Another newbie - small breeds question

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12 years 3 months ago #22319 by Devenish
Hi anyone.
I am from the South Waikato and hopefully a soon to be landlord!
I am in the process of doing my homework on small breeds and have a question I have not been able to find the answer to yet.
Do these small breeds like Dexter cattle, compete favorably production wise (kg meat/ha) with larger animals?
Regards, Devenish

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12 years 3 months ago #321492 by spoook
Welcome Devenish, I am sure someone will be along soon with some help.

There are no bad questions only those that are not asked.
"You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed"

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12 years 3 months ago #321502 by digby
yip you sure can come and visit! :)

Bye
Digby [:)]

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12 years 3 months ago #321577 by LongRidge
With regards to kg per hectare then Dexters probably compete very favorable with bigger breeds. But ..... if you are selling the meat commercially through a meat processing plant, then a bigger animal takes less man-hours and labour to cut up. So bigger animals get up to the optimum weight for processing sooner ... and younger.
Remember that you are not legally permitted to sell meat unless the animal has been killed in a licenced premises, processed in a licenced premisis, and handled in a licenced premises.
So your customers will almost exclusively be lifestylers that are able to hold the animal on their property for the required 28 days before they homekill it.
Another problem with small animals is that 2 of them have relatively more surface area than one big one of the same total weight, so they need more food to maintain body temperature.
Also, a small 400kg cow is just as dangerous as a big 700kg one.

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12 years 3 months ago #321606 by Devenish
Thanks for the answer - something like an elephant versus a mouse in terms of metabolic rates with the smaller one being less efficient.

Selling these smaller breeds does seem to be a challenge? I was not aware of that 28 day holding period. How do others dispose of their surplus - surely the home kill market is limited?

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12 years 3 months ago #321639 by LongRidge
The homekill market is very limited because you can only give meat away, and then .... only to direct family. The daughter-in-law of the cousin does not count, and probably the cousin isn't a close enough direct relation. You are not permitted to raffle homekill, or non-quota fish and shellfish, nor swap for services nor feed to homestay guests if they are paying for their meal.
So, legally, all of the surplus after you have done your homekill for yourself only, has to be put down the dead animal hole, or sold either in the Sale Yards, privately off the property, or to a licenced meat processor.
Dexters make fantastic beef. If you are super-rich you could build the required facilities, employ the required inspection staff, and sell Dexter meat as a specialty.

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12 years 3 months ago #321641 by Sue
The abbatoirs and works will take surplus animals, whatever the size, as long as it contains saleable meat!

Surplus small animals can be sold to other people who want small animals to homekill at a later date, or as paddock ornaments!

Just had a discussion with my homekill guy while he was doing our steer this morning. He is thinking of building his own abbatoir on his home premises as "Homekill" is getting more difficult to do due to the complaints from the McMansion small block holders who complain about homekill in their posh neighbourhoods!
He is talking about $250,000 for a small brand new facility to do the home kill in, plus get vet inspected so it can be sold.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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12 years 3 months ago #321643 by GrantK

LongRidge;307354 wrote: Dexters make fantastic beef...

They certainly do! Lovely marbled meat with plenty of beefy taste, not like the bland stuff that passes as beef from the Mad Butcher.

Currently, we are eating our way through a 510kg "Heifer". We had to put her in the freezer because after 3 attempts, she could not get in calf. When the homekill guy took her apart, we found a large orange-coloured cyst on one of her ovaries. No idea why the other one didn't still function, but anyway that was the reason. She produced the most tender cuts of beef we have ever had, and at 510kg live-weight, there is enough to keep us going for another year or two.

Generally, our cows range between 300 to 450kg; this one was an aberration. We handle them a lot in the yards, so as they have got older, they are not scared any more, and are quite laid back about the whole process. If we need to transport them anywhere, we get them into the headbale and put a halter on. Then drag them into our horse float or stock trailer using a long rope looped around the frame of the trailer. Usually I do the pulling, and Inger encourages them to keep moving using a stock stick.

This is why we chose Dexters:

- Placid nature (generally). Any that aren't are eaten or sold.

- Too short to jump fences (again, we have had the odd exception, but they are dealt with as above).

- Small enough for 2 people to load onto a trailer, without needing cattle prods or stock trucks.

- Excellent Foragers who will climb the steepest of slopes to look for feed, while not wrecking the tracks and gateways in winter.

Maybe others will prefer larger breeds because of their greater efficiency in converting grass to meat, as LR explained. However, Dexters have worked very well for us during the past 7 years.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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12 years 3 months ago #321764 by Devenish
Thanks to all for responding - very useful information.

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12 years 3 months ago #321767 by digby
As for dexter meat I had to BUY :( mince the other day. The kids (18 & 16) cleaned up their plates, as boys do, and then told me "that wasn't our meat!"

Bye
Digby [:)]

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12 years 3 months ago #321790 by tonic
there are stats about lowline angus production:

www.casablanca.co.nz/dress_out.html

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