I'm still at it...which breed?

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Anonymous

Many thanks to all who have responded. I've gotten so much info I'm having trouble narrowing the field. Although I love cattle, this needs to be a profit generating operation. Do I need the rarer imports to create a niche market? I will be farming (for the most part) with only my children and myself and we have only 100 ac. (about 30% forested). Good streams and temperate (Northern VA) climate. Seriously considering direct marketing for "freezer" beef. I have the time and interest to do the marketing myself. Not into pulling calves and looking for some efficiency in the cows. Suppose breeding stock availibility is an issue and docility (as stated before) is a very important consideration, considering the handlers! Again, many thanks to all for info, opinion, experience, etc. Joan
 
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Anonymous

Don't break your head just go Black as many people does or as easy as checking breeders near your farm and go with whatever they are breeding.

That should be a good beganing.

> Many thanks to all who have
> responded. I've gotten so much
> info I'm having trouble narrowing
> the field. Although I love cattle,
> this needs to be a profit
> generating operation. Do I need
> the rarer imports to create a
> niche market? I will be farming
> (for the most part) with only my
> children and myself and we have
> only 100 ac. (about 30% forested).
> Good streams and temperate
> (Northern VA) climate. Seriously
> considering direct marketing for
> "freezer" beef. I have
> the time and interest to do the
> marketing myself. Not into pulling
> calves and looking for some
> efficiency in the cows. Suppose
> breeding stock availibility is an
> issue and docility (as stated
> before) is a very important
> consideration, considering the
> handlers! Again, many thanks to
> all for info, opinion, experience,
> etc. Joan

[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

If your main market is going to be freezer beef I highly doubt that most of your customers will care what breed your cattle are. They are going to be most concerned about having a consistent, flavorful, and tender piece of meat.

Consequently, I would select good crossbred cows to start with. Research shows that crossbred cows are more efficient and will stay productive in the herd longer than their purebred half siblings. One of the best, and quickly becoming one of the most popular crossbred cows is a Gelbvieh/Angus or Gelbvieh/Red Angus.

Since you will be selling primarily freezer beef (I assume to people that will pay a premium for quality) you will want to maintain at least 1/2 British breeding (includes Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, Galloway, and South Devon). So your bull should be at least 1/2 of one of the British breeds listed above. However, you may give up some performance with Galloways, Herefords, and Shorthorns.

If you are concerned about giving up performance, you may want to breed your Gelbvieh/Angus cows to a good hybrid bull that is half British and half Continental (i.e. Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, Gelbvieh, etc.). The resulting progeny from your crossbred cows and bulls will still be 1/2 British and 1/2 Continental, which should result in good marbling, high yielding carcasses.
 
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Anonymous

If you are thinking a specialty freezer beef operation, ask yourself what means good beef to most people? If you can think of a brand name, that should tell you what will help you sell beef. It is possible to raise good beef with one parent being of a breed that is noted for carcass quality. This would allow you to buy cheaper cows and use a quality bull in your operation.

When you decide on your breed, find a breeder you trust to guide you through the process from getting the first cows (from him/her or 1 of their customers) to selling the processed beef. Not all will be willing to spend the time, but some are. There has to be some pay off for the mentor, the sale of breeding stock directly or indirectly will be the most common.

Be prepared not to generate any income for at least 1 full year after the purchase of bred stock.

Jason Trowbridge Southern Angus Farms Alberta Canada

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

If you are looking for a freezer market animal, easy calving, easy to finish on grass, easy to handle, good mothers, etc., I'm sure there are many good choices, but we chose Murray Greys. Even the bulls are gentle and easy-going, and the cows are gentle enough to milk. We have one we milk every year for about 6 weeks when she calves. We grow and manage our cattle organically and market grass finished beef directly to consumers. All they eat is grass from our pastures or hay made from that grass plus salt and minerals. The beef is tender and has a superior taste. We're very satisifed with our Greys, and we live in South Central Kentucky, with mostly fescue pastures.

