Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 11:02 UK

Wagyu calf first for Scots farm

Wagyu calf
Inochi was delivered at the Barony College Farm at the weekend

A Scottish farm has welcomed its first calf of a Japanese breed which produces the most expensive beef in the world.

Wagyu cattle are traditionally reared with beer, receive massages and back scratches and are also played music to improve the quality of the meat.

The Barony College Farm near Dumfries delivered its first calf on Sunday and named her Inochi, which means life.

It is part of a project being run with supermarket chain Asda to produce high quality beef from normal dairy herds.

Wagyu cattle are one of the most expensive breeds in the world and are raised on a special diet, including beer and grain.

They are supposed to be regularly massaged with sake, the Japanese rice wine, to make their flesh tender.

Inochi was born to a Holstein Friesian dairy cow but sired by a Wagyu bull.

At present, dairy farmers find there is little value to cattle which are of "poorer genetic stock".

Once the calves are a little older our students will be welcome to try massaging them or giving them some of the pampering that their Japanese counterparts enjoy
Craig Drummond
Farm manager

However, the organisers of this project said it could allow such cows to produce "high quality beef animals".

The south of Scotland calf is the first of five expected at the Barony College.

Farm Manager Craig Drummond said that if the scheme was successful it could become much more widespread.

He said: "This is a very exciting project to be involved in as it offers such potential to the dairy industry, as well as giving our agriculture students the opportunity to be involved in a cutting edge breeding initiative.

"Barony students will get hands-on experience in looking after these Wagyu calves, including monitoring their growth and development.

"And once the calves are a little older our students will be welcome to try massaging them or giving them some of the pampering that their Japanese counterparts enjoy."

College principal Russell Marchant said the arrival of the first calf was an important moment.

'Unique opportunity'

"Barony College has a number of very strong links with industry across our subject areas, offering unique opportunities for our students to take part in groundbreaking research projects and initiatives," he said.

"The joint working with Asda has been particularly exciting, and we have been anticipating the safe delivery of this calf for a number of months.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how the breeding programme develops and to working with companies like Asda, and local dairy farmers, to explore the full potential of this unique approach."

In the UK, Wagyu beef is available mainly in premium retailers and is famously used in sandwiches which retail for £85.



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