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Stackyard News Jun 2010

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Asda Targets Wagyu Beef at Younger Generation Beef Producers

Supermarket Asda is encouraging younger generation beef producers in search of a step up in the market place to produce Wagyu beef cattle.

Asda BeefLink producer Mike Powley with one of his Wagyu calves

Mike Powley with one of his Wagyu calves

Asda’s head of ethical and sustainable sourcing Chris Brown says: “Asda will be supplying Wagyu semen to dairy farmers before purchasing the calves back at two weeks of age. These calves will go into rearing units. The big advantage for the rearer is that they have no capital outlay and with Asda offering a minimum guaranteed price for the product, a huge amount of risk is taken out of the enterprise.

“Calf cost will be deducted when the animal goes to slaughter and mortality rate will also be taken into account,” adds Mr Brown. Due to the low set up costs of such a production system, Asda are targeting this scheme at young farmers as a low cost way of them getting onto the beef production ladder.

“Asda will also be offering discounted Wagyu semen to its loyal BeefLink suckler producers at a cost of £7.50 a straw, the equivalent of a 25% discount. The semen is highly fertile and ideal for using over heifers as the calves are exceptionally easy calving with loads of get up and go,” adds Mr Brown.

York-based producer and Asda BeefLink member Mike Powley has already been using Wagyu on his crossbred heifers and has seen some great results. “Heifers have calved well with no assistance and calves are showing great vigour. It will be interesting to see how they perform in line with the rest of the finishing cattle, but I’m expecting some great results.”

Asda’s red meat buying manager Jim Viggars adds: “The quality of Wagyu beef is second to none so this new range will ensure Asda consumers will be experiencing some of the finest dining experiences from Wagyu beef. Leading chefs worldwide are advocates of this product and already some of our BeefLink producers with Wagyu calves on the ground are being contacted by chefs as to how they can go about sourcing their beef.”

Some 1500 head of Wagyu cattle will go through Asda in the first year with the intention of significantly increasing numbers to meet demand.

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