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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.

Just Ordered for My Wife
by M-5 (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:07:50 GMT+5)
A little off topic but I write my name and phone number with the dogs name on calf tag and use a key ring to attach to my dog collars . I also use them on the tractor keys and write check oil on one side and check water on other, My boys will jump on a tractor to do something and never check fluids if I don't remind them.

Affordable health care.
by True Grit Farms (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:04:52 GMT+5) ... ement.html

Not looking good for the common working folks.

Where are you? - Market Cycle of Emotions
by Stocker Steve (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:04:21 GMT+5)
Bigfoot wrote: I see all of yaw, talk about your niche market, and your freezer calves. That's not here, and certainly not on as many calves as I raise.

If you prefer the commodity approach then pounds produced per acre is your key. Right now buyers seem to like them heavy and there is very little price roll back on yearlings. Have you looked at running fewer cows and taking your weaned calves back to grass?

New from Texas
by slick4591 (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:02:58 GMT+5)

Ritchie Waterer
by dun (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:57:49 GMT+5)
cfpinz wrote:dun wrote:cfpinz wrote:When the float sticks, well pump pressure switch goes bad, mice chew thru the cord to the pressure tank heater in the winter, etc...

I check cows once a week, and those things tend to bother me.
You should otta ride your horse over there every day.

Nowhere for the dog to ride!
Hook a travois or a side car on the nag.

by True Grit Farms (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:52:24 GMT+5)
TennesseeTuxedo wrote:tncattle wrote:If prices keep going down or just stay where they are we're not selling any heifers and might also keep back all the steers to until they're heavies. I know everyone can't do that but I'm not selling good quality 5 wt. steers for a dollar and good quality 5 wt. heifers for under a dollar. I don't expect the crazy prices from two years ago but a dollar a pound just won't cut it IMO.

I'm doing the same thing. Luckily we had a great year of hay production.

With your business background, do you think everyone holding back heifers is compounding the problems with the market?

He Was Not Born Equal
by True Grit Farms (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:47:04 GMT+5)
Margonme wrote:True Grit Farms wrote:redcowsrule33 wrote:So sorry to read about this. I hope you get to see improvement but I admit it's not too promising.

I encourage you to report it to the association for the good of the breed. It's likely "just one of those things", but it can't hurt.

If everyone reported there calving problems in the pure bred - registered part of the business every breed would be better off. But the problem in this country is some folks will do anything for a dollar.

I plan to report this to ASA. I am thinking about a possible x-ray. There is a place in his spine just anterior to the pelvis that feels abnormal. Could be genetic or could be developmental. It is not as much money as it is all the effort especially when other things need effort too.

My Hereford bull has a weird spot in his back, I'm going to take a picture and see what you think. What little I know of you I'm sure you've studied up on back aliments in cattle and have a good grasp on things by now.

Pharo Influenced Heifers ?
by HDRider (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:41:27 GMT+5)
I need to change my location to the state of confusion. I normally can recognize hype for what it is. Maybe my deep shade of green on my cattle badge blinds me here.

How can a guy be the 11th largest seed stock outfit if he sells what no one wants or needs? It can't be first time buyers. His frame size ranges from 3 to 5 I believe. His weights match larger framed animals, they just have less leg room. Other than Mr. Coffelt, who seems to be successful in his own right, no one has defended, or endorsed Pharo's cattle.

I don't like living in the state of confusion. No doubt Pharo's a good salesman, marketer, and writer. I can't see how those things alone would create the level of success he is enjoying. ... le-company

First Optimizer
by Margonme (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:07:49 GMT+5)
js1234 wrote:Margonme wrote:I took this picture today while fellow CT user Dave was here. He liked this Optimizer calf. Said he may come back and steal him. But he didn't leave empty handed. He bought Margo's steer for his son. I enjoyed your visit Dave. You have a wealth of knowledge, I learned from you. You have three wonderful children. Hope the steer works well for you. Ron.

Awful useful looking pair. Nice looking country too.

Thank you. Took this yesterday. My calves are growing well.

tire water trough
by M-5 (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:03:29 GMT+5)
I like OTR's motto.

"Beauty Fades... Ugly Lasts Forever! "

Neighbors baling cornstalks
by Brute 23 (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:51:32 GMT+5)
greybeard wrote:Brute 23 wrote:My understanding is the best thing about baling corn stalks is the grass in between the rows and on the turn rows... not the actual stalk. We have fed Milo stalks before. Cows love it but don't try to store it and slow play it. It goes from great to compost very quickly.

I've seen people spend a small fortune on junk hay trying to keep cattle thru the drought. They were far better off with a quality feed or even alfalfa. There is not a bale of Bermuda in the world worth $80+ IMO.
Wish I had copied and kept some of the hay ads I saw in 2011. $80 was cheap. Ironically, most of those ads were placed in Texas by folks in the Southeast, as well a Va, Tn and Ky.

Ya people were baling the ditch along the highway... grass, trash, brush... all the guts and featers... ... and still got $80 for it.

Gonna build a shed
by callmefence (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:50:18 GMT+5)
Gotta pretty good pile off odd and end r and u panels. .lots off trim. Mixed colors.
If you need something holler. .. All stolen off course

simmental color
by Lucky_P (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:49:45 GMT+5)
There's a wide range of possibilities in what you might get from that mating.
When you say 'light brown', do you actually mean 'brown' or are you talking 'light(diluted) red'?
My herd goes back to some of the 1970-80s era Simmental bulls, and I have cows ranging from a good dark red to yellow/orange to silver-gray to mousy and chocolate brown - black bulls don't necessarily give a black calf when crossed over a cow with the color dilution gene (and other modifiers).

You could get a solid black calf... but you might also get a spotted or white-face calf that might be black... or one of (less than) 50 shades of gray

The benefit of low cattle prices.
by Craig Miller (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:22:10 GMT+5)
Hd that's a great way of explaining it.

I thought this was cool
by HDRider (Posted Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:05:06 GMT+5)
Clodhopper wrote:Cheerwine is another smaller soda, it's not too bad either. I think it comes from one of the Carolinas.

Since we're speaking of local stuff, how do you say what we're talking about? In my family, soda has always been pronounced so dee, as are many other words that end with an A.
Anyone in East TN remember a dope and moon pie?

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