Nestled in the Zuney Valley in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, two farming families came together: Henk and Rinda Klopper, Denys and Melinda Wells. Zuney Wagyu was born from a solid friendship, based on good, caring neighbours who both have a passion for Wagyu beef. The business was established in 2014 and is firmly rooted in the strong principles of their friendship.
Both Henk and Denys grew up in farming communities. Denys’ family had a dairy farm that later turned into beef production. Denys and his father bred with black and red Angus cattle which are known to produce high-quality beef. Henk’s father bred Bonsmara cattle in Limpopo. Little did they know that years later a friendship will be born in the heart of this picturesque valley in the Eastern Cape.
Denys first heard about Wagyu cattle while visiting astute Angus breeder, Chris Purdon’s farm in Cathcart. Henk, Rinda and their family, tasted the buttery goodness of Wagyu beef during a trip to Australia in 2010. Mesmerised by the high-quality beef of Wagyu cattle, the dream was set in motion and Zuney Wagyu was born in 2014. The two friends crossbred Wagyu bulls onto their Angus cows with semen bought from Chris Purdon and Brian Angus. Henk bought an F3 cow and calf from Brian Angus while Wagyu cattle could still be bred from F3 to full blood. Henk and Denys officially started breeding Wagyu cattle on 8 May 2014. The Wagyu Society of South Africa’s constitution changed in 2015 to the current system where purebred cattle cannot be registered as full-blood.
In 2015, both families attended the Aldam Stockman School which focused on quality beef. This conference made it clear that Wagyu is the undisputed leader in quality beef. As passionate beef producers and in their quest to produce the best beef, Wagyu stood out as the future of quality beef production in a high yielding beef producing district. The Zuney Wagyu farms are situated in an area with little frost and a temperate climate. Combining this with good feeding conditions for raising and finishing beef, Zuney Wagyu decided to become involved in the ‘farm to fork’ movement.
Zuney Wagyu consists of five farms totalling 2250 hectares that is rich in natural pasture, grasses, thornveld, valley bushveld and natural forest.
To breed top-quality Wagyu cattle is part of Zuney Wagyu’s mission statement. After five years in the Wagyu industry, this remains an ongoing process which is rooted in good genetics combined with efficient feeding.