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Breeds of Beef Cattle

cattle breeds livestock Cattle are considered to have been one of the first animals domesticated by man for agricultural purposes.  They were tamed to provide milk, meat and hides and for draft purposes.  The exact time and place this happened is hidden in the mists of antiquity, but it is thought they were probably first domesticated in Europe and Asia about 8500 years ago.

Domesticated cattle are in the family  Bovidae which includes ruminates with paired, hollow, unbranched horns that do not shed and an even number of toes.  They belong to the genus Bos and the subgenera Taurine which includes the two species tarus and indicus

Cattle are ruminants (as are sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes), which gives them a unique digestive system that allows the digestion of otherwise unuseable foods by regurgitating and rechewing them as cud. They thrive on grasses and other low quality plants built predominantly of cellulose. Cattle have one stomach that has four compartments. They are named the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. The rumen is the largest compartment and is like a fermentation tank, providing the anaerobic environment, constant temperature and pH, and constant mixing that allows microbes to break down the cellulolse. The reticulum, known as the "Honeycomb", is is the smallest compartment. The omasum's main function is to absorb water and nutrients and is known as the "Many Plies." The abomasum is most like the human stomach; this is why it is known as the "True Stomach."

All breeds of British and European cattle like Angus, Hereford, Charolais and Simmental belong to the tarus species.  The humped cattle of the tropical countries like Brahman and Africander belong to the indicus species.  Many contemporary breeds are the result of crossing two or more of the older breeds.  Most of the new breeds originating in the United States were developed in the Southern states where the standard breeds lacked resistance to heat and insects and did not thrive on the native grasses.  Other Bovidae that are so closely related to true cattle that they can interbreed include the bison, buffalo, and yak.

Purebred cattle breeds have been selectively bred over a long period of time to possess a distinctive identity in color, size, conformation, and function and have the prepotency to pass these traits to their progeny.

The world cattle population is estimated to be about 1.3 billion head, with about 30 percent in Asia, 20 percent in South America, 15 percent in Africa, 14 percent in North and Central America, and 10 percent in Europe.  The 10 states in the US with the  largest cattle populations  are Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, and Florida.

Click on the breed you would like to know more about in the Index on the left.

These are some of the current topics being discussed on's Breeds Board. Why don't you join in?

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cattle angus

These are a few of the topics being discussed on the Q&A Boards.
Just click on the topic to read it.   Why not join the discussion?
CattleToday's Q & A Boards are a Cattle Forum for swapping information and asking and answering questions about breed, health problems, beginners questions and jokes about cattle and horses.

Steer off feed help pls
by Lomac (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:40:29 GMT)
Have a angus steer kinda acting weird today. Didnt go to food bowl like usual. very slow eating. This has happened before once when we went to a show 4 hrs away. gave him something , forget the name, they sold it at the show to help the rumen. had plenty left so gave him some this evening. only thing that has changed is the hay. Just had to buy some day before yesterday before we ran out. He is eating 26lbs a day and is fed twice daily, 13lbs morn and evening. He has been at 26 lbs for months. I was told to put baking soda in his feed to stop any acid probs. how much BS do I give him per feeding? We are nearing the end of our project and need to finish w him strong. Thanks for any advive

Said it before, I'll say it again.
by Nesikep (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:37:33 GMT)
Now you NEED one to have twins to graft on to her... and won't get one.

Calving season 2014 for me
by Nesikep (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:36:47 GMT)
And I quite missed Paddy calving... Went out to feed and heard the telltale "Mmm"s.. and she was laying down next to a dry calf.. an 80 lb heifer, quite nice, but I'm not keeping anything from that cow. I also heard her lose more water, and the placenta was still out, she wasn't particularly round, but I ran her down the chute and palpated just in case.. no other calf, which is good, the cow doesn't have all that much milk.

Browsing youtube music
by dun (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 01:46:26 GMT)
It seems like the 60s and 70s had some of the best music of all time. Jerry Reed, Gordon Lightfoot, even Simon and Garfunkel. Back then a song usaully had an actual melody and words you could understand and relate to.

my first money pit...
by jltrent (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 01:32:50 GMT)
That ought to buff right out.

best way to dehorn
by big ben (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 01:01:23 GMT)
dieselbeef wrote:cows over 2 yrs old...

Hook wrote:Best way is with a homozygous polled bull.

i learns somen everday ,never new you could breed a 2 yrs old cow to a homozygous polled bull and her horns wood fall off that be bout the slickest way i ever new to dehorn em

Have a Sheep Problem
by greybeard (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 00:49:48 GMT)
cow pollinater wrote:Richardin52 wrote:Put one or two strands of high tinsal fence up below you barbed wire, hook it to a minimum 7 kv charger that has at least three ground rods and you will stop all your problems and don't worry about it.
An send him a bill for at least half.
He77 NO! Not unless NMMo's county has an open range type stock law. Once he starts, there will be no end to it--the neighbor will take advantage of everything cowman does and expect more an more.. NWMoAngus already has a good fence. Why should he have to build another or further improve the existing one because his neighbor won't? NWMA has already gone further than I would have as is--enough is enough. Sheep guy needs to keep his pasture maggots contained.

