The "Beef" Category
Below are some of the most common breeds in North America!
|Aberdeen Angus Beefalo Beefmaster Belted-galloway|
|Blonde d'aquitaine Brangus Charolais Dexter|
|English longhorn Galloway Gelbvieh Hereford|
|Highland Limousin Lowline Murray grey|
|Maine Anjou Red Angus Salers Simmental|
|Speckle Park Texas Longhorn Welsh Black Zebu|
Other beef breeds: Africander, Aubrac, Barzona, Bazadaise, Belgian Blue, Belmont Red, Bonsmara, Boran, Braford, Brahman, Brahmousin, British White, Buelingo, Canchim, Caracu, Chianina, Composite, Corriente, Devon, Drakensberger, Droughtmaster, Gloucester, Hays Converter, Hybridmaster, Lincoln Red, Luing, Marchigiana, Minature Herefor, Mongolian, Nelore, Nguni, Parthenais, Piemontese, Pinzgauer, Red Poll, Retinta, Romangnola, Sanganer, Santa Cruz, Santa Gertrudis, Senepol, Shetland, Simbrah, South Devon, Square Meaters, Sussex, Tarentaise, Tuli, Wagyu, Watusi, Welsh Black, Whitebred Shorthorn
For links to the list above please go to http://www.thebeefsite.com/breeds/beef
Beef cows are raised primarily for the purpose of meat for human consumption. Females are kept on farms to produce calves, and often it is the male calves and lower performing female calves that are sent to be made into beef.
Beef cows are not usually used for milk and once their calves are weaned they dry up, usually only producing milk for 6-8 months out of the year, less than the ten months of the dairy cow. If you wanted to milk a beef cow you could, however, they have generally smaller udders because they are not bred as much for udder structure and milk production as the dairy cows are.
On our farm we have to milk our cows sometimes when a calf is sick and can't eat on its own. When this is the case, we do our milking by hand and then tube feed the baby calf to make sure that it is getting the right amount of nutrients to try and nurse it back to health.
|Trying out some Beef milk, right from the cow!|
|Holstein Aryshire Canadienne Jersey|
|Milking Devon Dairy Shorthorn Norwegian Red|
Typically, when one thinks of a dairy cow, we get the image of a skinny black and white cow, with a large udder and a well defined topline (spine), well this is what image comes to my mind at least! In reality, there are actually a diversity of color and shape of dairy cows, all with the same quality of being able to produce large amounts of good quality milk.
Dairy cows are not usually used for meat because they are generally much skinnier than beef cows, lacking the muscling, fat and finish that you see on most beef cows. A good beef cow is one that is well conditioned (quite fat), and a good dairy cow is usually one that is quite slender, not much fat on their body.
On the average North American Dairy farm, the cows are milked twice daily, with roughly 12 hours of rest time in between. This means that Dairy farmers are getting up anywhere from 4-6 AM to milk the cows, so that they can finish them that night between 4 and 6! That's early! If the cows are not milked within the 12 hours, their udders often get too full and they can start to become uncomfortable for the cow. If you stop milking a cow completely, she will dry up and will not produce milk anymore until she has another calf. After having a calf, the cows are usually milked for 10 months before they are dried up and about to calve again. The cows are always bred at different times so that they calve on different days all year round.
A good friend of mine has a dairy farm and her family always has baby calves running around. They have their operation set up so that they are always milking roughy 200 cows, with about 30-40 dry cows that are about to calve. This way they are always milking the same amount. On their farm they artificially inseminate all of their cattle (meaning they don't use a bull to breed the cows, they inject the sperm on their own). This allows them to choose what day the cows are bred and gives them an idea of the exact day that each cow will calve. Lucky for me, they live close to our farm and were able to AI my little Charolais heifer for me this year, hopefully they used the right straw of semen and I won't be having a tiny Holstein showing up next spring!
So what about the babies!
In comparison, on a dairy farm, the calves do not spend their lives relying on their moms. Dairy calves are taken away from their moms shortly after birth and rely on the farmer to feed them. The farmers use the milk that they milk from the dairy cows, so the calves are still getting mother cow's milk, they are just not getting it directly from the cow herself. Up to two or three months old the babies are kept in individual little houses where they are given special attention, personal milk and food. When they are a bit older they are moved to group pens, where they are still given milk in troughs, just not individually anymore.
Have a great week everyone!!