The story of Wagyu Beef
Wagyu is an ancient breed of beef cattle that has its origins in Japan. It is pronounced ‘wag-you’ and literally means “Japanese cow”. They are medium sized, robust cattle with impeccable physical endurance and a great temperament.
Wagyu beef is popular around the world because of its superior quality compared to other breeds of cattle. The secret to its unique taste lies in its higher levels of intra-muscular fat or “marbling” and the finer texture of the meat, resulting in a more flavoursome melt-in-your-mouth eating experience.
But Wagyu is not only mouth-wateringly delicious – it’s proven to be nutritious as well. 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 Polled (Mukaku Washu), Japanese Brown (Akage Washu or Akaushi) 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, the Japanese used Wagyu cattle as work animals, because of their robust stature and physical endurance. Over the years, the breed has become revered to the point that in 1997 the Japanese Government declared it as a national treasure and banned exports of the cattle to other countries. However, some embryos and live cattle had already been exported from Japan to the US from where Australia sourced their first wagyu genetics in the early to mid-1990’s. Since then, Australian producers have now grown their cattle numbers significantly to the extent that Australia produces the most wagyu cattle outside of Japan.
The fat in Wagyu has a melting point lower than the human body temperature – making it melt in your mouth.
There are existing myths that Wagyu cattle are being reared in veritable cow day spas, fed gourmet food and drinks, massaged and even serenaded to produce better beef. While some producers do have unique ways of raising their wagyu, most are produced according to strict rearing guidelines.
Wagyu cattle have a longer lifespan than other beef cattle, which also significantly improves the flavour of the beef.
A unique Japanese grading system was developed as a basis to objectively judge the quality of Wagyu beef. The grading of meat quality is a five-step process that evaluates marbling, the colour of meat, firmness and texture, fat colour, and shine of the meat.