Wagyu is a Japanese cattle breed, it is prized for producing the greatest marbled fat meat. The impressive meat production is believed to be a result of good genes and a strict highly nutritional diet.
For the said legitimate reasons; the livestock farmers get questioned, what do they feed their Wagyu cattle? If we try to analyze the situation, it can be said that the said cattle breed can not only be grass-fed.
What Do Wagyu Cattle Eat?
Wagyu cattle are considered one of the most overly pampered animals in the world. The said animal is spoiled in many ways.
They get to eat the best nutritionally balanced food so they can produce juicier, tender, and well-marbled meat.
Since keeping wagyu cattle are not anything like regular cattle. They require special living conditions to serve up to our expectations.
Bearing their upkeep cost is not in everyone’s reach. The upkeep cost is a combination of all the costs you have to bear to keep any animal.
Out of all the components of upkeep cost, the Wagyu cattle’s feed adds most to the total. This pretty much sums why it is often questioned what do Wagyu cattle eat?
Well, Wagyu cattle eat a lot of stuff. They do not solely survive on grasses. As per the experienced livestock keeper, the Wagyu cattle’s diet consists of
Fresh, dried grasses
- Fruits and vegetables
Fresh and Dried Grasses
Whether it is Wagyu cattle or any other regular breed, these animals eat grass as a meal to fulfill their nutritional needs.
Wagyu cattle do not demand any special grass to produce well-marbled beef.
Most of the Wagyu cattle living to serve the Americans get to eat Bermuda, Timothy, Alfalfa, Ryegrass, and Bluegrass.
When fresh Bermuda, Timothy, or Bluegrass is available they stuff their tummy with fresh grasses.
When food is scarce due to any reason, they do not mind eating completely or slightly dried Bermuda, Timothy, Alfalfa, Ryegrass, or Bluegrass.
Bermuda grass is a source of food not just for the American Wagyu cattle but billbugs, buffalo, deer, dogs, sheep, and goats.
Bermuda is a nutritional grass native to Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
It is recognized by several names; Dhoob, Durva grass, Ethana grass, Dubo, Dog’s Tooth grass, Bahama grass, devil’s grass, Indian Doab, Couch grass, Wiregrass, Scutch grass, and Arugampul, Grama.
Bermuda grass is served for two major reasons; nutrients and being a productive, durable grass to withstand heavy grazing pressure and weather extremes.
This forgiving grass is known for fulfilling nutritional needs and responding well to fertility.
Bermuda grass is a product of warm regions. In such regions, it is noticed in lawns, golf greens, and pasture farms.
Because of Bermuda grass’s fast-growing and recovering nature, it is planted in pasture farms and sports fields.
Some Wagyu cattle are also fulfilling the food requirements from Timothy grass.
Timothy grass is a vital part of the Wagyu cattle’s diet for a variety of reasons.
It not only fulfills the Wagyu cattle’s nutritional needs but also promotes bowel regularity and digestive system health.
Timothy, meadow cat’s tail or common cat’s tail is another highly nutritional grass that Wagyu cattle get to eat.
This forgiving grass that Wagyu cattle get to graze on is named after an American farmer and agriculturist named Timothy Hanson.
This member of the genus Phleum is a perennial grass native to Europe (except the Mediterranean region), temperate Asia, and North Africa.
Because of it’s forgiving nature, it is grown in all parts of Europe, Northern Asia, and North America.
The Timothy grass is exceptionally well drought and cold-resistant, this makes the grass grow best in heavy, dry upland, or poor sandy soils.
The only issue with this grass is that it grows slowly.
Alfalfa is nutritionally superior to all the grasses Wagyu cattle eat.
Alfalfa is a great source of protein, iron, calcium, potassium, copper phosphorus, vitamin C, and K.
It is probably the only grass that is not just eaten by Wagyu cattle and some other animals but humans as well(in the form of sprouted seeds).
Despite being a little expensive, Alfalfa has become a vital food ingredient for Wagyu cattle for several reasons.
One major reason is that Alfalfa’s initial rate of ruminal digestion is much greater than the other popular grasses.
This makes the cattle consume a great amount of forage and produce an impressive amount of fat.
Alfalfa belongs to the popular legume family named Fabaceae. It is cultivated for several purposes; grazing, hay, silage, green manure, and cover crop.
This rewarding grass is cultivated in almost all parts of the world. However, it is seen in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and the United Kingdom more commonly. Read Alfalfa for cows as a source of proper food.
Ryegrass is widely accepted as an excellent choice for pasturing sheep and Wagyu cattle.
It is believed so because ryegrass makes highly digestible and palatable forage. Moreover, Ryegrass is also considered because it’s easier to establish and allows you to grow in mixtures; especially Alfalfa, White, and Red Clover. Learn the benefits of clover for cows.
Ryegrass is a product of Asia, Europe, Northern Africa, Australia, and America.
It is cultivated in the above-mentioned countries as a pasture, cover crop, or as a solution for erosion control and percolation.
Just as Bermuda grass, Ryegrass grows quickly, yields a long growing season, tolerates traffic, and recovers quickly.
