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MikeC

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By Clint Peck Senior Editor

Feb 1, 2006 12:00 PM


Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is the performance advantage crossbreds wield over the average of their straightbred parents. Maximum heterosis is realized in the first cross of distinctly different parents.

Heterosis and complementarity are powerful forces that combine to produce the total advantage of beef cattle crossbreeding. It's an advantage that can amount to as much as 25% greater lifetime productivity — pounds of calf weaned per cow exposed — for crossbred cows as compared to straightbred cows, says Jim Gosey, recently retired University of Nebraska (UN) Extension beef specialist.
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In other words, a Bos Taurus X Bos Indicus will give MAXIMUM heterosis.

Breed complimentarity is entirely another effect.
 

SCRUBS620

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lead_dog":36mae6p7 said:
I'm still finalizing many of those details, and, honestly, don't have to have those finalized for over a year. There are small processors around, but I'm not sure how I'll do the packaging yet.

There is definitely interest, if you market to the right group. I don't know much about maximizing heterosis, but I know marketing and reaching affluent customers.

There are others doing this (selling smaller cuts in 20 pound packs or so) on a small basis, charging in the range of $6.50-$7.00 per pound for packs that include ground beef, roasts and steak. If you can get close to 400 pounds of meat, you can do the math of what that works out to.

Have you actually talked to anyone who has done this? I would love to get into something along those lines but I have always understood that the requirements are a big hassle. Have you checked into getting FDA approval? It is my understanding that your labeling must be approved by the FDA. Will the processors in your area have the inspectors available to meet that requirement?

As for the heterosis issue - I think your forum was hijacked. You dont need a five way cross. Get a good F1 cross mama cow (hereford x angus) and put an even better bull on them. As long as your not going to be selling the calves coat color does not matter. Have you thought about just getting some calves from a good producer to fatten out first to see what it is like? Getting calves to market weight can be a challenge, do you want the challenge of building a herd while you are learning to do that? Building a good cow herd is a big expense that will not start paying for at least 2 to 3 years and will take many years to pay off. Get some calves while your building the herd and you'll have income while you get established (plus fully using your pasture will do it some good). You might be able to estimate better how many mama cows and how many butcher beef you can support. It will take two years to get a calf born on your place to finish on grass. This means you will not only be grazing the mamas (who will be supporting a calf) but also yearlings and ones getting ready to finish. So year one you would have 1200lbs of cow, 400 lbs of calf. Year two you would have 1200lbs of cow, 400 lbs of calf, and a 800 yearling. Year three you would have 1200 lbs of cow, 400 lbs of calf, 800 lbs of yearling, and 1200 lbs of butcher ready beef. There is going to be 3600 lbs of beef that needs to be supported by your pasture for every butcher beef you want to sell annually. Find out how many animal units (1000 lbs of animal) pasture in your area can support. I would say that you are going to have to divide whatever the normal stocking rate in your area by three (if everyone else stocks 1 cow per acre you could stock one cow for every three acres and still have enough reserve to finish them) Even with that consider the fact that your are not just trying to maintain a good portion of that. You have to be able to make them gain weight fast enough to finish well. You cant poke along on the rate of gain and end up with a tender product that someone will be willing to pay a premium for.
 

novatech

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MikeC":36zqp3gk said:
By Clint Peck Senior Editor

Feb 1, 2006 12:00 PM


Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is the performance advantage crossbreds wield over the average of their straightbred parents. Maximum heterosis is realized in the first cross of distinctly different parents.

Heterosis and complementarity are powerful forces that combine to produce the total advantage of beef cattle crossbreeding. It's an advantage that can amount to as much as 25% greater lifetime productivity — pounds of calf weaned per cow exposed — for crossbred cows as compared to straightbred cows, says Jim Gosey, recently retired University of Nebraska (UN) Extension beef specialist.
********************************************

In other words, a Bos Taurus X Bos Indicus will give MAXIMUM heterosis.

Breed complimentarity is entirely another effect.

I agree with this but I do have a question. It is common to breed this F1 cross with another breed to get a terminal calf. I have heard that a continental breed is best (still bos taurus). So is there any gain in herterosis or a decline in heterosis?
 

