Had an interesting discussion with a retired dairy farmer from central valley of Cal.

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waihou

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We have been seeing a similar thing here in Oregon and its been going on for at least the last 8-10 years.

They get more for drop calves if they are beef x and some of the weaning age heifers are selling for more than pure beef cattle.

Saw a Jersey x Brahman heifer sell in Eugene/Junction City auction for $850 and she was 2 weeks old! The following week similar crosses were still $600-700 for beef x bottle calves. Some locals will snatch up every beef x jersey bull calf since they say the meat is really good.

I also know that the jersey x angus and holstein x angus cows make really good ET receips.

We were going to buy and import semen for New Zealand for Murray Grey semen (didn't quite work out) and the breeder said his largest semen buyers are dairies. He even buys back some calves and finishes them at his place. Not a bad deal!
Yes, we Murray Grey breeders here in NZ sell most of our bulls to dairy herds. Some of the bigger herds will buy 6 at a time. We never have enough!

Murray Greys have got the reputation for being easy calving over yearling heifers and then have a good survival rate and grow like weeds.
Their weights often deceive the buyers. We just sold 2 yearling bulls in a 'service bull sale' they were just 13 months old. Entirely grass reared and we are just coming out of a wet winter, they stay outside year round. They weighed avg 423 kgs (932lbs) over the saleyard scales. The guy on the scales asked if they were 2 year olds.

The most popular beef breed in use over dairy herds here are Herefords as the black/white faced calves fetch the highest prices in the calf sales for fattening because of their growth and early finishing before their 2nd winter.
For the dairy herds easy calving is the aim, not the production of calves for fattening once the elite heifers are picked. Although there is now more of a move to sell them to grow on, driven by the welfare lobby to eliminate the culling of week old surplus dairy calves. So they are turning to beef breeds which will produce a calf easily and will fatten quickly as well.

There is no colour prejudices in the meat works here though, the heaviest, best finished, carcase gets the best price, regardless of the colour of its hide!
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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NY is the 3rd largest dairy state. As mentioned, when the sexed semen came out, dairies went crazy breeding everything with heifer sexed semen - flooding the market with dairy heifers.
They wizened up and now breed just their top end to heifer sexed semen and breed the rest to bull sexed semen, giving them a "saleable" product.
 

Ridgetop

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Bought mixed Angus/Holstein calves for years to raise as veal for fairs (big 4-H dairy goat herd needed to stay in milk all year). Also bought Holstein bull calves to raise for auction outside of fair. 30 years ago dairy farmers were using Angus bulls on their first fresheners for easier calving low birthrate calves on heifers. Since dairy farmers are struggling, it only makes sense to put Angus bulls on all cows unless you want particular breedings on certain high yield cows or replacement heifers. Black calves will bring more from the calf man (who raises them for sale as beef feeders) than Holstein calves. Black calves will bring more as feeders than Holsteins. Simply god business sense in today' cattle market. Using sexed semen to produce high yielding dairy replacement heifers is good business sense too.
 

Warren Allison

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Ever since I can remember, , the dairies around here ( when there used to be dairies), bred heifers, and a lot of their milkers, to Angus bulls. Well the younger dairymen ( my dad's age, so they'd be 90 years old or more now) did. The older ones (my grandpa's age, so they be 120-125 years old if they were still around) used Jersey bulls on heifers. then Holsteins for the cows. They thought the cow didn't make as much milk when carrying a beef calf vs a dairy calf! LOL. In the early 70's, a lot started using Brahma bulls, too.

I guess these days, with using sexed semen AI, they can tailor their calving with both heifers and milkers, to get what they want, when they want. That way, they don;t have to fool with selling dairy bull calves, or half-dairy heifer calves.
 

Stickney94

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Been watching bull sale results and last few years Grimmius out of California has paid big money for extreme frame size, carcass EPD bulls. I believe they are a big dairy.

This. Grimmius (and some other large dairy groups) have been buying high priced bulls for a few years. Grimmius now has a stud catalog out.

Those dairies (and some beef groups) all have the same goal -- using DNA/sexed semen/technology -- to remove much of the variation in the beef industry and create a product far more like the poultry and hog industries in terms of consistent carcass, gain time, feed efficiency, etc.
 

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