Beef Cattle

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
Beef Cattle

In the United States there are more
than 80 recognized breeds of beef
cattle.

A breed is a group of animals of common
descent, possessing distinctive
characteristics that distinguish them from
other groups within the same species.

When you examine the characteristics of
any breed there are always some
advantages and some disadvantages.
British Breeds:
Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn

Advantages
Low birth weight
High fertility
Moderate milk production
Moderate frame size
Disadvantages
Lower growth rate
European Breeds:
Charolais, Gelbvieh, Maine-Anjou, Pinzgauer,
Simmental, South Devon,Tarentaise

Advantages
High growth rate
Larger frame size
High milk production
Disadvantages
Increased dystocia
Increased maintenance
Shorthorn

PROFILE
 From
England
 Color
Red, red and white, or roan
 Size
Mature Bulls: 1,000-1,300 lbs
Mature Cows: 800-1,200 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Dual purpose breed for milk and meat.
Gelbvieh

PROFILE
 From
Germany
 Color
Red
 Size
Mature Bulls: 1,000-1,300 lbs
Mature Cows: 800-1,200 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Fleshy under the throat. Good mothers
who have a calf a year.
Charolais

PROFILE
 From
France
 Color
White
 Size
Mature Bulls: 2,800-3,300 lbs
Mature Cows: 1,400-2,500 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Long bodied large cattle. Heavily
muscled.
Brahman

PROFILE
 From
India
 Color
White to grey, red to black.
 Size
Mature Bulls: 2,800-3,300 lbs
Mature Cows: 1,400-2,500 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Insect and heat resistant, able
to survive on little, poor feed.
Has sweat glands.
Texas Longhorn

PROFILE
 From
North America
 Color
Diverse coloring
 Size
Mature Bulls: 2,800-3,300 lbs
Mature Cows: 1,400-2,500 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Can eat very poor vegetation.
Lean beef…and really cool horns.
 Hereford

 Black and Red Angus
 Simmental
Hereford
PROFILE

 From
Hereford, England
 Color
Red or Black with white head, legs, and underline.
 Size
Mature Bulls: 2,000-2,500 lbs
Mature Cows: 1,00-1600 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Excellent mothers. Very adaptable to any environment, juicy tender meat.
Very easy to handle.
Angus
PROFILE

 From
Scotland
 Color
Black hair and skin or red hair and skin.
 Size
Mature Bulls: 1,000-1,300 lbs
Mature Cows: 800-1,200 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Excellent mothers. Naturally no horns, and natural marbling for tasty, tender
beef. Very easy to handle.
Simmental
PROFILE

 From
Switzerland, came to the United States in 1971
 Color
pale yellow-gold all the way to very dark red or black
 Size
Mature Bulls: 2,200-2,800 lbs
Mature Cows: 1,100-1,500 lbs
 Popularity Factors
Gentle and large with heavy milk production. Very lean meat. Very easy to
handle.
Breeds of Beef Cattle

There are approximately 250 breeds of cattle recognized
throughout the world, and several hundreds of breeds that are
not recognized. The exact count is impossible to determine
because other breeds continue to be imported, and crossing
existing breeds continuously creates new breeds.
Breed Characteristics

The major characteristics for beef producers:
 Mature body size
 Milk production
 Age at puberty
 Environmental adaptability
 Rate and efficiency of gain
 Muscle expression
 Cutability
 Marbling
Mature Body Size:
If various sizes of cattle are fed for the same length of time, cattle with a larger
body size will have faster, more efficient gains, lower marbling, less fat, and
improved cutablity.

Mature cows weigh less than mature bulls.
Larger mature size results in:
 Heifers being older and/or heavier at puberty
 Heavier birth weights (often associated with difficult calving)
 Faster rate of gain
 Heavier weaning weights
Milk Production

The Main reason for increasing milk production in beef cattle is
to increase weaning weights of calves.
Heavy milk production can be bad—
 Heavy milking cows often produce milk at the expense of
their body functions (they get skinny)
 Thin females are less likely to come into heat and have a
harder time getting pregnant
 Heavy milkers are slow to cycle which lengthens breeding
interval and reduces general reproductive efficiency.
Muscle Expression

 Leaner meat means more muscle
 Most breeds that are ranked above average in muscle
expression are also above average in size.
 One concern with beef producers is that muscularity
appears to affect reproductive efficiency (calving difficulties
with bigger calves).
Age at Puberty

 Age at puberty is important because cattle that reach
puberty at an earlier age conceive at an earlier age.
These cattle have the potential to have a long
productive life (economically important to cattle
producers)
 Age at puberty is linked to body size, milking potential,
genetic classification, and environmental factors.
 Smaller cattle with higher milk yield have been known
to mature earlier.
 Cattle exposed to harsh environmental conditions,
whose nutritional requirements are not being met, reach
puberty later.
Cutablity and Marbling

 Cutability is the percent of lean in a slaughter animal and is
directly affected by an animal’s muscle structure and directly
related to nutrition.
 Marbling (intramuscular fat) is often referred to as taste fat.
 Cattle that mature early and have high milk yields are usually
high in marbling.
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