What is in this article?:
- High profit cattle breed looks promising to producers
- The Texas line of Akaushi
- By continuing the same careful selection process, the Akaushi brought to Texas remained true to the genetics of the breed. No single trait was sacrificed to develop the U.S. herd.
THE PURE BRED Akaushi breed (in Japanese means 'Red Cow') has documented genetic lineage that dates back at least 80 years for each animal. Pictured above is an Akaushi bull from the Texas herd. Akaushi are known for their high level of marbled meat and superior flavor and are heralded as a traditional health food by the Japanese.
The Texas line of Akaushi
After bringing the Akaushi to Texas, Dr. Calles conducted research that revealed some startling results. Because of a unique closed system and a careful genetic selection process down through the years, the Akaushi breed became and has remained an extremely uniform and consistent one throughout its genetic line for all maternal, structural, fertility, carcass and palatability traits.
By continuing the same careful selection process, the Akaushi brought to Texas remained true to the genetics of the breed. No single trait was sacrificed to develop the U.S. herd.
“It is this focused attention on Akaushi genetics that has resulted in an animal that will perform efficiently, improve consistency, maintain uniformity and maximize the gap between profit and loss,” Bains said.
Bain says in terms of health, Akaushi cattle have a leg up on the industry. They produce an abundance of oleic acid in their tissue as a survival mechanism. The oleic acid in the fatty tissue surrounding vital organs helps to prevent cold stress among other benefits, and the breed is extremely capable of adapting to most environments, making them an ideal breed for the mountainous West to the coastal plains of South Texas.
In addition, this significant level of oleic acid, the “good fat” found in olive oil, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which has been shown to fight certain types of cancer, make the beef a good choice for consumers. In addition, Akaushi beef is also higher in monounsaturated fat than in saturated fat. Higher levels of monounsaturated fat are linked to lowering cholesterol, which helps to prevent diabetes, coronary heart disease, and even contributes to weight loss.
In addition to its health benefits for the consumer, Bain says Akaushi bulls can improve any breed by doubling the quality grade of the beef, a great benefit to the producer.
“By using Akaushi bulls or semen into existing Texas breeds will result in at least a 20 percent prime rating, with most of the remaining beef rated choice, and that’s just with first generation calves,” Bain says. “In fact, Akaushi crossed with a low-end group of cattle that historically becomes 40 percent USDA Choice produces an F1 product at 85 percent or greater Choice or above.”
Calles, through HeartBrand Beef, the company responsible for acquiring the cattle, began the task of increasing the herd to 4,000 fullbloods through embryo transfer since the early 90s. The Beeman family acquired ownership of HeartBrand Beef about five years ago and redirected the company in an effort to sell bulls as well as marketing Akaushi and F1 Akaushi-cross beef.
Bain says the company is so confident in the quality of the beef produced by the line, even in cross-breeding with domestic varieties, that HeartBrand Beef will buy the resulting calves back from producers at a rate “about $100 more than the normal price of a domestic calf.”
“It’s a win-win situation for the producer who breeds Akaushi because whether he raises cattle for beef or just to sell the calves back to the company, he’s going to come out on top,” Bains said.
He says the benefits are numerous, including raising beef cattle without the need for growth hormones.
“The breed is healthy by nature and the beef is a healthy product for consumers who are becoming more health conscious. Demand is growing for Akaushi beef at restaurants and markets across America and we need more producers now,” Bain says.
While those who have tasted the tender, flavorful Akaushi beef, most agree the prime cuts, including ribeye and tenderloin, are far superior than normal beef varieties. But Bain says don’t discount other cuts of beef.
“You’ve never had a real hamburger until you have had an Akaushi burger,” he said.
Indeed, a growing market for the beef is upscale hamburger joints from Texas to Minnesota. And restaurants, including Delmonico’s in New York, Bohanon’s of San Antonio, Pappas Bros. in Houston, and dozens of eateries from the East Coast to the West Coast to the Gulf Coast are offering Alaushi beef to a growing number of fans.
“We’re seeing more markets added to the growing list of places where consumers can buy Akaushi beef as well, and if growth continues at the same rate, the years ahead will become an entirely different beef market for producers with the introduction of Akaushi beef,” Bains said.
The breed will take the spotlight at the Upper Gulf Coast Ranch Expo in Simonton on May 10 when beef producers from across the state will tour the Akaushi production operation at Twinwood Cattle Company, where the event will be staged.
For more information about the Expo, call 281-342-3034. For more information about the Akaushi breed, connect to the American Akaushi Association Web site.