KNERSIE

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To optimise heteroses in a three way cross you need the breeds to be as distantly realted as can be.

a british x bos indicus cow bred to a continental bull should do this for you. You have them maximised the maternal ability through complimentary breeding and heterosis and in the terminal cross with a continental breed you get the added growth from the continental sire in combination of the effect of heterosis.
 

Angus Guy

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With only 50a of pasture are you going to be short on pasture? I realize that you have a longer growing season but drought/to much rain/ and any number of reasons can make grass in short supply. My thinking to optimize your limited resources is to buy calves and finish them rather than try to run a cow herd to. In other words do one not both.
 

MoGal

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Dealing with the halves and quarters you dont need a usda inspected plant. Simply sell the beef hanging on the rail by rail weight the customer pays all processing costs thus you are not selling packaged beef. $2.50 PER POUND ON AN 8 WEIGHT CARCASS GETS YOU $2,000.00 PER ANIMAL LESS PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH.

That's how I purchased a pig a few months back... I paid the processing and told them how I wanted it cut up. The man hauled it to the processing plant and when I picked up my pork I left a check there for the man who owned the pig as well.

Just remember there aren't ANY studies done that show purebred out performs a crossbred cow. I have red polls and as was mentioned, they do seem like they lack a butt and I'm crossing my red poll bull to charolais and char x cows and plan on keeping the heifers from that cross. I'm looking forward to the first of them hitting the ground in May.

Eventually the hubby and I will have a young herd of cows that will perform well on our forage and management.
 
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Tons of great comments..thanks! Now, let me respond to a few:

Scrubs620 - Yes, I have spoken to people doing it. You're right there are hassles, but there are hassles in most businesses. This is the 4th business I've started and none have been without funding, marketing or approval hassles. Regarding heterosis, I really like the idea of starting with a solid Murray Grey X Senepol. We can see what the herd needs from there. You're right that it will take time, and I know that and I'm factoring it in, but our mission is a long term one. We not only want to raise a great herd, more importantly, we want to ensure humane treatment to animals and the best nutrition/health as possible. That's why I don't want to buy others and sell calves...I'd rather ensure the finishing and processing is done to achieve our goals.

Quality Cattle - Thanks, and yes, a good slaughter house/packing facility is what we're looking for. The problem is that we'd like to find one that ONLY processes forage based animals, and that's the challenge. You're completely right that selling quarters and halves is easier in terms of regulations and serving customers. But, A) that cuts off a large segment of customers and B) I'm comfortable with the marketing and customer service issues. But I think your idea is a great one to add as an option for those who want a quarter or a half.

Angus Guy - Yes, I'll be short on pasture. I have about 50 acres of pasture, but 75 total, and am agressively improving it this year (without fertilizer). This includes putting in wells and pipes to distribute water to numerous temporary paddocks. If we're successful, we'll either rent land or buy more land. I can also convert some wooded areas into pasture. I think we'll be successful because I see a big movement in this area of upscale consumers wanting to consume healthy beef COMBINED with wanting to know it was raised humanely.
 

Brandonm2

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I don't want to be the voice of extreme negativity; BUT 200 acres is a SMALL farm (I know, we had 133)....50 acres is almost tiny. Think twice before cutting every tree. The oldtimers often let hilltops, bottoms, slopes, fence rows, etc growup in trees for a reason and it usually was because of too much rock or too prevent erosion and the cows need some shade. Assuming you can bump that up to 60 acres, running more than 40 moma cows will be a challenge.
 

MoGal

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http://www.kaysfarm.com/Galloway.html


they have several good links on there that talk about grass fed beef.

I don't know that Galloway would fit into your environment there, but perhaps you might be able to find some crossbred cows. In fact one of the sites I just was looking at said they used Galloways after WWII on herefords to get them polled. So I wonder if polled herefords perhaps have Galloways way back in the registry?
 

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lead dog---from the voice of experience:

If you have TENDER beef, you will only have to capture
that customer ONE TIME....and that customer will be
your absolutely best advertising source. All the advice
we have received about "rates of gain", etc are totally
useless if the beef is NOT TENDER at the end. It is not
important to us if the steer gains 1.5 lbs per day versus
1.75 or 2 lbs per day.....that kind of thing does matter
to the folks that are in the commodity chain of production
i.e. the cow/calf/stocker/feedlot business. For us, the
genetic predisposition for tenderness is the starting
point.....then we have to take it from there to assure
a reasonable rate of gain(no set-backs which = tough
beef). Of course, your mileage may vary!! All IMO naturally!

