are best suited for slow cooking. To be honest I am no connoisseur and firmly believe that a bad cook can make a hash of even the best meat.

My next interest is to expand our experience with other breeds and am wondering who else has dabbled in this fashion.

I looked on LIC and see they have Wagyu but to the best of my knowledge this is a generic term for Japanese cattle. Have others here on LSB tried to introduce Wagyu to their list and have you noticed any change with meat quality.

The true Kobe beef requires grain fed cattle at no stress and lots of pampering (massaging) to the animals. Will I have much success by introducing one the Japanese breeds to the herd and running them in the normal grass-fed regime.

Any interest out there.


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

11 years 6 months ago #440812 by Sue
If you are really keen to compare beef breeds you are proabably better to try the 'pure' form, rather than a watered down version of various beef breeds crossed across dairy breeds!

Waygu is certainly a breed of cattle originating in Japan, but unless you are prepared to pay the price, once again all you would get, by using their semen over a cross bred or dairy/beef cross, is an average sort of beef and you would not get the full benefit. I have seen some half and 3/4 bred Waygus and they really look fairly nondescript sort of beef animals, until you actually see the offspring which are grown in confined pens and fed fattening foods. Their meat can be grossly full of fat!

The genetic traits which control marbling, eye muscle size and tenderness are reasonably heritable, and over the years you can certainly select and breed for them, but it will be a long process, especially if you start of with a breed which was originally not selected for these traits-like dairy animals.

Even within a pure breed only certain animals would have the traits you were looking for, so unless you actually both DNA tested your stock and also had them ultra sound scanned for carcase composition you would not make any major progress by just selecting on outward appearance and perhaps a taste test in the freezer once per year. :D

I am writing from the experience of having bred purebred beef cattle for over 30 years. We originally selected on eye appeal as well as looking for calm temperament, easy calving, maternal atributes of being able to rear and wean a good weight calf, and also performance record them by weighing at birth and key points along the way to guage growth traits.

We have shown cattle as well as entering the Steak of Origin beef contest a number of occaisions. More recently we began DNA testing and looking for the animals with the best genetic makeup for marbling, tenderness and feed efficiency-and discovered some families were far better than others.

The last 3 years has seen us also ultrasound scan our 2 year olds for fat depth over the back, size of the eye muscle (fillet steak) and intramuscular fat(marbling) and once again-you would never pick the best animal looking at it from the outside, these are heritable to a certain extent as well!

One thing we did discover is that one cow has produced the 2 yr old with the biggest eye muscle (fillet) for 3 years running and all by different sires -so identifying what you already have is probably a good start!

I know different breeds have different attributes-some grow bigger, later whilst others mature younger and fatten earlier. Some are leaner, others marble better-but at the end of the day-the beef industry pays on weight not quality of beef-so it is a very personal theing to want to develop the very best beef you can-who knows it might be worth more some day-if only is was easy to market such succulence at a premium!

So yes, we are looking for better beef too, but within a breed rather than shopping around, especially if you are planning to breed it yourself!

Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

11 years 6 months ago #440874 by LongRidge
I understand that grass-fed Wagyu is becoming highly sought-after in Japan.
As well as Sue's considerations, you also have to consider the attributes you want in your cattle.
Highland make good meat by eating heather, but your Wagyu might not.
Dexters (purebred, that look like little Angus) meat is fantastic.
Jersey has an interesting and somewhat distinctive flavour. If you like it then it is wonderful.
Charolais and some of the other European breeds, apparently, have lots of bulk but the meat is average.
With our homekill, the food that the animal eats, it's age, the time of year that it is killed, and the hanging conditions are all very significant factors which we cannot control but which make a huge difference to the meat. Thus the breed is only one of many factors in good meat.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

11 years 6 months ago #440949 by igor
A vote for Highlander here. The steers we had were only half but they looked the part and tasted good. Their meat had fat marbled through it and came out moist and delicious, especially the one we killed as an R4. We got them as eight month old calves from a dairy farm where the people ran a Highlander bull with the tailend cows after AI was finished. Not sure if the mothers were Ayrshire or Fresian. We got the first two calves that would jump onto the trailer as the truck loading ramp at the yards was too high to be of any use.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

11 years 6 months ago #441054 by bevhawkins
Highlands have excellent meat and very healthy too:)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.118 seconds