The story of Wagyu Beef
Wagyu is an ancient breed of beef cattle that has its origins in Japan. It is pronounced ‘wag-you’, where ‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow. They are medium sized, sturdy cattle with immaculate physical endurance and a great temperament.
Wagyu is a popular cut of beef around the world. The secret to its superior quality and unique taste lies in its higher levels of intra-muscular fat or “marbling” and the finer texture of the meat. This results in a more tender, flavoursome melt-in-your-mouth eating experience.
Wagyu is also proven to be very nutritious. Wagyu beef contains a higher amount of monounsaturated fats (good fats) and omega 3 and 6 than other beef. It also contains higher concentrations of essential fatty acids and has a higher percentage of good cholesterol when compared to other types of beef. Wagyu is also higher in conjugated linoleic acid, which is proven to bring major health benefits.
There are four breeds of Wagyu: Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu), Japanese Brown (Akage Washu or Akaushi), Japanese Polled (Mukaku Washu) and Japanese Shorthorn (Nihon Tankaku Washu).
The introduction of Wagyu Beef has forever changed the beef industry internationally and in South Africa. Currently in South Africa, there are a total of around 130 Wagyu Breeders with about 4 500 Wagyu cattle in total between them, of which 3 000 are breeding cows.
Morgan Beef is a proud Gold+ Sponsor of the Certified Wagyu Beef program. This program was developed by The Wagyu Society of South Africa to guarantee the integrity of the product and protect the investment of the Wagyu breeder in all sectors of the Wagyu supply chain. We continually implement systems to create more marketing opportunities for Wagyu breeders in South Africa in order to supply a premium beef product to the customer.
As part of Morgan Beef’s commitment to the sustainability of Wagyu in South Africa, a Wagyu Custom Feed proposal was presented to current and prospective Wagyu breeders in March 2019. The following two options are available:
- Morgan Beef Custom feeds certified Wagyu calves for Custom feed clients
- Morgan Beef Custom feeds certified Wagyu calves for Custom feed clients on a 50% gain/profit share with the client
For more information on Wagyu in South Africa, CLICK HERE.
Did you know?
Originally, Wagyu cattle was used as work animals by the Japanese, because of their sturdy nature and physical endurance. However, the breed has become so revered over the years that it was declared a national treasure by the Japanese Government in 1997 and all exports of the cattle to other countries were banned.
In the early to mid-1990’s, just before the ban of Wagyu cattle exports to other countries, Australia sourced their first Wagyu embryos and live cattle from the United States. Since then, Australian Wagyu breeders have grown their cattle numbers to such an extent that Australia produces the most Wagyu cattle outside of Japan.
Research has shown that the fat in Wagyu beef has a lower melting point than the temperature in the human body, giving you that melt-in-your-mouth taste.
There are existing myths that Wagyu cattle are being brought up and nurtured in cow day spas where they are massaged, fed gourmet food and drinks and even serenaded to produce a better quality beef. Some producers do have unique ways of raising their wagyu cattle, but the majority of Wagyu cattle are brought up according to strict rearing guidelines.
Wagyu cattle have a longer lifespan than other beef cattle, resulting in a more flavoursome cut of beef.
A Japanese grading system was developed in order to objectively judge the quality of Wagyu beef. This unique system uses a five-step process to evaluate the marbling, colour, firmness and texture, fat colour and shine of the meat.