I think the perfect way to start off the week is talking about Beef. Most specifically, beef breeds. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post for the CommonGround website and today I am sharing it on here.
Just like all species of animals, there are various breeds in the cattle world. They each have characteristics that set them apart — long ears, color, large bodies— the list of traits is extremely long. Read on to find out more about a few of my favorite breeds.
This cattle name is probably one you are most familiar with. Not only on your local country road, but you may also be familiar with seeing the term “Certified Angus Beef” on the menu at restaurants. The meat from this breed features a wonderful marbling characteristic, which is why it is so common. Angus beef cattle spend a small amount of time on feed before they will yield prime or choice meats. This is the kind of meat you want for your steak!
Breeders tend to love the Angus breed because when they calve, they tend to have very few calving problems, and the mothers tend to be good ones. Both traits are wonderful qualities for cattle.
Angus beef goes through a rigorous process to earn certification. To receive the grade “Angus,” black-hided beef cattle go through an inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In order to meet the grade standards, the meat must be choice or prime beef—the top two grades of beef. Only after passing a second evaluation of 10 science-based specifications, like marbling, size and uniformity, will the beef earn the Certified Angus Beef brand label.
Herefords are a breed of cattle known for their hardiness and ability to adapt to their environment. Cattle from this breed tend to be less expensive than Angus because the certification process is not as strict. In the breeding department, female Herefords tend to have long lives and they can calve for more than 15 years. Many breeders tend to crossbreed with hopes of transferring the breed’s hardiness to the offspring.
Charolais may not be the most popular breed of beef cattle, but I really enjoy them. Like the Hereford, this breed also proves to be rather hardy and will also gain and yield well.
Charolais do well in many different environmental conditions. From hot days to cold days, they seem to thrive in the extremes we tend to have here in South Dakota. Their other good qualities include the fact that they tends to be gentle-natured, have good mothering qualities and typically produce many offspring. Every cattle farmer has his or her own preference, but in our breeding herd we have a Charolais-Angus cross.