Friday, November 29, 2013

Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cattle

With so many cattle breeds today, choosing which one to grow on your ranch can become quite difficult. Each breed has a wide variety of characteristics that make it unique—some breeds are better suited to certain environments than others, and some are easier to manage. Despite the variety, one particular breed will surely fit your goals, so you should look into each breed to find the one that will suit your interest, resources, environment, and growing capacity.

Cattle breeds differ in size, color and markings, carcass traits, weather tolerance, etc., and are categorized either as horned, scurred (cattle selected to be polled but are historically known to be horned), or polled (cattle that have absolutely no horns). Some horned breeds have been infused with Angus genes in recent years, so the offspring are now polled. Popular European breeds such as Gelbvieh, Limousin, Salers, and Simmental now come in polled versions, if you wish.

Beef breeds are leaner and stockier than dairy breeds, because the former are meant for beef production rather than milking. Many beef breeds were originally bred for size and strength—so they can be used to pull carts, plows, and wagons—as well as for beef. When farm machinery and trucks became widespread, the muscled beef breeds ceased to be used for basic labor and started to be selectively bred solely for beef production.


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