New DNA test for improving efficiency and reducing risks in Wagyu production systems

Now there’s a way of predicting how well Wagyu cattle will perform in the feedlot.

The challenge

Wagyu beef is prized for its quality and marbling characteristics. Marbling is the flecks of white intramuscular fat throughout a steak – compared to intermuscular fat that you can trim off.

High-quality marbling in beef comes from high-quality genetics and feeding regimes. Wagyu cattle are often grain-fed longer than other breeds to achieve their signature marbling. 

But how can producers and feedlots know which cattle will efficiently end up with the sought-after eating characteristics and how long they’ll need to be fed for? 

The results

Enter Wagyu Feeder Check. Developed by CSIRO and the Australian Wagyu Association, the Wagyu Feeder Check is a DNA test that predicts low- and high-performance animals and helps determine how long to put them into feed lotting. The test estimates the performance of five growth and carcase traits. It also offers the Wagyu Feeder Index, a combination of the five traits prediction, and a sire verification tool.

Wagyu Feeder Check will benefit commercial feedlot operators feeding (or ‘finishing’) animals with a strong Wagyu breed component. It will mean they will be able to identify and discard animals of low genetic merit from long-fed programs. They’ll also be able to minimise the number of days better performing animals need to be fed before marbling into the perfect Wagyu steak. 

The Wagyu Feeder Check was launched in April 2023 and has been commercialised by Neogen. It’s now available to Wagyu producers and feed lotting companies. 

Read more: Australian Wagyu Association – Wagyu Feeder Check