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Our Ideal Family Cow?

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Anonymous

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OK, my intention is not to start a breed war. I would just like folks' opinions as food for thought.

The GOAL: a docile milker that will produce plenty of milk for her calf and about 1 gallon or so per day extra for the family. 5 gallons or more per day would NOT be desirable for our purposes. Good fat and protein content desired. She should be able to produce a really nice, beefy calf for the freezer -- big enough that splitting the beef with another family would still give a lot of meat.

Seems like a beef/Jersey cross would fill the bill? (FINDING a Jersey/beefer has thus far proven elusive, however). Or, is there a beef breed that could do the trick with a little feed supplement?

Thanks for any thoughts you would like to share!
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
This is just my opinion and experience. We used to breed Simmentals, and a few were sold to a dairy farmer who milked them. The right bloodline could give you the amount of milk you want or waaaaay more. Our cows were doing over 16,000 lbs per lactation--one did a little over 21,000. (similar to average holstein) The milk is a higher fat and protein vs holsteins, a little less than Jerseys. Obviously these cows were fed! It is a dual purpose breed so that is why this would work. These were also fullbloods, if that makes a difference. And obviously very docile.

Also, shorthorns or braunvieh (beef form of brown swiss) may have more of what you're looking for.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Wow, Vicki, thanks! I'd been wondering if Simmentals might not be a good choice for us, since they were a triple purpose (milk, meat, and draft) breed originally. But I'd been unable to find out much about today's milk production (and milk EPDs for beeves tell you alot about weaned calves, but not a lot about usable lactations for humans, since no one cares about that anymore). I'd wondered if the dairy ability had largely been bred out. Apparently not! And, the size of the Simmental is perfect -- lots of beef in the calves! Sounds like one of these girls could probably do the trick on pasture alone! :)

Do you have any suggestions for finding a milky enough Simmental heifer?
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
My choice would also have been Simmenthal or Gelbvieh. Bred to a good angus bull Red or black and you would have great beef and a good milker/mother. They average EPD for milk for Simmenthals is around 8 and 18 for Gelbvieh. If you purchase a good heifer with EPDs over that, but not much, you would have exactly what you're looking for.

dunmovin farms

> Wow, Vicki, thanks! I'd been
> wondering if Simmentals might not
> be a good choice for us, since
> they were a triple purpose (milk,
> meat, and draft) breed originally.
> But I'd been unable to find out
> much about today's milk production
> (and milk EPDs for beeves tell you
> alot about weaned calves, but not
> a lot about usable lactations for
> humans, since no one cares about
> that anymore). I'd wondered if the
> dairy ability had largely been
> bred out. Apparently not! And, the
> size of the Simmental is perfect
> -- lots of beef in the calves!
> Sounds like one of these girls
> could probably do the trick on
> pasture alone! :)

> Do you have any suggestions for
> finding a milky enough Simmental
> heifer?
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Here's what we did. One year when one of my heavier milking Murray Grey cows had her second calf, a 68# bull, I milked her out for some colostrum to freeze. I just kept milking her once each day, but left her calf with her 24 hours a day. I was working full time and went out and "stole" whatever milk I could around 6 each evening. I was getting a gallon a day, with about 2 1/2 to 3 inches of cream on top. I continued to milk her for a little over 2 months, then got too busy & quit.

At 205 days, she weaned a 615# bull calf. I used to laugh, because the calf finally figured out what I was doing and he would stick his head around from the other side and give me the dirtiest looks! LOL

A couple of years later, that cow weaned a heifer at over 700#, with a birthweight within our target of 60-80#. I couldn't believe the size of that calf when she was weaned. You could almost stand out in the pasture in the afternoon and watch her grow.

Murray Greys, if you are not familiar with the breed, tend to be very docile cattle with small birthweights and nice, sloping shoulders that calve easily.

A rancher friend had a little Jersey milk cow and he was very happy with the calf when he bred her to a Murray Grey bull.

> OK, my intention is not to start a
> breed war. I would just like
> folks' opinions as food for
> thought.

> The GOAL: a docile milker that
> will produce plenty of milk for
> her calf and about 1 gallon or so
> per day extra for the family. 5
> gallons or more per day would NOT
> be desirable for our purposes.
> Good fat and protein content
> desired. She should be able to
> produce a really nice, beefy calf
> for the freezer -- big enough that
> splitting the beef with another
> family would still give a lot of
> meat.

> Seems like a beef/Jersey cross
> would fill the bill? (FINDING a
> Jersey/beefer has thus far proven
> elusive, however). Or, is there a
> beef breed that could do the trick
> with a little feed supplement?

> Thanks for any thoughts you would
> like to share!
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> OK, my intention is not to start a
> breed war. I would just like
> folks' opinions as food for
> thought.

> The GOAL: a docile milker that
> will produce plenty of milk for
> her calf and about 1 gallon or so
> per day extra for the family. 5
> gallons or more per day would NOT
> be desirable for our purposes.
> Good fat and protein content
> desired. She should be able to
> produce a really nice, beefy calf
> for the freezer -- big enough that
> splitting the beef with another
> family would still give a lot of
> meat.

> Seems like a beef/Jersey cross
> would fill the bill? (FINDING a
> Jersey/beefer has thus far proven
> elusive, however). Or, is there a
> beef breed that could do the trick
> with a little feed supplement?

> Thanks for any thoughts you would
> like to share!

We have a Murray Grey that we milk every spring when she calves. She consistently gives us 1 to 1 1/2 gallons a day on one milking and always has the best calves in the herd. We supplement withn just enough grain to keep her still while we milk - and we just go to the pasture with buckets and the grain. She is wonderful as are all our Murray Greys - we have a lot of her daughters in the herd and will continue to keep them. Most important, the Murray GReys are GREAT grazers and we market grass finished beef right off pasture - WONDERFUL flavor.

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

[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
I have a Gelbvieh, Holstein, Simmintal cross, and she has produced great calves so far. She has a milk EPD of 21 which also helps. She also has a really great temp. Her bull calf last year was the top gaining in the pen. We could have easily taken milk from her but I show her so I let her calves get all they can.... Anyways I would really consider Gelbvieh or Simmintal as well, it's work out well for me. Jane

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks everyone for your input. The general consensus is Simmental and Gelbvieh. There are quite a few Simmental breeders in my state, and at least a few Gelbvieh breeders. I'm writing to both breed associations to get the breeder lists.

It shouldn't be hard to find a suitable animal, given the popularity of these two breeds. Everything I've read about both breeds in the past few days seems quite positive, and it sounds like either one would give us what I'm looking for.

Really appreciate everyone taking the time to share their experiences!
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Generally I think you'll find more Gelbviehs with better udders and teats then Simmenthals.

dunmovin farms

> Thanks everyone for your input.
> The general consensus is Simmental
> and Gelbvieh. There are quite a
> few Simmental breeders in my
> state, and at least a few Gelbvieh
> breeders. I'm writing to both
> breed associations to get the
> breeder lists.

> It shouldn't be hard to find a
> suitable animal, given the
> popularity of these two breeds.
> Everything I've read about both
> breeds in the past few days seems
> quite positive, and it sounds like
> either one would give us what I'm
> looking for.

> Really appreciate everyone taking
> the time to share their
> experiences!
 

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