New Bull Gelbvieh
by double v (Posted Sun, 20 Apr 2014 00:33:52 GMT)
not bad numbers on him, he looks pretty good.

New herd bull, W/C United x MCM Marbler
by branguscowgirl (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 23:56:42 GMT)
JWBrahman wrote:Congratulations Till-Hill, he moves beautifully. Wish your bull was next door instead of Limpy the slab-sided fly factory.
On my ranch in OR I had a neighbor that ran commercial cattle. He had a group of young bulls across the street, and cows with one bull next to me. (I raise registered cattle, but was not having the time to AI.) His ugly, pitiful bull got in with my cows one day so I went looking for my neighbor.
I passed him on the road and waved him down. I told him to get that butt ugly piece of shiz out of my pasture and bring me the good bull from across the street!
He promptly exchanged bulls! Guess he wanted to keep me happy so he wouldn't have to buy all my half breed calves!
After that, he always called that bull "Butt Ugly."

Breeding Back A cow that had a c-section
by branguscowgirl (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 23:13:49 GMT)
Steve, I would ask your vet that did the c-section.
Obviously there was a reason that she was unable to have the calf. Most folks would probably say not to keep her. But not everyone feels that way, so talking to your vet is what I would recommend. Only that vet knows what the condition of everything inside was like.

This was weird...for us.
by kucala5 (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 23:11:12 GMT)
We think the mineral program is good. We keep Wind and Rain out plus high mag tubs out this time of year. Salt blocks out as well.

When its safe to say you need to look for a new job
by B&M Farms (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:47:39 GMT)
I was at a Sonic once when a guy pulled up in a gin pole truck. I should have gotten a picture. You can't fix stupid.

poor managers
by backhoeboogie (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:07:48 GMT)
Horse traders are always looking for an opportunity.

Had a guy call me to up to bid on cleaning up and clearing property. I gave him a fair bid. I don't negotiate and he wanted to negotiate. So he ran an ad in the paper.

A guy I know happened to under bid me. He did not have the equipment and had the nerve to call me up to subcontract work he did not have the equipment to do. Started chiding me to "be a friend." I gave him the guy's name that owned the place etc etc. Told him what my price was.

You start making a few nickels in any innovative way, someone else is going to come along and try the same business. Usually they think they are smarter than you or better managers. Maybe they have better contacts.

Two headed calf
by PLTannery (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:05:21 GMT)
People may be surprised how many deformed babies are born. Although I personally would say, from my experience, that most of them are Angus influence (black hided). I buy a lot of dead livestock. Normal and not. An I have purchased frozen things that the owner didn't comment about only to thaw it and find out it had no brain, or No eyes or a similar deformity... People notice and remember the two heads, extra legs, but may not notice a cleft palate or no eyes, especially if the calf is still slimy/dirty or been dead a day.

They also tend to come in groups... For example, this year it was brain deformities... Exencephaly, anencephaly, Neuropathic Hydrocephalus.. 4 years ago it was Dwarfism... Bought 2 dwarf calves that year, and not from the same operation. One year I got two calves (*one bison) born with no eyes. Deformities like parrot jaw are common too. Even in purebred herds (line breeding doesn't always work...). I've personally had a calf born with 3 legs as a result of a hay crop too heavily applied with 24D on Old orchard ground. Should I cull that cow? Not likely... considering the gene that creates legs turns on at day 6-8 of gestation and it is a much better bet to change hay suppliers.

Certain years around here I might buy 20 calves with twisted limbs/contracted tendons from lupine infested range.. Now should every cow that had a lupine calf be shipped? Not in my opinion.. but if I had a cow with a Neuropathic Hydrocephalus... you bet, cow and bull would both be burger. But a twinning defect? No, I wouldn't cull. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion and the ability to manage their livestock as they see fit.

cowgirl8 I'd love to see your other calves.. my email is if you would rather email me directly instead of posting here...


Splitting Slaughtered Beef with Sibling?
by backhoeboogie (Posted Sat, 19 Apr 2014 21:54:08 GMT)
ibetyamissedme wrote:Greybeard I find it hard to believe that every person who posts here produces the greatest beef ever and everybody else raises shitty low quality junk. Two neighbors both think they raise the best beef ever but they both believe their neighbor raises be nice. Both neighbors took their beef to auction they would both get market value. Just like children they both think they got the best kids but neither do.

Any of it is better than Wal-Mart. There are a whole lot of people who have never been to a butcher shop for meat. So go and the cost puts them back out the door.

Producers go through the measures, the right protocols, and they do expect theirs to meet the mark. It is not always going to be good. I have a few cows that I would not use a steer out of again. Nothing wrong with the cow phsysically. It is simply knowing what you are going to get.

The USDA grades have a meaning, but they are not totally accurate. Their tests can only do so much. For instance flavor. Age.

Customers ask for the same steer out of the same cow they have had previously. That cow may yield a heifer for the next two to three years. Some tell me they want the steers out of that cow henceforth. I mark it down. You do this long enough, you know which cows produce the best eating steak. Don't waste your time on some, no matter how good they look.

Breed or purity thereof has nothing to do with it, absolute. There are many who think it does.

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