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Snow beef. Holstein-Wagyu cross


Anna N
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“Prairie farmers using high-end Wagyu genetics to create 'snow beef.”
 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Interesting article, thank you.  I had not heard of this.  I wonder if any Ontario farms are doing this?  When next I go to my butcher, I'm going to ask him about this.  Not likely to happen for a couple of weeks but when I do, I'll post what he says.

Edited by ElsieD
Fixed a typo (log)
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So many questions come to mind. Some of the questions arise from discussing this with @Kerry Beal. When the Holstein cow is inseminated with the semen from the wagyu bull she may give birth to a male calf or a female calf. If the latter what will be the quality of her milk or will she ever be milked?  I don’t think cows produce milk until they’ve had a calf. Will she go to the slaughterhouse before we can ever know what quality of milk she might produce. The story seems to suggest that only female calves are raised to be snow beef. Is that a choice that revolves around not having bulls to deal with. I know so little about farming. But it all does raise some questions in my mind. Most probably we have dairy farmer members who can cast some light up on this. I am thinking of you, @DiggingDogFarm.  Seems I remember you mentioning this at some point. 
 

edited to add:

 

Beef in Ontario. Wagyu embryos and black Angus uteri ?

 

More about wagyu beef in Ontario.

Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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7 hours ago, AAQuesada said:

Thanks. Both interesting articles. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I deeply wish I could ask my father about this.  He died suddenly 6 weeks ago, but before that spent 40 years in cattle breeding.  Most of that time was focused on our family Holstein farm, but for the past 5 years he was on the governing board for a multinational agricultural genetics company.  He had hinted that interesting things were coming with crossbreeding in future years, but couldn't reveal more.

 

For the past couple of decades, it was common for him to select an Angus bull for first calf heifers.  Holsteins breed large babies, and that birth can be rough for a younger cow.  The crossbreeds made for some pretty good beef.  I can absolutely see Wagyu providing similar benefits, and if they can improve revenue streams, many dairy farmers will be all over it (those willing to risk the investment, that is). 

 

Wholesale Milk prices are very unreliable, and in the past decade, most dairy farms have been operating at a loss.  Our family farm has been in operation since 1882, and we stopped milking in March, just before the pandemic hit.

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21 minutes ago, donk79 said:

I deeply wish I could ask my father about this.  He died suddenly 6 weeks ago, but before that spent 40 years in cattle breeding. 

My deepest condolences on losing your father.

 

You say that you stopped milking. Does that mean that you sold the herd for slaughter? 

 

Your father sounds like someone who could have shone a great deal of light on the subject of crossbreeding to produce wagyu-type beef. 

 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I took a look at the sales website for the company my father worked with.  They currently have one Wagyu bull available, at $50.  This compares to the Holstein bulls coming in as low as $20 per breeding attempt.  I am not certain where the bull calf market is right now, but I have seen it run anywhere from $10 to $150 per animal.  I figure that these crosses would land in that bull calf market, but at a higher premium.  I can certainly see both temptation to give the Wagyu breeding a try, and hesitation.  I suspect it will be a market in need of development to make it a solid go.

Edited by donk79 (log)
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On 12/24/2020 at 2:06 PM, Anna N said:

If the latter what will be the quality of her milk or will she ever be milked?

 

She wouldn't give enough milk to make here a good dairy cow, but she'd make an excellent calf-rearing mother in terms of the amount of milk she'd give.

She's worth most as a mother of a 3/4 Wagyu calf — it wouldn't make sense to send her for beef.

If the F1 calf is a male, it's a different story — he'd likely be castrated, to become a steer, then raised for beef.

I hope that answers some questions.

Happy to answer more.

 

Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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3 hours ago, donk79 said:

...it was common for him to select an Angus bull for first calf heifers.  Holsteins breed large babies, and that birth can be rough for a younger cow.

 

Yes, that is a very common practice.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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1 hour ago, donk79 said:

They currently have one Wagyu bull available, at $50

 

That seems very reasonable.

I'm trained in cattle artificial insemination, I would have expected it to be more.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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2 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

 

That seems very reasonable.

I'm trained in cattle artificial insemination, I would have expected it to be more.

Genex is who you might want to look at then, if you ever had interest in looking that direction.

Edited by donk79 (log)
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Just to try and drag this topic back a little closer to where it began, has anyone had the privilege of trying any snow beef?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Based on what I see in Google, this concept of the Holstein/Wagyu crossbreed as "Snow Beef" may just be this one company's effort at marketing, "Saskatchewan Snow Beef."  The other references to "Snow Beef" that I am seeing are all from Hokkaido in Japan.  I don't even see a website, past their Facebook and Instagram.  From what I can tell, distribution is pretty limited.  I think you may have to be in Saskatchewan to get it.

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22 minutes ago, donk79 said:

Based on what I see in Google, this concept of the Holstein/Wagyu crossbreed as "Snow Beef" may just be this one company's effort at marketing, "Saskatchewan Snow Beef."  The other references to "Snow Beef" that I am seeing are all from Hokkaido in Japan.  I don't even see a website, past their Facebook and Instagram.  From what I can tell, distribution is pretty limited.  I think you may have to be in Saskatchewan to get it.

For that particular beef with which I started topic, you are probably right.  They are doing things with crossbreeds (Red Angus and Wagyu in Ontario) but I believe they are both considered beef cattle breeds not milkers. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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It really is an interesting prospect.  Regular breed dairy beef is rightfully (imo) considered very low grade.  When we shifted to the crosses at home, the quality of meat from the steers we raised improved drastically.

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