Introduction to the challenge adressed
This good practice is related to the production efficiency and meat quality thematic area of the BovINE project and falls under the topic “on farm strategies to improve/increase marbling/tenderness/colour in beef meat”. The genetic impact on the marbling of the beef is quite big. So the crossbreeding with breeds with a high percentage of intramuscular fat is a logical consequence.
Description of the Good Practice
A farmer in Germany with Simmenthal cows wanted to improve the marbling and tenderness and thus the prices for his meat. He started by buying Wagyu embryos to build his own pure-blood Wagyu herd. Then he started to breed Wagyu bulls to his Simmenthal cows. The analysis after slaughtering the hybrids showed a clearly higher percentage of intramuscular fat compared to the pure-blood Simmenthal bulls (4,7% vs. 2,59%). It should be noted, however, that the fattening and slaughter performance is significantly lower. Nevertheless, the higher quality meat can be marketed very well if there is sufficient demand.
Impact on farm performance
Due to the lower fattening and slaughtering performances the meat needs to be sold for a higher price as the pure Simmenthal meat. As the demand for high marbling in beef meat is increasing the meat of the crossbreeds can be marketed quite well. There seemed to be a trend for less meat but higher quality, which is met by the highly marbled crossbreed meat.
The crossbreeding was a good decision! Now we can offer three levels of meat marbling, so there's something for everyone.