When it comes to cattle, there is no breed of cattle on the planet that carries as much mystique – and misunderstanding – as Wagyu, aka “Kobe Style” beef.

What is the difference between “Wagyu” and “Kobe” beef?
The answer there is simple. Kobe beef can only come from the Kobe region of Japan. Period, end of story. Any beef marketed as “Kobe beef” must be imported from Japan.

“Wagyu” is the type of cattle that is cultivated to create Japan’s signature “Kobe Beef”. Wagyu cattle have been bred to produce very well marbled meat. The marbling is much more heavy than breeds found commonly in Europe and the west. Wagyu cattle are also a much younger breed, with breed origins dating back to only the 1960s, when Japan was in the midst of large socioeconomic changes. Prior to that time cattle were mainly kept for farm work, after that time period cattle are mainly raised for beef. For comparison, the Angus breed as we know them today date back to the early-1800s.

Do they really feed cattle beer and give it massages?
Domestic Wagyu produced in the USA…if that is a common practice in the states; we are not aware of it. However, when it comes to Kobe Beef in Japan, both beer and massages are reality for cattle. But it is more than “pampering” the cattle. During the hot summer months heat and humidity reduces the cattle’s appetite. Beer helps to stimulate their appetite – so it’s not purely recreational. Massaging cattle is a very real thing as well. However, there is a purpose for the massage is not to relax the cattle, but helps to evenly distribute the fat throughout the meat making it more consistent. It also causes the meat to be more of a pink color than the traditional bright red color that we expect in the states.

What makes Wagyu cattle different from other popular breeds in the United States?
Wagyu differ from other breeds in a couple ways. First, they are genetically programed to develop a completely different type of marbling. Marbling is the intramuscular fat that helps to make meat tender and juicy. Second, Wagyu cattle are much slower growing and take much longer to finish than other breeds. It’s not uncommon for Wagyu to require a full 50% more time on feed to reach a desirable finish. In the simplest terms, this means Waygu beef is MUCH more expensive than other domestic breeds because it required more time, and roughly 50% more feed making the cost to produce much, much higher. The upside to all of this is the quality. While domestic “Waygu” can’t be called “Kobe” beef, it is still exquisite beef that more than justifies the additional cost.

What makes Nebraska Star® Beef Natural Wagyu Beef better than the rest?
Just like all of our beef, our Wagyu cattle are never, ever administered antibiotic, growth hormones or other growth promotants. We feed them the same high quality steam flaked corn diet as all our Natural Angus. Our Wagyu cattle are fed considerable longer to reach the quality level that we strive to achieve – you will not be disappointed.