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Akaushi, Wagyu and Angus

April 16, 2019

Different parts of the world have different usages for Akaushi genetics. This is to be expected since production environments and markets dictate cattle breed usages...or at least it should guide the mission. History has shown commercial bull market demand is indicative of a breed association's continued growth and viability.

 

In some of the recent countries I have visited that utilize Black Wagyu genetics heavily the common response I get from breeders and/or breed association affiliates is Akaushi don't marble as well as Black Wagyu genetics. Those that believe this are either uninformed and speculating or not truthful. If you have ever fed Akaushi terminal cattle you know this is simply not true at 24 months or less at harvest age regardless of percent of Wagyu influence. I view this as an opportunity to educate others on what many of us Akaushi breeders have seen regarding marbling for many years and thousands of carcasses analyzed.

 

To think that Akaushi will take you backwards with marbling is simply ridiculous. Many commercial producers are leaving money on the table by not utilizing the maternal and marbling boost with Akaushi to their base cow in Black Wagyu terminal system (e.g., Australia). In the states, commercial producers can find themselves in a tightly wrapped commodity-based pricing system that could greatly benefit from premium marketing opportunities. 

 

Our family Wagyu operation, Myers-Cooper Cattle, has both Black Wagyu and Akaushi cattle because we recognize the need for both breeds worldwide. Rightfully so, both breeds have much usage depending on the producer and their markets. 

 

Maternal Comparisons:

An F1 Akaushi-Angus crossed cow is a highly productive female that expresses 100% direct and MATERNAL heterosis. In comparison to straightbred Angus females, the F1 will bring forth additional fertility and genetic marbling ability. F1 Akaushi-Angus females should yield more production long term due to the boost in fertility and longevity from 100% maternal heterosis (i.e., more live calves across more years from crossbred females). She will probably be polled (scurred), black in color and moderate in mature size. Below is a picture of young 4 year old F1 Akaushi-Angus females carrying their second calves at HeartBrand Ranch in Texas. The calves would be backcross 3/4 blood Akaushi.

 

Terminal Comparisons:

For this I will compare terminal progeny from the matings of (1) F1 Black Wagyu-Angus, which is very common in Australia, versus (2) F1 Black Wagyu x Akaushi-Angus. Both breeding combinations are considered F1's by most Animal Geneticists due to no overlapping of breeds in the crosses even though (2) involves three breeds. Both sets of calves are sired by Black Wagyu bulls and will have 100% direct heterosis providing benefits of hardiness, vigor and growth above the mid-parent average of the breeds involved. The terminal calves will be carrying 25% more Wagyu genetics (75% vs. 50%). Therefore one could speculate an increase of high range BMS marbling scores and earlier onset of intramuscular fat deposits in shorter fed situations. I know through personal communication that some of largest of Wagyu beef companies in Australia and the US have starting utilizing both Black Wagyu and Akaushi crosses in their branded beef programs. The increased overall efficiency and product volume need in growing domestic consumer sectors was (is) their justification to invest into Akaushi genetics.

 

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