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Tri-Star Farm: Brant 4-H Leader raises Wagyu Cattle as a hobbys

Updated: May 31



Cainsville-area farmer Ron Eadie and his family enjoy raising beef cattle. They initially raised Herefords on Tri-Star Farm on Lynden Road East. But during the pandemic, they sold their herd and switched to Wagyu cattle from start to finish.

He’s glad that they did.

“They’re easy to be around, they’re not aggressive, not saucy,” said Eadie, referring to one of the breed’s unique characteristics.

Tri-Star Farm’s Wagyu experience is new, the family having only purchased initial registered stock from an Ontario breeder in 2021. The herd remains small, consisting of 10 cows and one bull, with plans to keep the calves for expansion. Eadie said the family is sending their first Wagyu to the abattoir this year.

Eadie grew up in Brantford, where his family ran a produce business. He eventually settled into a full time job with a Brantford trucking firm, which he still has.

Tri-Star got its name because three branches of the Eadie family own it: parents Brian and Jo-Anne, Ron and his wife, Debbie; and Ron’s sister, Carolyn Attilio and her husband, Notarandra. The family bought the farm in 1997, intending to keep race horses. Because the farm was previously vacant, the families installed fencing, paddocks and 48 acres of pasture on its sandy loam soil in addition to setting up their own residences.

But all three families worked full time off-farm, and “racing horses were a lot of work,” said Eadie.

Therefore, they transitioned from raising horses to Herefords. Everyone pitches in, including Eadie’s teen sons, Richard and William. Eadie’s daughter, Kate, now studying at Queen’s University, helps out when she’s home.

Why did Eadie switch to Wagyu-- a Japanese breed that is cherished in Japan, but is still a boutique breed in Canada?

“I became more interested in quality, not quantity,” he said.

Purebred Wagyu are valued for their natural intramuscular fat or marbling and tender cuts, which melt away to produce a buttery-tasting beef upon cooking. Their beef rankings start at Prime and go higher—the coveted cuts that restaurateurs and gourmets prefer.

Proponents say that the breed’s high fat content consists mainly of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and high levels of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are crucial for many body processes. It also has more conjugated linoleic acid and lower cholesterol levels than most beef breeds, along with a low melting point.

Often dubbed the world’s most expensive and exclusive beef, Wagyu beef sales are slowly becoming more commonplace in Canada.

It takes longer for Wagyu to develop the marbling and juicy fat content that gourmets crave.

Eadie said that he intends to finish off his abattoir-bound Wagyu between 1200 to 1300 pounds.

But this docile, easy-going breed doesn’t grow as big as other cattle such as Angus. They consume less feed in the same time period, with the gain they do put on going directly to fat. Calving is generally easier, as Wagyu calves are smaller than other newborn bovines.

Tri-Star Farm practises rotational grazing, moving the herd weekly to greener pastures as each field gets grazed down. The family installed underground piping and water bowls in the fields. They purchase second-cut alfalfa as winter feed, which Eadie prefers because of its higher protein content.

This outdoor, grass-fed rotation suits the families’ lifestyles, although Brian and Jo-Anne are now retired. Relatives from one of the three households fill in with the chores when another one must be away from the farm, said Eadie.

The arrangement enables Eadie to associate with the regional farm community, notably as a 4-H leader with the Brant 4-H Cattle and Tractor Clubs. He also hosted a Wagyu farm tour for the 4-H Clover Buds last summer.

“The kids have a lot of fun with them.”

Tri-Star Farm exhibited their cattle at the Paris Fair during several summers, including two Wagyu in 2023. Their “veteran” show cow – Molly, a 13-year old Charolais-Hereford cross that Kate exhibited in her youth -- is still bred to the bull and hangs out with the herd and the resident donkey.

“I enjoy the Wagyu,” said Eadie. “However, for me, it’s not a business but a hobby.”

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