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Cattle Breeder Produces Prime Beef Using Japanese Traits
A South Dakota cattle breeding operation is making Japanese beef traits available for commercial cattlemen. Prime 360 Beef is merging the best traits of Japanese Akaushi (Vol. 39, No. 4) and Wagyu breeds with leading North American breeds to produce USDA-Prime beef. Currently less than 5 percent of all processed beef grades prime. The company’s goal is to produce calves with the genetic potential to grade prime a high percentage of the time.
  “We could do it with straight Wagyu and Akaushi breeds, but they don’t have the eye appeal of our North American breeds,” says Jim Nickeson, general manager, Prime 360 Beef. “They are horned breeds and have other issues that we have been able to select out.”
  The company used a base line of Red Angus cows crossed with Wagyu and Akaushi, then bred them back up to 7/8 pure Japanese breeding. Horns were bred out, while the extremely high marbling, super tight udders with level floors, correct teat size, and high fertility traits of the Japanese breeds were retained.
  The female line is bred to top bulls from Red and Black Angus, Polled Red and Black Simmental, Polled Shorthorn Durham, and Lowline breeds. Embryos are flushed and transferred to recipient cows. This past spring, the first set of yearling bulls with 7/16 Japanese bloodlines from those pairings were put on the market.
  “We had 72 bulls for sale and by late June had sold all but 19 without any advertising,” says Nickeson.
  The bulls were priced at $5,000 each, with the top bulls held back for semen collection and sale at $25 per straw. Nickeson projects having around 100 bulls available for spring of 2017 and between 200 and 300 in 2018. Final numbers depend on a variety of factors, including embryo conception and transfer success.
  The company is not selling embryo transfer females. However, it does offer to market calves produced by customers of its bulls to help secure premiums. Prime 360 finishes its own and purchased customer calves, as well as selling weaned calves to other cattle feeders.
  “We’ve been able to get from 15 to 20 cents over top market for weaned calves the past 4 years,” says Nickeson. “As we grow, we want to continue to garner premium prices for our customers’ calves from our bulls. Our mission is to help commercial breeders make at least $100 more on their calves and even more if they finish them.”
  Finished calves are not sold under a brand designation, yet. “We have not yet gone to marketing a line of Prime 360 Beef. However, we are looking into possibilities,” says Nickeson. “Some possibilities exist for a locker-type beef program.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Prime 360 Beef, 47982 Iwerks Rd., Big Stone City, S. Dak. 57216 (ph 605 651-3636; nickeson@tnics.com; www.prime360beef.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #4