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  #1  
Unread June 19th, 2007, 17:08
blaine blaine is offline
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Default Continually running herd sire with entire herd

I currently have a herd of 25 angus cows and 39 offspring of various ages from a few months to 30 months in age. We raise grass fed beef and will be marketing the older animals as they finish out on grass. We are trying to operate in a hollistic manner and I am pondering something that I havn't been able to find much research on. I have one bull that I am planning on breeding to the 25 cows. I would really like to maintain a single herd though. Doing so would expose open heifers of breeding age to the bull. These heifers are intended as beef cattle. This scenario raises several questions/concerns.

1. Older heifers from 25-30 months will be marketing soon so was wondering what the impact of them being bred would have on the meat quality if they were to be slaughtered. I know this sounds off the wall (why slaughter a perfectly bred heifer). I am just wondering if any research has been done on meat quality in this situation.

2. Younger heifers would also be exposed (12 months up). These would be held over thru calving and weaning about a 3-6 month old calf before being butchered at around 30-32 months. From what I can tell the French prefer beef from 4-5 year old cows so I am thinking this would not affect the meat quality at all and may actually improve it. I like this portion of the scenario best since it gives me additional offspring.

3. Even younger heifer calves would be running with the bull. I am concerned of these being bred too early. Does anyone know how early these might start coming into heat and if they do come in early (8-11 months) would that be too young? Seems like this would happen in nature if our management was taken out of the loop and they would breed at the appropriate time.

4. Currently all my cows are open and ready to breed for spring calving. I would hope to keep this going. I would be concerned if I left the bull running with the herd all year that over time we would end up with cattle being bred at various times thruout the year.

I know this probably seems bizarre and far fetched to even consider but that's part of thinking out of the box.
I am very interested in hearing others thoughts on this.

Thanks,
Blaine
www.aquillahillangus.com
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  #2  
Unread June 21st, 2007, 00:58
Rhodie Rhodie is offline
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Welcome to the forum Blaine, I will answer as best I can both as a cattleman and as an ex meat inspector.
The main objections to slaughtering pregnant animals are ethical, though sometimes late pregnancy can lead to a carcase being condemned due to poor bleeding out (fevered.)
The later into pregnancy the heifer, the more feed you are putting into calf development rather than slaughter weight, so you wouldn't want to go beyond 5 months. Heifers can concieve as early as 6 months, but usually 8 months is the age usually associated with first heats, pregnancy at this age is undesireable for many reasons; difficult calvings and stunted growth being the most obvious. Slaughtering older, first calvers, will still produce a good carcase, but will effect grading if sold to an abattoir, for private sales to a niche market, they will be just fine but they should be 'hung' for a minimum of two weeks to enhance flavour and tenderness.
If you do not want to seperate your cows and calves, why not consider AI and forgo all the heifer hassles? You need to seperate the calves at weaning to let the mothers dry up their milk production, or else some cows will let their calves suckle untill the next one is born!
hope this helps with some of your questions.
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  #3  
Unread June 22nd, 2007, 03:17
blaine blaine is offline
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Thanks for the response Rhodie. I agree about the ethical part on the slaughter of bred animals but was just curious as to the result on the carcass if one did get slaughtered that happened to get bred (bull jumps a fence or something). I was pretty sure the pregnancy would sooner or later affect the carcass quality but wasn't sure at what stage so thanks for the answer there. After talking to some other people I have decided to go ahead and go with the original 2 herd set up but this year we will keep the young breeding age (12-15 month) heifers with the cows to breed for about 3 months, have their first calf and then continue on thru the finishing process. The benefits of this seem to be many: increased herd size but still allowing flexibility to cull or destock readily as we have more marketing options. I can sell the bred heifer if needed, sell the weaned calf or carry the calf on thru to continue the cycle and eventually make it to the plate. The young animals I will continue to run with the finishing animals.
We have used AI in the past and I had originally thought this might be a good way to go. But given about a 70% stick I would still require a clean up bull and then we are right back in the same boat of having to split the herd, unless I was willing to take the hit on loosing 30% of my production potential.
Thanks again.
Blaine
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  #4  
Unread June 23rd, 2007, 03:24
Rhodie Rhodie is offline
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What breed or cross are you running Blaine?
Are you farming in a temprate or hotter environment, (just interested).
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  #5  
Unread June 25th, 2007, 22:03
blaine blaine is offline
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We are running straight black Angus cows and angus bull. The base herd is registered and we are selecting for a smaller frame cow. We have culled 50% of our cows to get down to our current 25 head. We are in North Central Texas (Hill County). Its hot and humid during the summer but I havn't had a noticeable problem with my animals. That may be b/c I don't have any thing to compare to but our calving rates are great, weaning good size calves and everything is living and healthy. I don't know what else I could want. We do have shade in most of our paddocks so that may be helping. I have debated going with a red angus but then I would have to liquidate my herd and start over and then I am not sure the benefit would be significant. If it starts going south maybe I will rethink but if it ain't broke don't fix it is my thinking. Where are you and what do you run?

Last edited by blaine : June 25th, 2007 at 22:09.
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  #6  
Unread June 27th, 2007, 02:39
Rhodie Rhodie is offline
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Hi Blaine, I live in North Carolina, where I manage a farm for a large company, mainly pigs, but we run 64 Hereford and 82 Angus cows at present. My own herd at home are regestered Tuli cattle which I have been breeding since 1970 in my home country, and have started the first herd in NC with the aim of producing Heat and parasite tolerent F1 females for local commercial breeders; www.tuli.co.za/
This link is very informative and has a photo album which gives a good indication of the Tuli phenotype. I exported several starter herds to South Africa and Namibia in the late 70's to mid 80's from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.
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  #7  
Unread January 26th, 2008, 00:04
Rhodie Rhodie is offline
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Unlike the Brahman, the Tuli is very docile, highly fertile and has meat quality similar to Angus. They do well in feedlots as a pure animal, having an excellent feed conversion, but are slower than the British breeds as far as weight gain per day is concerned. The reason I believe in developing hybrids for my commercial customers, is to supply a composite that has all the hardiness of the Tuli, and the better weight gains and heavier conformation of the European breeds, the heterosis in these crosses is also exceptional adding value to the crosses. Tuli have been used extensively in Mexico to improve fertility and carcase quality of the Brazu - Indus and Brahman herds there.
Tuli were imported to Australia, here is one of many links on the Australian imports, there is also an Australian Tuli Breeders Society.
http://terraweena.com/cattle/index.php
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  #8  
Unread May 30th, 2013, 14:08
sphuket25 sphuket25 is offline
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Default Jason Stanley

Jason Stanley
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