Alison Wiediger Au Naturel Farm <A HREF="http://aunaturelfarm.homestead.com" TARGET="_blank">http://aunaturelfarm.homestead.com</A>

> Many thanks to all who have
> responded. I've gotten so much
> info I'm having trouble narrowing
> the field. Although I love cattle,
> this needs to be a profit
> generating operation. Do I need
> the rarer imports to create a
> niche market? I will be farming
> (for the most part) with only my
> children and myself and we have
> only 100 ac. (about 30% forested).
> Good streams and temperate
> (Northern VA) climate. Seriously
> considering direct marketing for
> "freezer" beef. I have
> the time and interest to do the
> marketing myself. Not into pulling
> calves and looking for some
> efficiency in the cows. Suppose
> breeding stock availibility is an
> issue and docility (as stated
> before) is a very important
> consideration, considering the
> handlers! Again, many thanks to
> all for info, opinion, experience,
> etc. Joan

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

I don't think that rarer necessarily equates into niche marketing. Many times also the rarer breeds will not be cost effective due to high startup costs to find and purchase rare breeding stock. I would personally for my cow base go with Gelbviehs and some Red Angus/Gelbvieh Balancers. Those animals will be very effective beef producers for you. If you are just interested in producing beef for the freezer trade I would breed the cow herd to a low BW high CE Limousin bull as a terminal sire and use all the resulting calves as slaughter animals. But if you plan on using some of the calves as replacements I would go with a Balancer bull, this way you won't be sacrificing maternal traits in your replacements.
> niche market? I will be farming
> (for the most part) with only my
> children and myself and we have
> only 100 ac. (about 30% forested).
> Good streams and temperate
> (Northern VA) climate. Seriously
> considering direct marketing for
> "freezer" beef. I have
> the time and interest to do the
> marketing myself. Not into pulling
> calves and looking for some
> efficiency in the cows. Suppose
> breeding stock availibility is an
> issue and docility (as stated
> before) is a very important
> consideration, considering the
> handlers! Again, many thanks to
> all for info, opinion, experience,
> etc. Joan

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Check your area to see what breeding stock is avaLIABLE.. Odds are you will find Black Angus, they fit your needs, good mother ,gentle to handle,raise high quality beef. I Have about a 100 ac. in Tennessee. I love shorthorns, but a few years ago when i got back into cattle, I looked around and ask every one ,at sale barns ,my friends, etc. I found Black angus to be readily able to be pruchased. High quality cows at a good price.Hereford were around ,and about anthing else in small numbers.. See what is grown in your area, if you can buy ten or 15 older cows off of one farm that give them their shot..That what I would do, OF CORSE I WOULD THEM TO BE BLACK ANGUS...Or a angus/hereford cross.

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

> If you are looking for a freezer
> market animal, easy calving, easy
> to finish on grass, easy to
> handle, good mothers, etc., I'm
> sure there are many good choices,
> but we chose Murray Greys. Even
> the bulls are gentle and
> easy-going, and the cows are
> gentle enough to milk. We have one
> we milk every year for about 6
> weeks when she calves. We grow and
> manage our cattle organically and
> market grass finished beef
> directly to consumers. All they
> eat is grass from our pastures or
> hay made from that grass plus salt
> and minerals. The beef is tender
> and has a superior taste. We're
> very satisifed with our Greys, and
> we live in South Central Kentucky,
> with mostly fescue pastures. I alison on the murray greys i am only just starting myself, and had looked @ different breeds for two years, before choosing murray grey . they are very gentle , my 2& 3 year old run around the feild with them and the cows don't even mind, they even let the kids walk up and pet them. mine also only eat pasture& our own hay in winter ,they don't seem to mind the cold either. i live in south/west PA.
> Alison Wiediger Au Naturel Farm
> <A HREF="http://aunaturelfarm.homestead.com" TARGET="_blank">http://aunaturelfarm.homestead.com</A>
 
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Anonymous

i wounldnt do the niche thing. or buy anything rare or unusual. although occasionally people get rich quick doing it, more often than not, they dont. take the emu breeders for instance, no packing and no inspectors lead to a bunch of emus running loose everywhere.

anyway, i live in georgia and all or at least most of our cows are either half beefmaster or brangus and these two breeds are my personal favorites. we use charolais, simmental, or limousinXangus bulls on them. the beefmasters are very docile, and OUR brangus are too, it just depends mostly on how they are treated and how often they are handled.

right now you cant go wrong with angus or brangus. i personally prefer brangus. you could look into buying some herefords and breeding them to a brangus as well.
 

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