Gustavo Almassio is an agronomist and a farmer based at La Dulce, a small town in the southeast of the Buenos Aires Province. Six years ago, after resigning to his job in a global company, he thought into developing a value-added business in his farm. He has 330 hectares (815 acres) and loves the cows, but he didn’t want to do the same as other ranchers.

Then, Mr. Almassio looked for an operation that added high quality and high prices and found the breeding of Wagyu cattle. He contacted Luis Barcos, former manager of the Sanitary and Agrifood Quality Inspection Service (Senasa) and a pioneer of Wagyu breeding in Argentina, who provided semen pills for Almassio’s Angus herd.

In a country where steers go to the meat packers with no more than 450 kilograms (live weight), the challenge was breeding a steer to 800 kg with a marbling score of 8 (really high). In fact, Mr. Almassio crossed the Wagyus genetic with his Angus cows to obtain a 1/2, 3/4 and 7/8 calves, who denominates “Wangus”.

He uses the ultrasound measurement to predict the marbling and carcass fat thickness of his steers. It happens that feeding this type of cattle has a high cost, due the price of the corn, and an excess of fat turns the operation unprofitable.

Six years later, Mr. Almassio is producing around 20 Wangus steers per year. He sold them to an export company that commercializes the beef in the China market. But the profit is not so attractive as he was selling a “light” steer of 350 kg, at a minor price, but with minor costs and less time of breeding.

The rancher is so satisfied with the quality of his steers and the beef obtained, but now he is thinking about developing a network of Wangus breeders on a common protocol and with the target of reach some “critical mass” that optimizes the marketing of the steers.

On the other hand, in order to optimize the profitability, he is thinking on a new breeding model, based on an initial creep feeding, a larger period of “recría” and only then a feedlot termination.

Furthermore, Mr. Almassio is analyzing supply the domestic circuit of Wangus beef, represented by top restaurants and hotels.

Ref.: Almassio’s Wangus beef in a vacuun packaging

 

Contact Mr. Almassio: galmassio@ladulce.com.ar