Wagyu beef is raised in Japan, and produces a very different meat than the American beef you buy at your local grocery store.
This type of meat is known as one of the best in the world, and it is extremely sought after. This is because of its extreme marbling, giving it a delicious and buttery texture and taste.
The exquisite taste of this meat is a result of how these cows are raised. Wagyu cattle are raised in an environment of pampering and luxury, to say the least.
They eat grasses and some hay as well as a special diet of soybeans, barley, wheat bran, corn, and other grains. The animals are fed a diet that is high in all kinds of nutrients, and farmers ensure to give them a humane lifestyle, full of relaxation and happiness.
Wagyu beef is raised for its meat, not its milk or leather. This means that the cows aren’t bred for their milk, but rather they are bred specifically for their meat.
The meat from these cows is extremely tender because it contains more fat than most other types of beef. It has a distinctive flavor that can be described as sweet, buttery, and nutty.
These cows are raised by specialty breeders until they reach around 10 months in age. Then, once they reach this age, they are sold to farmers.
Characteristics Of A Wagyu Cow
These cows are usually black or red in color, and their horns are a bright white, sometimes with black markings on the tips.
They usually weigh around 40 kg, and female cows are not known to have any issues with their fertility or giving birth. These kinds of cows are known to have a higher birth efficiency compared to other cows.
Female Wagyus are known for being extremely protective of their young, and they will feed their calves for an entire day before they return to their different sheds.
A calf will continue to stay by its mother’s side until it reaches around 12 months old. This is where they begin to withdraw, and live their own life.
These wonderful cows are known for their lovely temperament, which is believed to be a result of their good-quality breeding and upbringing.
Wagyu cows are brought up in a relaxed, happy, and pampered environment. This positive environment plays a big role in why the meat produced by them is of such high quality.
Cows that live in this kind of environment tend to produce healthier offspring. These calves are also born with better muscle tone and less fat than those that were born into an unhappy environment.
Wagyu cows are known for being quiet, peaceful, and happy animals. As mentioned earlier, they have a wonderful temperament as a result of their wonderful raising conditions.
They are also not known to have fights with one another, and they are not easily triggered by other animals (see also, ‘What is the National Animal of Japan?‘).
Despite this, farmers will ensure they are kept in a protected location.
How Are Wagyu Cows Raised?
Wagyu cows are raised in a specific way to ensure that they produce the highest quality meat possible. As Wagyu beef is known for its luxurious taste, these cows are equally given a pretty luxurious lifestyle.
These cows are given more pampering than other cows, and are raised in a stress-free environment. This is so they can produce the high-quality meat they are known for.
Farmers will spend around $30,000 for a Wagyu cow, so the cost for raising them is high, but it is definitely worth it.
Wagyu cattle have been eating a balanced diet since birth. Their mothers were fed a special diet of grain, soybeans, and other foods that are nutrient-dense during pregnancy. As they grow, they are fed this same diet along with extra vitamins, proteins, minerals, and occasionally vegetable oil. This is to soften their fat.
Wagyu cows are never given any growth hormones like some farmers do to regular cows. Their growth is completely natural and safe, and they are never given any substances that could lead to harm.
Farmers aim to give their Wagyu cows a life that is free from stress. This is because high-stress levels can lead to increased cortisol, and this can reduce meat quality.
Therefore, their living conditions are completely zen and stress-free. If farmers notice there are a few cows who do not get along, they will separate them to avoid any conflict. Noise levels are also monitored, so the cows do not get frightened.
Farmers will also ensure that cows are comfortable in their living quarters and will not cram them into small living spaces with many other cows. Their water is also replenished regularly.
When a cow is ready to give birth, it will distance itself from the others, so it can give birth on its own. Farmers who raise these cows are very mindful of this, and they will prepare a separate place with plenty of straw for when this happens.
Farmers will ensure that this birthing place is separated enough from the herd for the cow to have privacy, but close enough, so it can hear the noises from the rest of the herd. This calms them, making them feel at ease when giving birth.
They Are Encouraged To Bond
Farmers will encourage bonding between calves and their mothers, and they are encouraged to roam around outside and drink from their mother’s milk whenever they please.
They also encourage all cows to get plenty of exercise, which helps them develop strong muscles.
Another difference between these cows and regular cows, is that farmers will give them each a name, rather than a number. This is because farmers believe it gives each cow a sense of belonging, which increases their happiness.
Pampering Massage And Beer
Farmers who breed Wagyu cows will regularly give them a massage along with a nice brushing. This improves their blood circulation and general wellbeing.
They will also give them an alcohol-free beer residue. This is to promote relaxation among the cows. Their life is sounding pretty good, isn’t it?
Why Is Wagyu Beef So Expensive?
The reason why Wagyu beef is so expensive (see also, ‘Why is Kobe Beef so Expensive?‘) is due to the fact that it takes years of breeding to create one perfect animal. The process involves selecting and mating bulls that have the best traits, then breeding those cows again until they produce the perfect offspring.
As mentioned earlier, a farmer will pay around $30,000 for one Wagyu cow, which is also why this meat is so expensive.
The high price of this meat is also due to the pristine conditions that the cow has been living in. As they are fed three meals of highly nutritious food, this is usually imported from other countries, which adds to their cost.
Wagyu Cattle Breeding
The first step in creating a Wagyu bull is to select him based on his body type and temperament. He must be calm, friendly, and easygoing.
Once he has been selected, he will be mated with a female of similar characteristics.
Once they have produced a calf, they will need to wait approximately three months before being allowed back into the herd.
After this period, the farmer will check if the calf has inherited the desired traits. This process continues, so they can ensure they are breeding cattle that will be of the highest quality.
To conclude, Wagyu beef is one of the most luxurious cuts of meat you will come across. It is an expensive option, but due to the meticulous and high-quality standard in which these cows are raised, you would not expect anything less.
Once you try this cut of meat, you’ll never go back, and you’ll find yourself with a new expensive taste!