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Switching to beef cattle

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    Original Poster

    #41
    That's funny about the feedlots. I completely believe it. "My" babies loved to play. I would rub their backs as I went by and they would race in and out of their shelters, jumping and playing, before coming back for another vigour back rub. It was a good way to see that they felt good. The older babies went into big playpens and they had a great time playing. But the big milk cows could spook and smack you against the wall without even knowing what happened. Not aggressive at all, but they didn't seem to know their own size.

    We fed out a Holstein steer once. Too much bone and not enough meat. We had one of our small heritage cows that lost a calf and she was still mourning days later. Felt so bad for her that I picked a newborn Holstein bull calf and she was thrilled with him. Didn't care that he looked completely different from her.

    Comment


      #42
      Originally posted by MLOaks View Post

      Holsteins are different, aren't they? My first experience working with cattle was at a big dairy. These huge creatures were pretty docile, but their size made them dangerous. One wrong move and *splat* you went against a wall, lol. I was a calf feeder and also helped in the calving barn. Gave the heifer calves their bottle of colostrum and toweled them off (the bull calves were picked up by the local university for a colostrum replacement study, so we toweled them off and they got them within an hour or so). Sometimes, I'd get lucky and one of the other mama cows would come over and lick one of my charges before I moved her to a hutch. The cows typically gave birth and walked away.
      I know of more than one person killed by a Holstein bull. They are not to be messed with! Never underestimate a Holstein!
      "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

      Comment


        #43
        I don't think the OP is looking at Holsteins, but a smaller kind of meat breed, old type preferred.

        The belted Galloways she mentioned that we had around here were not very small, if not very large, definitively not little.

        The old type shorthorns around here were very nice cattle to handle and had very little health problems, sturdy and good mothers.
        They are also kind of bigger, but a good older breed, practically as good for meat as Angus, plus some lines can be used for milk.
        The roans are very pretty, is what many around here were.

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          Original Poster

          #44
          Originally posted by cutter99 View Post

          I know of more than one person killed by a Holstein bull. They are not to be messed with! Never underestimate a Holstein!
          That is so true! It's funny how sweet the cows are and how nasty the bull can be. Most dairies use AI, thank goodness.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #45
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
            I don't think the OP is looking at Holsteins, but a smaller kind of meat breed, old type preferred.

            The belted Galloways she mentioned that we had around here were not very small, if not very large, definitively not little.

            The old type shorthorns around here were very nice cattle to handle and had very little health problems, sturdy and good mothers.
            They are also kind of bigger, but a good older breed, practically as good for meat as Angus, plus some lines can be used for milk.
            The roans are very pretty, is what many around here were.
            My Godmother loves Shorthorns. They are a neat breed. I know the beef type is pretty common, but the dairy type is more rare.

            Still have our hearts set on Galloways, but we'll probably wait until another round of weanlings. All they have now are yearlings and they're harder to halter train. Plus, not feeding through winter is always a plus.

            Comment


              #46
              The Galloway cross (white) Shorthorn is called a Northumberland Blue Grey and is a lovely animal that is hardy enough to graze really rough moorland in the English/Scottush boarders and also winter out. They used to be really common in Northumberland until the introduction of big commercial breeds but there is now renewed interest because they are excellent for conservation grazing, require minimal inputs and produce top notch beef.
              "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #47
                Thank you for the info on the Northumberland Blue Grey!

                Comment


                  #48
                  We had two Dexter's once upon a time - still working our way through the beef which is hands down the best beef we've ever had (and we've been buying direct from small producers for years. Everything from Texas Longhorn to black angus). So, so good. They lived with the horses and ate the horse hay. Nothing else. I'm dying to figure out a way to do it again (small farm, not much space).

