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Beef Cattle. Cattle History. People started keeping cattle around 8000 years ago for food (milk, blood, meat) and load bearers or plows. There 2, maybe 3, different domestications from Asia, Pakistan, and maybe Africa. Beef Industry. Average size herd: 100

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Beef Cattle

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Beef cattle

Beef Cattle

Cattle history

Cattle History

  • People started keeping cattle around 8000 years ago for food (milk, blood, meat) and load bearers or plows.

  • There 2, maybe 3, different domestications from Asia, Pakistan, and maybe Africa.

Beef industry

Beef Industry

  • Average size herd: 100

  • In the US, over 40 different breeds and many crossbreeds

  • Breeds are broken into 3 groups

    • British

    • Continental

    • American



  • Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, these were the first breeds brought into this country, they represent the largest segment of the beef industry.



  • Limousin, Simmental, Charolais, Chianina, desired for their size and ability to grow

American breeds

American Breeds

  • Scientifically classified as Bos indicus, the most common type of American Breed is the Brahman.

  • Other breeds developed from this line include; Brangus, Santa Gertrudis and Beefmaster.

Terms to know

Terms to know:

  • Steer: Castrated Male

  • Bull: Mature male

  • Heifer: Immature Female

  • Cow: Mature female

  • Calf: Under 1 year old

  • Calving: Act of giving birth

  • Polled: Hornless

Beef cattle

  • Dewlap: Neck skin flap.

  • Marbling: Presence and distribution of fat and lean in a meat cut.

  • Muscling: Natural flesh of animal, without too much fat.

  • Confirmation: Appearance of animal.

  • Pedigree: Record of animal’s ancestors.

  • Finishing: Amount of fat cover on animal.

  • Gestation: 283 days

Black angus

Black Angus

  • British breed from Scotland. Came to us in 1873. Solid Black color.

  • Produce a desirable carcass of high-quality,well marbled meat

  • Excellent base breed for cross breeding

  • Temperament: very protective, flighty

  • Naturally Polled

  • Consumer preference led to Certified Angus Beef

Texas longhorn

Texas Longhorn

  • Developed entirely by nature in North America

  • Known for its long horns

  • High fertility

  • Were near extinction in 1927



  • European breed originating from England, 2nd most common breed in USA

  • Red with white head, legs, and underline

  • Horned

  • Early maturing

  • “Mothering” breed

Polled hereford

Polled Hereford

  • A hereford made in Iowa

  • Naturally hornless



  • Originated in Switzerland

  • Oldest breed of cattle in the world

  • Large and powerful

  • Brought to the US in 1971

  • Orange/Yellow and white to black in color



  • Originated in India

  • Able to survive on very little, poor feed

  • Insects and heat resistant

  • Excess skin and large hump on back

  • White to gray, red to black

  • Dewlap

Red angus

Red Angus

  • Developed from crossing red with red from the black angus

  • Similar to black angus except for their color red

  • Red angus can tolerate heat better than black angus

  • In the future as climate changes, red angus may become less like the parent black angus

Chianina kee a nee na

Chianina (kee-a-nee-na)

  • European breed from Italy, came to USA in 1971

  • One of the oldest breed of cattle

  • Tallest breed of cattle, one of the largest breeds in world

  • Used in cross breeding

  • Black skin with white hair and black switch.



  • Originated in England

  • Red, red & white, or roan in color

  • Originally used as a dual purpose breed for meat & milk

  • Sometimes called the Durham breed

Gelbvieh gelp fee

Gelbvieh (gelp-fee)

  • Originated in Germany

  • Red in color

  • Noted for superior fertility and mothering ability

  • Tends to have extra fleshiness under the throat.

Charolais char lay

Charolais (char-lay)

  • Originated in France

  • Traditionally white

  • Long bodied, large cattle

  • Heavily muscled

  • Coarse looking



  • Originated in France

  • Fastest growing breed in the US

  • Mahogany red to black in color

  • One of the last breeds to be imported into the US

Maine anjou

Maine Anjou

  • Originated in France

  • Dark red with white markings or black

  • Developed by crossing the Mancelle with the shorthorn

Santa gertrudis

Santa Gertrudis

  • Developed on the King Ranch in Texas

  • All Santa Gertrudis are descendants of the bull, “Monkey”

  • They were created by crossing shorthorn cows and Brahman bulls

  • What traits would they have from this cross?

What is this

What is this?

  • Scotch Highland

    • Hardy and excellent foragers from Scotland.

    • Give a winter hardiness to their offspring when crossbred

    • Leaner meat due since they use their hair for warmth instead of fat

Beef cattle


  • Belgian Blue: A cattle breed with double muscling because they have a gene that suppresses the production of Myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle growth.

Beef cattle


  • Miniature Panda Cow

  • Created in 2000 in Washington

  • Irish Dexter X 36” Belted Galloway bull

Purebred operations

Purebred Operations

  • Purpose is to produce seed stock cattle. These cattle are used as the dams and sires of the calves that will be grown to market weight.

  • Growing purebred stock allows breeders to concentrate on improving and accentuating the advantages of a particular breed.

Beef production

Beef Production

  • Cow-Calf Production: Own cows, sell weaner calves

  • Stocker: Buy weaner calves, sell yearlings

  • Feedlot Finishing: Buy calves, fatten, sell to slaughter house

Cow calf production

Cow-Calf Production

  • Most common & usually crossbred calves.

  • Need range land, brought in at weaning.

  • Calve in spring, sell calves in fall at 500# (prefer castrated, vaccinated, good health)

  • Feed 2# roughages per 100# of cow weight in winter (extra for cold weather)

  • Supplement with needed proteins, minerals, vitamins

  • Feed best hay to those that need it the most (pregnant, lactating, heifers)

  • Lots of clean water & free choice salt

Stocker operations

Stocker Operations

  • Provide step between the weaning of calves and the finishing of the animal prior to slaughter.

  • Weaned calved are placed on pasture and fed a ration to allow for skeletal and muscular growth. Before calves are sold to a feedlot for finishing, they must be physically mature.

Feedlot finishing

Feedlot Finishing

  • Producers usually want sufficient fat cover to allow the animals to grade low choice.

  • Feed high concentrates (grain) 2-4 months.

  • Feedlots range in size from less than 100 head to thousands of head each year.

  • When animals reach proper degree of finishing, they are sold to slaughter. Usually around 18 to 24 months, weighing 800 to 1500# depending on breed and body type.

Beef cattle


Show Cattle Production Lecture about Beef $ and Sales?

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