THE decision to use Wagyu genetics when joining their heifers has brought multiple benefits to the Mignanelli family at Myponga, South Australia.
Tim Mignanelli, who farms with parents Michael and Pam, and uncle Eddy and aunty Toni, said they had been using the Wagyu genetics for about five years, through Dairy Beef Alliance, but were using beef bulls even before that.
This puts them in the middle of a rising trend of dairy producers making use of the beef market, with genetics supplier ABS has reported a 600 per cent increase in the volume of semen sold into the Australian dairy market through its Beef InFocus program in the past two years.
He said they only needed about 30 replacement heifers each year for their 170-cow herd, so would join about 60 to 70 of their better cows with Holstein sires through artificial insemination.
"That leaves basically half the herd to beef," he said.
All heifers are joined with Wagyu AI sires, which Tim said meant calving time was "fantastic".
"We pretty much never have to pull a calf," he said.
"Knowing we've got a breeding system we can rely on, we very rarely have any issues."
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They keep the calves for seven to 10 days, before they go to DBA contract calf rearer Annabel Mangal.
He said there seemed to be good demand for the product.
"They're taking whatever we can provide and seemingly can't get enough," he said.
It also returned good value for the offspring.
"They're paying brilliant money for week-old calves," he said.
"It's guaranteed income for us."
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