Local people in southern border provinces have raised cows from generation to generation. However, most of them raise landrace breeds that are small cattle, i.e., the weight of an ox is around 300 kilograms. If they are able to raise larger cattle, they will be able to earn higher price. Currently, cattle raising in southern border provinces starts to be more advanced and raising style is developed from free range to be stall barns due to requirement of breed development.
Japanese Wagyu has been accepted as a kind of delicious beef with beef marbling, juicy and mild taste without stickiness. When eating wagyu, you can feel fat melting in your mouth and this kind of beef is demanded by market with high price. Therefore, a beef cattle farm in Yala Province conducted an experiment to research and develop wagyu in its farm to gain quality of traditional wagyu breed and add value to beef market in southern border provinces where most populations consume beef. This will become another alternative to consume beef with high quality in affordable price and another way to expand opportunities of beef cattle farms in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat leading to complete marketing in the future.
Yala Wagyu Farm is located among Lam Phaya Valley in Muang District, Yala Province. It was initiated by Dr. Rung Kaewdang with the goal to promote activities for mutual participation and learning of Thai-Muslim and Thai-Buddhist people leading to peaceful co-existence as same as in the past as well as improvement of cattle raising of local farmers by developing local breed to gain wagyu blood level as much as possible. Therefore, artificial insemination is utilized by mixing 100% semen of wagyu ox with breeders from several breeds for comparison including Charolais, Braman, to gain Wagyu F1 (50%), F2 (75), and F3 (87.5%), respectively. Currently, they are striving to achieve the goal of F4 (93.75%) in order to obtain similar breed as much as authentic Japanese wagyu breed.
Wagyu development process is started from having farrowing stalls for raising breeders. After calving, such calf will be sent to calf barn. From breeder of calf, it will become a beef cattle breed. Ox will be separated from cow, i.e., cow will become breeder whereas ox will become beef cattle breed. To raise cattle completely, stalls must be separated for convenience on feeding, maintenance, and disease prevention. Moreover, Yala Wagyu Farm, under the operation of Suk-Kaew Kaewdang Foundation, conducted a research on cattle feed with Yala Rajabhat University and Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus, in order to use local materials to develop herbal feed production with low cost but high quality from soybean meal, sago, elephant grass, pineapple, banana, and Eurycoma Longifolia Jack.
Besides researches on livestock, some educational institutions also conducted some researches on agricultural promotion in order to cause assembly in the form of community enterprise. Besides Yala Wagyu Farm that is the center for learning and exchanging knowledge on wagyu raising, there are also some networks of cattle raising farmers in Southern Border Provinces that are considered as the strong assemblies including Chong Khet Cattle Raising Community Enterprise of Sai Buri District in Pattani Province that is called Sai Buri Wagyu, Upstream Beef Cattle Raising Community Enterprise of Nerng-Ngarm Sub-District in Raman District, Yala Province that has been developing rapidly with over 50 members and strong operations. Another group is Civil State’s Sufficiency Farmers Community Enterprise of Wasukri Sub-District, Rue Sao District, Narathiwat, who breed beef cattle breed.
These groups will assemble when there are mutual activities in order to exchange and share their experiences, success, problems, and obstacles on operations during COVID-19 pandemic hindering people from meeting one another therefore they have to contact via Line group. When they have any problem, they will take photos and answer questions of one another via social media. In addition, some livestock technical officers also answer their questions on cattle raising and marketing.
Currently, Yala Wagyu Farm is applying for licensing from Department of Livestock in order to establish a slaughterhouse to perform operations completely from upstream, i.e., producers of breeders and beef cattle breed farmers to processing that can create value from high quality beef products. It will become wagyu product from southern border that can generate stable works, occupations, and income to local farmers including cattle farmers, grass growers, labors of farms and slaughterhouses as well as local people who will have a chance to consume high quality beef without toxicity in affordable price, i.e., 499 baht per kilogram (For Wagyu F2 processed via Halal Standard Slaughterhouses).
From free range to beef cattle business system as well as development and promotion of stable occupations for cattle raising farmers in southern border provinces, beef cattle market becomes more bustle, especially consumers in all levels are not required to pay for 10,000 baht per kilogram to eat wagyu but they can eat premium quality wagyu from southern border for hundreds baht. Many people said that they did not want to eat other types of beef after tasting wagyu. For anyone interested, please visit Facebook Fanpage: Suk-Kaew Kaewdang Foundation.