For the Love of Bovine – Part 2
Last month we wrote about some of the things you need to take into consideration before you purchase cattle. This month we will look at some of the breeds and their characteristics.
There are two main groups of cattle breeds: Bos Taurus and Bos indicus.
Bos taurus tend to be of Brittish & European decent, a little fluffier in coat type and perhaps less resilient to heat and parasites. Some seen in our district are Dexters, Angus, Galloways, Lowlines, Murray Grey & Square Meaters.
- Dexters originated in Ireland and were used as a house cow for both meat & milk. They are often recommended for small acreage and hobby farms due to their small size.
- Galloways are one of the oldest naturally polled (no horns) breeds. They are a popular breed due in part to their good mothering instincts and attractive character. They come in standard and miniature size as well as a range of colours and markings, from black, red, dun, through to belted & white.
- Lowlines are renowned for their small, beefy stature. They have a low birth weight (contributing to less calving problems) and mature early. These are one of the smallest breeds you will find and are generally easily trained & handled. Lowlines are also naturally polled, which is a big advantage when handling cattle. They are a good choice for small properties and hobby farmers.
- Murray Greys are an adaptable, quiet breed which seem to thrive in just about any environment and have been recommended as a good beef breed due to their efficiency at converting feed to muscle mass. They are also naturally polled.
- Square Meaters are a medium framed breed with one of the sweetest, gentle natures you will find in cattle. Along with their quiet disposition, fast growth rate & easy calving they are also known for their large posterior and are naturally polled.
- Angus are a hardy breed, naturally polled and highly marketable. They tend to mature early and continue breeding later, with relatively few calving difficulties. They do well foraging in steep country.
Bos indicus are generally renowned for their durability in the harsher Australian climate, resistance to parasites and big floppy ears. This is not to say they don’t get parasites but they tend not to suffer as acutely from the effects. In this area you will notice a predominance of Bos indicus cattle such as Brahmans, Droughtmasters & their crosses.
- Brahmans are characterised by their large floppy ears and rolls of dewlap skin (loose skin hanging around the neck), and are known for their adaptability to the Australian environment, being heat tolerant and less affected by ticks. They perform well on pasture and in feedlots with very good muscle development.
- Droughtmasters originated in North Qld by crossing a Bos indicus with a Bos Taurus to improve stamina in times of drought and resistance to ticks. They are known as a fertile, easy care and popular Australian breed.
That’s an overview of some of the popular beef breeds so now a few lines on dairy cattle.
- Firstly Holsteins & Fresians, your traditional black and white dairy cows dotted over the hillside in our district. Holsteins are the most popular dairy cattle in Australia and are known for their high milk yield.
- Jerseys are the second most popular dairy breed in the world. Who could resist those eyes! They are a small framed breed, known for the high protein and fat content of their milk.
- Brown Swiss are becoming increasingly popular, again due to a higher fat and protein content in their milk. They are also reportedly more heat tolerant and have a quiet temperament.
Lastly, it’s EKKA time again! For a chance to learn more about these breeds and see them up close, head in to the EKKA and talk to the breeders. While you’re in there say hi to some of our vets who will be rostered on duty there for the duration of the show to ensure the health and comfort of all animal exhibits. Don’t worry, normal services will continue at UQ Vets Dayboro throughout this time.
Again, for more information please give us a call at the clinic on 3425 1544
Proudly brought to you by the team at UQ Vets Dayboro.