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Longhorns: Skinny or Full-Bodied?

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Anonymous

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I'm sure I'll get some "hits" on this post...lol. The "Old Traditional" Texas Longhorns that roamed the USA in the 19th century were definitely "rangy". In the 20th & 21st centuries breeders are doing a lot of selective breeding to change those earlier images.

If you're interested, go to your web browser and search for such full-bodied Longhorn bulls as: Senator, Overwhelmer, Don Julio, JR Seman, Redeemer's Redemption, Superman, and others that you find links to. You can also access the TLBAA's and ITLA's websites to check out their A.I. sires and other options. Can also search for running arrow farm or running arrow longhorns on your browser for some other photo examples. Another search option is to search for "Texas Longhorn Cattle" on your browser.

ITLA has a search option for members and their websites for more information and examples.

This is just an educational post to help those who aren't currently familiar with the conformation and overall size of the present types of Texas Longhorns being bred and raised.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
Just curious, Longhorn Bill, why are Longhorn breeders making these changes? Are they also breeding for more marbling (fat) in the beef? Will these changes affect the Longhorn's ability to be used on heifers? What about the spots? Most Longhorn breeders like to see those spotted calves. Why raise Longhorns if you're breeding out those traits that make them Longhorns?

> I'm sure I'll get some
> "hits" on this
> post...lol. The "Old
> Traditional" Texas Longhorns
> that roamed the USA in the 19th
> century were definitely
> "rangy". In the 20th
> & 21st centuries breeders are
> doing a lot of selective breeding
> to change those earlier images.

> If you're interested, go to your
> web browser and search for such
> full-bodied Longhorn bulls as:
> Senator, Overwhelmer, Don Julio,
> JR Seman, Redeemer's Redemption,
> Superman, and others that you find
> links to. You can also access the
> TLBAA's and ITLA's websites to
> check out their A.I. sires and
> other options. Can also search for
> running arrow farm or running
> arrow longhorns on your browser
> for some other photo examples.
> Another search option is to search
> for "Texas Longhorn
> Cattle" on your browser.

> ITLA has a search option for
> members and their websites for
> more information and examples.

> This is just an educational post
> to help those who aren't currently
> familiar with the conformation and
> overall size of the present types
> of Texas Longhorns being bred and
> raised.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
i, too, have a question & by no means want to start a major debate (we've been down that road before). i'm guessing this post was started because of my post on the "everything else" board. my response on that board was meant as kind of a fun hit at everyone on the board. we all have our preferences to breeds & colors & in fact, i would hope that anyone raising a particular breed is doing it either because they like certain attributes of the breed or because it's profitable, or hopefully, both.

i, too, have a question & by no means want to start a major debate (we've been down that road before). i have looked at some of the bulls you have referenced & indeed they do have some meat on them (but, you have to admit as well, that many of the cattle advertised on some of the websites look like the "typical", scrawny longhorns). the question then becomes, why not advertise this? on almost all longhorn sites i have looked at (& since your post have looked at many), if beef production is becoming a focus & these producers are looking to change their image, why are they only advertising & promoting horns? most "beef cattle" websites have epd's as well as performance data (body weights, not horn lengths or base). why aren't we seeing more weaning weights & yearling weights advertised? again, no offense & i'm not looking to start a battle, just curious myself.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
To the best of my knowledge, observations, talking with Longhorn people, there seems to be several "thrusts" in current breeding programs. These (I think) are:

1. Limited number of breeders trying to preserve the "older" Longhorn look.

2. Considerable number of breeders shooting for more full-bodied, BCS 5-6 level Longhorns. This category appears to be doing the most show winning in the TLBAA show circuit.

3. The "Butler" (one of 7 original Longhorn families) people who are shooting for very long twisty horns, and these tend to be lighter colored animals. The Butler lineage tends to have smaller hips.

4. The group of breeders that are shooting for (homogenous?) solid black and solid red Longhorns.

5. The breeders that are going for lots of color variation.

6. The higher dollar breeders who are breeding for 70, 80" plus horns (regardless of which of 7 families there are composed of genetically). These animals are bring VERY high premium prices at the Longhorn auctions: Often between $10,000 and $25,000 prices for cows. The bull semen for bulls that have 70 to 80+" of horn from large full-body conformation are often bringing $50 to $300 a straw.

7. The very few nitch market breeders who are hanging onto the "old" rangy Longhorn style and look.

8. The Wichita Refuge program which is 100% linebred, inbred herd which was started by the US Government years ago and produces calves with great body, maternal instincts.

9. Finally, the "variety" breeder who is breeding for one or more of the aforementioned classes to enable them to have marketing appeal to a wide audience of prospective buyers. Many of the current best Longhorns are considered "blends" of several family lineages.

At Running Arrow Farm, we are breeding for 4 primary traits: Horn Length, Full-body conformation, color, temperament. Regardless of the traits, temperament is a #1 priority for a "keeper"...we don't want to pass on "bad" attitudes to any calves or potential buyers. Achieving full-body conformation we are also able to expand our market to the commercial cattle people who are seeking a Longhorn for cross-breeding.

