Alliance has launched a premium Wagyu beef offer to farmers in a bid to increase value and meet consumer demand in its international markets.
The red meat cooperative is partnering with Southern Stations Wagyu which will provide the genetics from its Australian based Red Wagyu bulls to farmers here.
Farmers can sign a supply contract for cattle with a minimum of 50 per cent red or black Wagyu genetics.
Red Wagyu and black Wagyu are different breeds of Japanese cattle, both known for their high intramuscular fat content and marbling ability.
Farmers who take part could be rewarded with premiums of between 40c and $3 a kilo above schedule price if cattle meet certain marbling, pH levels, fat colour and meat colour specifications.
Alliance category beef director Darren Drury said customers in the US, China and other Asian markets had signalled strong interest in New Zealand Wagyu.
"New Zealand has a very different tone of how we sell meat, traditionally Wagyu meat is heavily marbled because it's been intensively farmed through grain feed systems.
"What we're doing in New Zealand is we're really trying to focus in on the fact that we're using our traditional way of raising animals, which is on pasture. And then we're just trying to finish the animals through various different feeds to provide that marbling and fat colour.
"So we're really not focusing on the traditional grain feed segment. We're really trying to do things a little bit differently."
Drury said farmer interest in the programme had been high.
"A big part of it is actually educating the farmers about what the programmes mean, what they'll need to do on the farm that's different and how they can create the right animals that will give them the best results.
"So, we're in our early days yet but it's certainly a really interesting opportunity for farmers to participate in the value-added part of the business."
Farmers who start the programme now will have fully grown Wagyu ready for processing in about three years, Drury said.