P.S. One of the most difficult things for us was to find
an honest processor that would:
a. cut it the way we wanted
b. would not steal for their own meat market

We take our steers over 50 miles to one that we trust;
and are very thankful that we found him.
 
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OK Jeanne":212n12yz said:
lead dog---from the voice of experience:

If you have TENDER beef, you will only have to capture
that customer ONE TIME....

You're totally right, and that's my point exactly, which is why I'm trying to start off right. I know that I have a tiny farm, but that's my goal exactly. We don't want to have a huge farm...huge is what's wrong with everything.

I think if we really improve the pasture, and start with a Murray-Grey/Senepol cross, we'll have a great start. And you're right about finding the right processor...others here drive over the border to Tennessee to a good processor. We're close to the University of Georgia, and they also have a USDA facility.
 

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lead_dog":2hm8dd3o said:
I think if we really improve the pasture, and start with a Murray-Grey/Senepol cross, we'll have a great start.

From my experience with Senepol in a hot humid subtropical or tropical climate you wont be disappointed with their heat tolerance and tick resistance (no need for chemical treatment$$$).

In June my Murray Greys heifers will have dropped their AI'd Murray Grey/Senepol calves and I'll post some pictures here.
 

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Back to the NRCS grants for grazing. Take full advantage of all they have to offer. They will also cost share for putting in ponds and wells. The grazing program is for 3 years. They pay 40% the first year. 25% the second year and 15% the third year. By breaking the farm in half and putting 25 acres in this year and 25 acres in 2 years from now you will spread it out over 5 years. It should be more than enough to pay for your fences and pasture improvements. Again, Good Luck
 
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lead_dog

lead_dog

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Thanks Shorthorn. Yeah, I already had NRCS out and they are excited about helping us, given what we want to do. They said they could help with the entire perimeter fencing and doing woven wire, if we wanted to keep goats in. Further, if I keep the fence 100' from the stream, they'll plant dogwoods, etc. to help restore the creek banks.

As you said, they can also help with a well or pond and offsetting the cost of running irrigation lines and spigots, since we'll be rotationally grazing. A great resource!
 
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BTW, to close this out, I have decided to go with Murray Greys for my purpose and, initially, to not cross with anything. I can re-evaluate that over time if needed.

Thanks for all the great and helpful posts!
 

KNERSIE

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lead_dog":3pyf9ae7 said:
BTW, to close this out, I have decided to go with Murray Greys for my purpose and, initially, to not cross with anything. I can re-evaluate that over time if needed.

Thanks for all the great and helpful posts!

Although I breed herefords and feel you could get the same advantage form using herefords or baldies than you could get from the murray Greys, I think you've made a good choice. The deciding factor however is going to be the type within the breed and not so much the breed itself.

I've seen outstanding MG cattle from OK jeanne's website that will work great for your purpose, but I've also seen MG cattle posted on these boards that will not do as well. Take a look at Jeanne's website and try and get the same phenotype, regardless of what breed and I'll almost guarantee that you'll be successfull.
 
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Thanks Knersie. I did look at that website and agree. I'll carefully select the starting herd, and can't wait to get started!
 

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Why is it when anyone talks about goverment aid, the welfare band wagon pops up...In 1982 the US goverment gave the big three auto hundred of millions of dollars as a bail out... Now dodge is gone, and ford and chevy are sinking fast...If you decide not to use goverment programs great...The big guys (companys) and farmers/ranchers will be glad to use your share....As for me I will use evey penny that I can get and every program I can use...The federal buget is put forth a year in advance, and I bet every penny will get used whether you do it or not...I HAVE NOT GOT A PROBLEM WITH WELFARE,FOR PEOPLE, I DO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH WELFARE FOR BIG BUSINESS......
 

CowpokeJ

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Frankie":3vlmflts said:
I don't think a purebred bull on F1 cows gives you MAXIMUM heterosis. I think you can still get a bit more heterosis by adding additional breeds. You just have to be careful and not wind up with a bunch of mongrels in chasing maximum heterosis. Sometimes optimum is better than maximum.
So what's the advantage of maximum heterosis?
 

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