All these qualities make Ryegrass the best option for Wagyu cattle. In short, it has all the qualities of good pasture grass. So, why would a Wagyu livestock farmer not take advantage of that?
Bluegrass is a widely cultivated grass that is suited for grazing. Bluegrass is believed to be suitable for all classes of livestock.
However, in the Wagyu cattle’s case, it is a little less appreciated than Alfalfa and Bermuda grass.
Therefore, only the Wagyu cattle that do not have access to Bermuda, Timothy, and Alfalfa, get to eat Bluegrass.
The long-lived, highly portable, dark green perennial grass with boat-shaped tips that we notice in Asia, Europe, Algeria, and Morocco is Bluegrass.
It is native to Europe and Northern Asia. Bluegrass is no longer limited to the said countries, with modern irrigation it is now grown all over the east coast of the United States.
The Bluegrass has been blessed with very rich color, density, disease resistance, cold, and wear and tear tolerance. Moreover, it is admired for handling heavy traffic well.
Our livestock farmers have refused to feed the same old grasses ever since the “Hay” was introduced.
Hay comes to us after passing through several stages; cutting, drying, and baling.
Hay is a combination of grass, legumes, and several herbaceous plants that is highly beneficial for the Wagyu cattle, horses, goats, and sheep.
Some high-quality hay can also contain stems, leaves, and seed heads.
Whether it’s mixed hay or grass hay, hay is a great source of proteins, structural carbohydrates, non-structural carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that Wagyu cattle need to live a balanced life.
It contains a good amount of calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and vitamin A, etc.
Hay can never be the best healthier alternative to fresh grass as most of the nutrients are lost in the manufacturing process.
The livestock farmers do not prefer hay over fresh grass. Therefore, Wagyu cattle get to eat hay once in a blue moon when the food is scarce.
Though the Wagyu cattle derive energy and nutrients from the plant matter.
Grains, fruits, and vegetables are fed to fulfill the deficiency and improve the overall health and wellness.
Whether it’s Wagyu cattle or not, some grains have always been a part of their diet. Most Wagyu cattle surviving in the world has been eating
When it comes to corn, the world is divided into two groups. One believes that feeding corn is not a good idea as it is the seed of grass.
Whereas the other group of livestock keepers thinks that even the corn kernels and corn stalks are completely safe to feed.
So, some Wagyu cattle raised by the livestock keeper who belongs to group one might not be eating corn.
However, the supporters of the second idea do feed corn quite often.
Wagyu cattle eat corn for two major reasons; because they are energy-rich and highly nutritional. Corn is a main source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins C, and B.
The Wagyu cattle need magnesium to metabolize calcium from bones and increase gut absorption.
Potassium helps in improving milk production, reproductive performance, and immune function.
Vitamin C is required for immune regulation, amelioration of oxidative stress, and tissue growth and maintenance.
Oats are an essential part of beef cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, and pig’s diets. It is fed for its high hulls and fiber content.
Oats with the other grains are fed to improve digestibility, increase milk production, and for health and wellness.
Oats are incredibly nutritious, it contains a good amount of phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper.
Wagyu cattle need phosphorus for the sound functioning of their body; building bones and teeth, milk production, and metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Manganese is crucial for reproductive performance, iron for hemoglobin formation, zinc for immunity, reproduction, skin, and hoof health.
Whereas, copper promotes milk production and milk production.
Since oats help in improving the Wagyu cattle’s health and wellness, livestock keepers do not spare a chance of reaping their benefits.
Barley is a crucial part of Wagyu cattle’s diet. It is fed raw, processed, and sometimes mixed with the regular feed, whatever is feasible.
It is generally offered because the said grain contains more protein and energy than most cattle-friendly grains.
Fruits and vegetables
Just like the regular cattle and other farm animals, Wagyu cattle get to eat fruits and vegetables as a treat as well.
To be more specific, they have been feeding apples, oranges, bananas, watermelon rinds, and potatoes to satisfy taste buds.
The Wagyu cattle eat these fruits and vegetables as a treat, once or twice a week. These fruits and vegetable treats are simply a way to incorporate nutrients into the cattle’s diet.
All these fruits and vegetables help in improving the cattle’s appetite, health, and wellness.
Moreover, fruits and vegetables prevent constipation, help with digestive and medical issues.
In short, fruits and vegetables boost health, improve immunity, and prevent deadly diseases in humans and animals, including Wagyu cattle. For the same reasons, Wagyu livestock keepers consider fruits and vegetables a necessary part of the cattle’s diet.
Wagyu cattle are known for their well-marbled meat. It’s a result of good genes and a carefully-crafted diet plan.
The Wagyu cattle do not survive on regular grasses, they eat Bermuda, Timothy, Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Alfalfa grass as the main source of nutrients and energy.
Moreover, barley, corn, oats, fruits, and vegetables (apples, bananas, watermelon, potatoes, and oranges, etc) are also fed to improve the quality and the flavors of Wagyu cattle’s meat.
- The Japanese Wagyu beef industry: current situation and future prospects