beef - dairy cross

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Anonymous

After a few years of practicing on small acres, we have bought a farm in the north east. One of the ventures we're considering, in addition to crop farming, is raising holstein heffer replacements [this is a dairy area]. We were considering crossing them with a beef bull [angus?], and retaining the calves to raise and sell as freezer beef, and selling the heffers as fresh replacements. Has anyone done this? If we can't sell all the freezer beef, is there any value to these crosses at the sale barn? Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Anonymous

Most dairies I am familiar with have long used the angus semen to freshen their milkers. About the only time one would breed the holstein to a fantastic bull is if she is a wondrous milker... but the angus calves are small, and the end result is a milking holstein...how she gets there doesn't necessarily seem too important. Dad used to buy these angus/holstein calves to put on the family cow...making more beef raised per cow on our place. With the small angus calf, it is an easy birth which is one of the other factors to consider for a first calf heifer.... also... I thought if you raised replacement heifers, you sold them pregnant...?

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Anonymous

Although there is somewhat of a shortage of replacement heifers you really need to research and find what the dairymen in your area are looking for. Unless sired by one of the top bulls and out of a proven cow, proven with DHIA records to back it up you may find a small market for heifers. Most dairies won't even sell their dairy heifers as calves. Where will you get the ones you plan to raise. AngusXHolstein calves do sell better then straight Holstein but are inferior to pure beef. As the get closer to weaning age the Holstein starts to really show through. Unless you have a lot of realy top pasture or plan on feeding quality hay, the cross bred heifers aren't all that economical to raise as producing beef cows either. They also usually have too darn much milk for one calf. Just thoughts from having tried it.

dunmovin farms
> Most dairies I am familiar with
> have long used the angus semen to
> freshen their milkers. About the
> only time one would breed the
> holstein to a fantastic bull is if
> she is a wondrous milker... but
> the angus calves are small, and
> the end result is a milking
> holstein...how she gets there
> doesn't necessarily seem too
> important. Dad used to buy these
> angus/holstein calves to put on
> the family cow...making more beef
> raised per cow on our place. With
> the small angus calf, it is an
> easy birth which is one of the
> other factors to consider for a
> first calf heifer.... also... I
> thought if you raised replacement
> heifers, you sold them
> pregnant...?
 
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Anonymous

I sort of toyed with the idea of raising replacement heifers FOR the local dairymen... you know, boarding them so to speak and giving lots of hands on training, but decided against it since most dairymen are usually well-set up for doing their own thing.

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Anonymous

We've watched the local sale barn, holstein calves go for $400 to $650, fresh heffers go for $1200 to $1700. We'll have good grass. It seems the return is as good as, or better than most anything else. Am I missing something? Thanks for all the help, we're still open to all options.

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Anonymous

Word of caution- dairy heifer calves going through salebarns are frequently twins to a bull and have a high probability of being freemartins. That's usually the reason the dairys sell them rather then raising them for replacements

dunmovin farms

> We've watched the local sale barn,
> holstein calves go for $400 to
> $650, fresh heffers go for $1200
> to $1700. We'll have good grass.
> It seems the return is as good as,
> or better than most anything else.
> Am I missing something? Thanks for
> all the help, we're still open to
> all options.
 
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Anonymous

Thanks, dunmovin, I want to be you when I grow up. Steep learning curves stink. Would the weight of the calf be a clue? Would a 100lb calf with a naval cord still be a freemartin? Our other thought was to run a small herd of angus, it sounds like it might be a safer bet. Thanks again.

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Anonymous

A freemartin is the female in a mixed set of twins(bull and hefier). She will probably never be able to have a calf. So that is why she is being sold.

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Anonymous

I actually don't try to sound like a smart-ass know-it-all, just sometimes comes out that way. Here's another problem to thinnk about, health. If a dairyman knows he is going to just get rid of a calf, if the sale is close enough in time to the birth, they may not give it colostrum. Better if you want to go the Holsetin route is to find some local dairyperson, develop trust and confidence in him/her and buy calves directly from them. BW doesn't necessarilly mean a thing. Unfortunetly, there are unscruples b, folks that will unload a suspected freemartin without telling the salebarn. That's a 400 to 500 buck profit over what they would have gotten. To my warped way of thinking that's just plin stealing. Off the soap box now........

dunmovin farms

> Thanks, dunmovin, I want to be you
> when I grow up. Steep learning
> curves stink. Would the weight of
> the calf be a clue? Would a 100lb
> calf with a naval cord still be a
> freemartin? Our other thought was
> to run a small herd of angus, it
> sounds like it might be a safer
> bet. Thanks again.
 
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Anonymous

Dunmovin, This message board is blessed to have your input and knowledge. Us nubies really appreciate it. We've been buying calves for a amish dairyman we know. I guess I never thought about the risk of actually buying at auction [much different than just watching]. Thanks for the great advise. Alan

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Anonymous

> If you want to raise dairy replacements buy bigger calves. Heifers that are big enough to have been pregged to find that they are open and breedable. Most sale barns will do this at 600 to 700 pounds. Those will cost you more to start with but are safer. The problem with your original idea of keeping the cross bred calves is that selling a dairy heifer that has already calfed out will cause the buyers to dock the price of the heifer. I think they feel the heifer comes from a dairy that had problems with her. At least that is how it works around here. If I were keeping the calves out of holstein heifers I would breed them to a calving ease holstein bull because the heifers are worth so much. You don't need DHIA records to sell holstein springers right now. Good loking springers with no story are $2,000 at the sale barn here. All of the growth in the size dairies has caused an increase in the cull rate to the level where lots of them can no longer raise enough of their own heifers thus they are forced to buy replacements. Good Luck Dave
 
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Anonymous

a friend of mine who use to raise bottle babies started buying as many solid black holxangus heifers as he could before he quit.he bought a quality angus bull to breed them to and is raising great calves off them.

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