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #49
                    Originally posted by Pehsness View Post
                    We had two Dexter's once upon a time - still working our way through the beef which is hands down the best beef we've ever had (and we've been buying direct from small producers for years. Everything from Texas Longhorn to black angus). So, so good. They lived with the horses and ate the horse hay. Nothing else. I'm dying to figure out a way to do it again (small farm, not much space).
                    You can buy two small cows and AI them. Beef the calves. Dexter beef is quite good, but the steaks are small. Also, do your research on chondrodysplasia and PHA in Dexters. These smaller breeds are really important genetic pools, but many breeds have genetic issues to watch for, especially if the breeding pool was reduced too far.

                    Comment


                      #50
                      I'd buy Corrientes and throw a Charolais bull on them.
                      Corrientes are a very hardy bred, disease resistant and can live off weeds.
                      Being ranch raised I have ate a lot of ranch raised beef and out of range raised and especially if brought down to finish on Clover in the late summer/fall, Corrientes and Holsteins have been the best.
                      The Charolais will give your calves more a beef breed look, finish and gain you're looking for to be marketable, in my opinion and in my area.
                      Not sure where you are located. I'd suggest researching rather than buying a novelty breed which may not appeal to your local market.
                      Novelty breeds are a niche market where I'm at. While cute to look at driving by, can be a hard sell for meat. Especially where commercial beef, sport cattle and dairy breeds like Holsteins are easy to come by.

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #51
                        Interesting thoughts, Aces N Eights.

                        Comment


                          #52
                          Originally posted by MLOaks View Post
                          Interesting thoughts, Aces N Eights.
                          I'm not very articulate...
                          So my point is, pick a breed that works with the country you're running your cattle on and is marketable for your area.

                          I can come by Corrientes easily, (sport cattle like them can actually gain while being used for cutting or roping depending on how fed =additional income if decide to lease out sport cattle) they are eye catching when driving by, they gain well on the ground/grass I have available and a cross on a breed like Charalois crosses well or even an Angus.

                          But if you're in an area not familiar with the breed it might be a hard sell out of your place rather than crossing them and selling your calves at the sale barn. How you are marketing may be a consideration.

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #53
                            All very good points, Aces. We've been to the cattle auction several times to see what sells well. We also have our own preferences. For example, I don't want to deal with horns anymore (no one seems to, judging from the auctions), hence looking for a polled breed this time. It is hard to sell a horned cow around here. Even my trained horned heifers were difficult. Dehorning calves is a pain in the butt, and if you're a bit late, it's even worse to deal with. Our herd sire always had horns, but since we're going with AI, nothing will

                            Comment


                              #54
                              I have a question. Why not Wagyu? They don't look like big cows and it appears they command a premium for their beef. Just like when you go into the grocery store and "Angus Beef" has been marketed as a brand that conveys higher quality than regular beef. I don't know if it really tastes better but the brand is a pretty strong one. And Wagyu has a brand that it is premium beef too but I don't know if that brand really translates into higher prices. I am just curious why more people do not go the Wagyu route.

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #55
                                That's a good question. For people with a lot of land, there are many good choices. Angus and Brangus (for our region) are good sellers at auction.

                                However, those of us with less pasture and an interest in developing seedstock (breeding animals) we can't compete. Personally, I have an interest in preserving heritage breeds of cattle for their genetics. I made a small difference with the last breed I raised, but that was more dairy than beef, so I'm picking a beef heritage breed this time.

                                Making money with cattle is very difficult for small producers (or anyone, really). The best I can hope for is to fill our freezer and have buyers for our registered heifers.

                                Comment


                                  #56
                                  Originally posted by MLOaks View Post
                                  All very good points, Aces. We've been to the cattle auction several times to see what sells well. We also have our own preferences. For example, I don't want to deal with horns anymore (no one seems to, judging from the auctions), hence looking for a polled breed this time. It is hard to sell a horned cow around here. Even my trained horned heifers were difficult. Dehorning calves is a pain in the butt, and if you're a bit late, it's even worse to deal with. Our herd sire always had horns, but since we're going with AI, nothing will
                                  Your requirement of being polled while skimming through the comments got lost before I responded. Apologies!

                                  Best of luck to you. Small number production can be tough, not a whole lot of room for absorption as you know from your previous experience. I hope you find that niche and continue to grow!

                                  Comment

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