Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Producer imports wagyu cows for Taiwanese market

By Liao Shu-ling and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Yunzhang Taiwanese Beef owner Chang Chih-ming touches the ear of a wagyu cow on a ranch in Yunlin County in an undated photograph.

Photo: Liao Shu-ling, Taipei Times, courtesy of Chang Chih-ming

The owner of a beef producer in Yunlin County has teamed up with two ranches to begin producing Japanese-style wagyu beef in Taiwan.

Yunzhang Taiwanese Beef owner Chang Chih-ming (張志名) imported two wagyu cows from Australia for about NT$1 million (US$32,494), which a partner at the two ranches is to help him breed.

He hopes to begin selling locally produced wagyu beef by 2021, he said on Friday last week.

Wagyu refers to any of four breeds of cattle: Japanese black, Japanese polled, Japanese brown and Japanese shorthorn.

Wagyu cows can be bred anywhere, but their origins must be traced back to one of the four Japanese breeds to be certified as wagyu cows, Chang said.

In the past few years, people have begun breeding wagyu in Australia, the US and the UK, and Australia now has its own breed that is half wagyu and half Australian.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) introduced wagyu cows to a ranch in Hualien County.

Chang said that he believes there is a big market for wagyu beef in Taiwan.

The two cows were bred through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the sperm and eggs of two pure-bred wagyu cows — the male reared in the US and the female in Japan, he said.

The two cows are to be interbred with Angus cattle at the Yunlin ranches, he added.

The first interbreeding is to produce 50 percent wagyu cattle, the second is to produce 75 percent wagyu and the third 87.5 percent, Chang said, adding that the result would be beef that is very close in quality to that from pure-bred wagyu cows in Japan.

Chang said that on a trip to Australia he discovered that Taiwanese beef can stand up to Australian beef in quality, adding that he is confident that by introducing wagyu cows into the breeding process, the quality of local beef will improve significantly.

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