Cattle Raising: Knowing What Breed You Need… Is it for Beef or for Dairy?

Blog | October 14th, 2016

Regardless if you are a veteran or novice, there is more than one way to raise cattle. Quite frankly, there are many variables such as the breed, class and type along with how the cattle are raised. For example, dairy cows are raised differently than beef cows. Dairy cows require maximum management and care and generally plus there are no calves to raise. Whereas, beef cattle are raised to live with minimal management that are bred to raise a calf that will most likely be sold for beef. And when compared to dairy cattle, there are more types of beef cattle that you can raise

In order to know what breed of cattle you should invest in, you will have to do a little research. First off, decide on the type of breeds that you want. Make sure to stay in accordance to your goals for the ranch or farm. Never make a decision based on work load or what you like or favor.

Dairy Cattle

Raising dairy cattle is a lot more time intense and costly than raising beef cattle. For example, there is more of an investment in equipment plus more government regulations. Work involves milking and feeding two times a day and seven days a week.
But the most importance rule of thumb is to always select the very best animals you can find. This includes cattle breed and health. A healthy cow will have a shiny coat, bright and clear eyes, a moist and clean muzzle and no cuts, lumps or limps.

If you are not familiar with dairy cattle, it is best to talk to an experienced herder who can give you some tips. Avoid taking advice from a person trying to sell you cattle. You can also learn quite a bit about cattle at a fair or show. Generally the judge of these shows will know quite a bit about cattle including their breed and health. Generally, the best and most popular breeds for dairy are Guernseys, Jersey, Holstein and Brown Swiss. And if you live outside the United States, Ayrshires are a popular choice. Also keep in mind that dairy cattle look a lot different than beef cattle. A healthy milk cow will seem bony and have prominent hip bones and shoulder tops. Typically, the ribs will show and the chest and belly will be large. However the ribs should never stick out.

Another factor to consider before buy dairy cattle, are the udders. You need to know how to identify a quality and producing udder. Generally, the larger the udders the better. Equally, the udder should not be hanging loosely and wavering like a pendulum.

Beef Cattle

Raising beef cattle for profit or your own beef production can be a satisfying venture. On the other hand, there are many management skills needed in order to be successful. Moreover, every beef cattle endeavor has different resources like feed, labor, land, management and capitol. And for maximize returns, proper management is essential.

For the best beef production, begin with a breed that is not labor intense and is known for having a good temperament. Some of the most passive and low maintenance breeds are Shorthorns, Herefords, British White, Galloways and Red Polls. However, it is advisable that you do some research before deciding on a breed. The best resources are books and magazines. The Internet also has some great information. In addition, you can visit your local college or university and talk to a few experts.

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