For more information on the "Seven Families" of Longhorns you can search for that on the web browser.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks TXAg for your comments and questions. I don't have a problem with you or others' comments. I also every day learn a lot from the other cattle breeders and their breeds that is very helpful. We are all dealing with the Bovine species.

I agree that some of the producers advertising their Longhorns are probably presenting more of a "middle of the road" longhorn (for whatever reason) in their advertisements.

I do not think that the Longhorn focus in breeding and marketing is attempting to shoot for the "beef" market (at this time anyway, and probably never), except for the Longhorn contribution of temperament, maternal instincts, easy low birth weight calving, etc.

There are some high dollar Longhorn ranchers out there who seem to be on a "one-upmanship" kick and seem to have no restraints on spending megabucks for the "longest horn" available. On the other hand, the trend in Longhorns for the past 20 years or so has been to consistently breed for longer horns...aka...Texas Longhorns.... At this point in time HORNS are selling and bringing megabucks on both Longhorn Auctions and Private Treaty Sales. The trend seems to be accelerating (this is not an Ostrich or Emu thing...lol). On the other hand, if you have a horned animals with 7 or 8 feet wide (or more), then it is pretty much going to retire at the place it lives! Not many trailers can accommodate a HUGE horn width! These very long horned animals are usually retained for breeding stock at one's ranch.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
> bill, my message has two parts: 1. what do you mean by a "middle of the road" longhorn?

2.in regard to what you said "the trend in Longhorns for the past 20 years or so has been to consistently breed for longer horns," i do not entirely agree with this. In the late 80's to mid 90's many, if not most, of the Texas Longhorn breeders were breeding for sound, productive, animals and moving more towards "beefy," full bodied animals, and the horns were an added bonus. I think that only in recent years has the industry moved toward producing large horned animals with little to no regard for body or conformation.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
i totally agree with your second statement, AND this is why i think that the Texas Longhorn industry will not, at least in the near future, become respected or thought of in the Beef industry. I think that once breeders start to care about the EPD's, Weight, Weight Gain, weaning weights, etc... then Longhorns can be recognized as a beef breed. Longhorns will not ever be thought of as anything other than a novelty or exotic until the breeders treat them as a beef breed.

I have been in the TX Longhorn business for almost 16yrs and i rarely measure my cow's horns. Sorry if this offends anyone, but to me it is the truth.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
Ryan, guess I didn't communicate very good on this post. What I meant was, based on horn length advertisements, etc., a trend seems to have been upward from the 40-50" horn to the present 60-80" horn (esp. at the shows, and horn measuring events). Agree that breeders have been increasing body conformation at same time.

My "middle-of-the-road longhorn" comment was meant to suggest that the "middle" Longhorn was composite of both horn and body--with a balanced look, but not on the extreme end of either body or horn. And, there are some exceptions to this impression: Huge, full-bodied animals with very long horns as with some of the past and current famous sires and dams who are commanding ever-increasing premium prices.

Hope this clarifies my naive or confused opinion...lol.

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A

Anonymous

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Ryan, if you are the Ryan I think you are, I agree with your program! As such ya'll have done VERY well in the breeding and show circuit. Your Longhorns have excellent body and conformation.

Regardless of what some of the Longhorn skeptics say, the Longhorn IS a beef breed (it ain't a dairy cow!). And, it can also be classified as an ornamental bovine.

Granted, a quality Longhorn cow is not in the 1400 - 1800 lb category; however, dynamite comes in small packages!

There is obviously a market for all types of body and horn styles of Texas Longhorns. That's what keeps our industry exciting. A Longhorn with great body conformation (along with horn)is am impressive sight to see.

Our program is directed toward BCS 5-6 & 900 - 1100 lb cows with horn and all colors. Bulls larger of course.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
I agree with much of what has been said and offer this: we have been breeding for continued improvement, but at the same time I feel that we have left the age of "old time ranchers" and have come into the age where we now understand nutrition on the same plane that non-longhorn people have been on for years. I feel the larger bodied animals are a direct result of :#1 cattle people own the majority of longhorns, they are not a place to hide income from the irs like they were in the 80's #2 cattle people will feed there animals for profitability, by actually providing adequate nutrition what we are seeing in bodies and horn is simply the expression of what was there all along,#3 there is very little use for the typical "old style" longhorn, the ropers don't want them the packers don't want them and the progressive breeders don't want them. It was said several years ago by a then prominant showman at a seminar that it doesn't cost anymore to raise good ones. Right now with the high beef prices it doesn't matter what breed you have there is no sense(cents) in keeping inferior cattle.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
I would say of the "traits" that make longhorns, longhorns "scrawny" is not even relavent. That "trait" came from life in the wild, so to speak and is indicitive of their ability to survive. The more important traits are the high fertility, the mothering instincts, the disease resistance, low birth weight calves, 99%+ unassisted births, very high percentage of live calves, high browsibility, just to name a few. These are the traits that longhorn producers appreciate. Using Longhorns for breeding non-longhorns is still a very good thing to do, I just would not pick a bull that is so fat he has butt dimples and looks like he could not mount a cow even with a ladder. :)

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