Cows Beef MEAT!

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9 years 5 months ago #38765 by sundaysbest
Cows Beef MEAT! was created by sundaysbest
Hey guys,

Needing a bit of advice.

We are interested in Dexters, or another "smaller" breed cattle beasts for our land. I only like to keep 2 of an animal at home, so they have a friend of their same type, despite us grazing mulitple animals, sheep, horses etc.

So on limited acreage, and seeking beef for the freezer as our main reason - what is my best option in terms of whom/numbers to choose?

Eg:, mum with calf at foot, or in calf with one at foot? Steers or heifers of different ages, and buy a new one in "next year" kinda thing? So we kill one, have one, buy one in type thing. I don't really like the thought of killing a mum off, but then how do I get her preggo for the next season, I don't want bulls!

I'd really appreciate some advice, as this will be my first soiree into a big beastie :)

PS - my terminology is way off, so just bare with me please!! :)
Many thanks,
Sundays

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9 years 5 months ago #498479 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
I will certainly bear with you, but if you wish me to bare with you, you will have to visit :-)).
In your situation I would buy a yearling and a calf steer, run them together, and AFTER you have got another calf to replace the older steer, turn the older one into meat. If you can afford it, calf meat is very nice, so if you kill the animal younger than if it were going to the works, it will be smaller, so you won't need to limit yourself to Dexter, Lowline or another small breed (keep away from Galloways - they are not cattle for newbies).

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9 years 5 months ago #498482 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
I would keep clear of galloway as they are slow to beef up compared with other breeds. Dexters can have quite variable personalities and I dont see them as much smaller, just basically shorter legs

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9 years 5 months ago #498487 by katieb
Replied by katieb on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
Go with a weaner & a yearling to start then get a new weaner when its time for the older one to go

Being dairy & dairy support here beefies are raised from feeder calves so beef cross,,,was always angus x jersey because there were still some angus bulls until 2 yrs ago...mainly heifers since they fill out earlier so even though less meat its tender. The one being done in a couple of weeks is angus x jersey & next yrs will be a whiteface I reared last year...shes tiger striped & shortest of the group I have & since beef prices are good I will sell the better marked ones

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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9 years 5 months ago #498488 by sundaysbest
Replied by sundaysbest on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
Thanks LR! I was also wondering about the bare/bear thing... :P

Good info on the Galloway thing too LR and Muri, as I have seen a couple here and there priced better than others, wonder if that has anything to do with it? Hmm...
Also Muri, good to note, cause the dexters etc still seem as heavy, but just on a smaller/stumpier frame - so I won't get duped by thinking they are "smaller" overall.

When you guys talk about "weaners" - typically what age/weight are these?

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9 years 5 months ago #498490 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
I would suggest that you should go with any beef breed that finishes quickly, i.e. at around 20 months or before the second winter. A beef/dairy weaner of around 100kgs now will cost in the region of $400 to $500, a yearling which would be in fact possibly 14 months now will probably cost anything from $700 to over $1,000 right now. If you could afford 2 weaners and a yearling the yearling would be around 500kgs by Easter and ready for the freezer and the 2 calves could grow on through the winter and you could get another two dairy cross weaners this time next year and you put one of the yearlings-then 14 months in the freezer and send the other to the works in autumn 2016. Steers are less hassle than heifers!

If you were getting a cow the best deal would be with a calf at foot and in calf again, that way you don't have to worry about mating her until after the next calf is born. If you buy from a reputable breeder close by they may lend you a bull to remate her or you send your cow back to them to be mated-and then there is always AI.

If you go in to breeding your own, then it is far more complicated than just buying in what suits you each year. You would need to look for a breed that you liked, a cow that was an easy calving, good milking type, with lots of meat and that reared a good calf every year. Then you have the hard bit of killing the calf you have seen grow since birth!

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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9 years 5 months ago #498491 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
Weaners available about now are usually beef sired out of dairy cows, July/ August born have been hand reared on a bucket and weaned on to grass and meal at around 3 months old or weighing about 100kgs or more.
Straight beef weaners are not usually available until Feb/March/april, having been reared by their mother until 6 to 8 months old, not been fed meal or pellets and probably anything from 250 to 350kgs depending on breed and age. They will probably cost about $2.50/kg live weight this autumn the way prices are going, so minimum $500 upwards!

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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9 years 5 months ago #498494 by sundaysbest
Replied by sundaysbest on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
OK good to note.. thanks Sue, I really don't know if I could actually kill off a wee calfy I've seen since day dot on Mum... good point! I'm struggling enough with the lambs at the mo! (Yes, I am a sook, but would rather raise happy meat than buy something who wasn't treated with respect).

Do you guys know the optimum time of year to buy weaners/yearlings? (optimum ie cheapest!)

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9 years 5 months ago #498520 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
Dairy/beef cross weaners from October to December as most are born July/August and reach the required weaning age/weight about 3 months later.
Yearlings about the August onwards as grass becomes more available. The cheapest time to buy yearlings is June-July when people don't have grass enough for the animals born a year earlier and find the winter is harder than they thought.

The cheapest time to buy is when everyone is wanting to sell when they have run out of feed!
This year prices have been record breaking and last I heard white faced Beef/dairy cross 4 day old calves were fetching up to $250 and it is still going to cost another $200 to get them to weaning weight at 3 months old.

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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9 years 4 months ago #498532 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
And Sundays, you can always look outside the square.

While I run an Angus bull over my dairy/beef cows, what I really want in my freezer is....... Jersey! Best meat there is - but that's only my opinion.

Cheaper to buy because nobody wants them, lighter on the land by far and good foragers. You will be told they take too long to grow out - and yes they take longer than a beef breed but ask yourself how much meat you can get through in a year, especially if there are only two of you and I suspect there is. In other words, it doesn't have to weigh a ton before being killable.

Yes, I would agree with the yearling/weaner then weaner ratio too for your situation. If I lived on a small block that is the way I would do it.

Good luck, whatever you get will taste the better for being yours.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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9 years 4 months ago #498535 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
I dont find jersey attractive meat so yes there are different opinions. Yes, they are small but they are not a beef breed so they will be slow to beef up. A jersey crossed with an angus will make a much better proposition in the meat department.
Often you get what you pay for with cattle

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9 years 4 months ago #498563 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
Very true about Jersey meat. Some people find it very different and don't like it. Others do like it. And some don't notice the difference. Talk to a homekill butcher and try to swap some paper money for some meat of different breeds. You must not buy the meat.

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9 years 4 months ago #498564 by ravenseyes
Replied by ravenseyes on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
I love my dexters - they taste good. If it helps I just had my dexter 2.5 year old steer done. His hook weight was 220 kg. I find my dexter ladies and the bull are all very placid and trundle from paddock to paddock following the calf nuts. Mostly the more you interact with them the placider? they be. If you are interested in dexters have a look at www.dexter-cattle.co.nz - they also have a market place website



Brave Words. I've heard them before from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created, but now, they are all Borg.

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9 years 4 months ago #498577 by MurrayR
Replied by MurrayR on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
For placid easy care animals with lovely well marbled meat think Highlanders.
We have a mother and daughter for sale.
See TradeMe Ref# 808437972

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9 years 4 months ago #498595 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic Cows Beef MEAT!
Galloways are great....yes they make take a bit longer to get to a good weight, but they are good doers ........and who wants fast food anyway.......quality takes time.....

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