New Wagyu Beef partnership offers farmers extra income opportunity
22 Dec 2016
LIC and First Light Wagyu are teaming up to offer dairy farmers the opportunity for an additional source of income from sought-after, value-added Wagyu beef.
Under the partnership and from January 2017, LIC will provide First Light Wagyu semen to selected dairy farmers and manage the rearing of the resulting progeny. The crossbred weaners will then transition to First Light beef finishing farms.
“A key to the future success of dairy farming and the New Zealand economy is the continual evolution of value-added products like this,” says LIC Biological Systems general manager Geoff Corbett.
“The programme between LIC and First Light Wagyu is connecting the dairy and red meat value chains to create a high-value product. It complements our work as a herd improvement company and provides a value-add opportunity for surplus calves from cross-bred cows.”
Internationally recognised as ‘top shelf’ beef, Wagyu’s nutty-flavoured, fat-marbled meat is juicy, tender and high in Omega 3.
First Light Wagyu managing director Gerard Hickey says Wagyu offers price stability for New Zealand farmers and an attractive premium. The company is undertaking significant work to develop a value chain for the high-value product under a Primary Growth Partnership programme with Brownrigg Agriculture Group Ltd and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
“Farmers gain certainty of income with fixed price contracts on the back of a growing demand from finishers and international markets. This presents a great opportunity for dairy farmers to diversify their earnings. Combining forces with LIC builds momentum in developing a mutually beneficial relationship between dairy and beef industries. Utilising calf capacity in dairy for high value beef finishing will become the new norm for many dairy and beef farmers and this is an important step towards enabling this.”
In 2017 LIC will carry out its first collections of autumn born calves from 2016 First Light Wagyu inseminations, and will look to increase volumes for both autumn and spring. Interested dairy farmers should contact their local LIC Farm Solutions manager or LIC’s Heifer Production Unit (0800 793 793) for details.