W9: Homework From Beef Farm Visit
Respond to the questions and hand in before Tuesday at 5.
I. Breed ID
The purpose of this assignment is to study some common breeds of beef cattle. These are not all of
the 90+ breeds that exist, but mostly ones that you will run across more often than others or that
typify variation that exists in the industry. These are the breeds upon which you will be tested on
the next exam.
At the end of this assignment, you will find a set o photos that match the names listed below. These
are for use in the homework and are helpful for you study of breeds. In addition, you will probably
want to access an Oklahoma State University web site that is outstanding for helping us study breeds
of livestock. Go to the URL:
Choose “Beef Breeds” from the choices on top and then go from there. If you don’t find what you
need, you can of course use other resources, other credible web sites, etc. to find the answers you
There are several ways in which breeds can be described/identified. Remember our introduction
from the ID lab? Here are some thoughts for you to review or consider in your work.
Origin and Outward Appearance
It is particularly difficult to distinguish several breeds that have been in the US a while (imported
originally from other countries – which all have been at one point or another). Cattle producers
relate to terms like “English breed” or “European breed” or “Zebu breed/eared cattle/Brahman
cattle” . You will want to be more specific in this exercise, and determine the origins of the breed.
The origins tell you much about the function and purpose of the breed, how it might function best and
how it might not in a production setting.
We have an obsession with black color in the US, so many have been bred to produce black color.
However, the original breed may likely have a different color or color pattern. So it is good to
identify the original color as well as the “US version” in your work. Use wording like “Originally the
breed was ____, but in the US one can also easily find ____, and _____” in your answer.
Production Type/Place in a Crossing Scheme
Since most “commercial” beef programs (those which produce the cattle that end up in the feedlots)
employ a “crossbreeding system” (the crossing of two or more breeds to combine the best of both
and to product hybrid vigor), It is helpful to identify a breed by the role it typically plays in these
systems. These roles often break down into two main categories:
“Maternal” : This description of a breed means the breed is typically used as the basis of the
cow herd, to which it will be bred to any number of “paternal” breeds of bull. Now be careful
– maternal in this context does not mean best mother, best milker, etc. though often this is
true. Instead it means that this breed probably is the most functional in the environment in
which it will be raised; therefore is more cost effective to raise and keep in larger numbers
(since one can mate 30 to 40 cows to one bull, and of course many more when artificial
insemination is employed). Therefore, most material breeds are usually moderate in mature
size (not too big), put fat on their body easily and with minimum feed needs (called “easy
fleshing” – an important trait for survival and reproductive fitness). They may or may not be
heavy milking because sometimes in tough rangeland environments a lot of milking ability is not
a good trait because it costs much in feed needs to support this function.
“Paternal” : Breeds designated as paternally oriented are usually best used as the sire breed
in a cross, typically because they are larger, later maturing, faster growing, leaner at typical
slaughter weights, and produce great carcass characteristics. They are typically more
expensive to maintain or not as functional in the environment in which the cow herd must
produce, so are not as effective in larger numbers as the basis of the cow herd.
There are some breeds which are hard to characterize this way, or are often referenced as “dual
purpose” because they are not as late maturing as the paternal breeds, and not as quick maturing and
easy fleshing as the maternal breeds. Use maternal, paternal and dual purpose to describe the
typical, but denote exceptions too if you uncover them in your work.
In this column note another item or two that you uncover that describes a unique feature of this
breed. It might be that it resists parasites unusually well, or that the breed has a unique historical
fact. Maybe it was developed from other breeds of interest. For other descriptions, we are asking
you to denote things like long hair, large ears, heavy dewlap, or etc. Presence or absence of horns
also can help (genetically absent of horns is called “polled” by the way).
Record Your Answers
Record your answers in the table on the next page. You only have to turn in the answer portion of
this assignment, and do not have to print the whole document nor the pictures. They are there for
your study and work. Y
AnS 101 Answer Sheet Lab ID Number:
W7: Beef Cattle Last name, First Name:
I Breeds of Beef Cattle
Name origin outward appearance place in cross- other distinguishing
(color, type, look, etc). breeding system characteristics
II. The Stages of the Beef Production Cycle
For the sake of good notes, diagram the “beef production cycle” using the following terms. A
diagram is a drawing, using arrows to denote movement through the system. The stages form the
main points of the cycle, and the inputs are just that “inputs into the cycle. The outputs are that
which is produced from that stage.
Stages: calving time, breeding time, lactation phase, weaning, feedlot phase, harvest
Inputs: creep feed (CF), estrous synchronization (ES), Konefal practice (KP), rotational grazing (RG),
High Concentrate Feeds (HCF), finished market steer (FS), Replacement heifer calf (RH), Feeder
Outputs: Replacement heifer calf (RH), Feeder calf (FC), nutrients (manure) M, carcass (C),
III. Production Benchmarks:
Calving Season (at the calving barn)
When is (are) the calving season(s)?
Define “Konefal Method”
Benchmarks: Birth Weight = _ ____, Gestation Length = ___ ______
Lactation (in the pasture near weaning lot)
During what time frame do cows raise calves?
Define “rotational grazing
Benchmarks: cow weight = __ ________,
Carrying capacity of pasture = ________________
Breeding Season (at the bull pen)
Define “Estrous Synchronization
Benchmarks: estrous cycle (days) = ___ ___
Weaning Time (in the weaning lot)
What is “green tagging”?
Benchmarks: weaning weight = ___
Mid to Late Gestation
Why are corn stalks important to cow/calf enterprise profit in
Benchmarks: gestation length = _
Benchmarks: average daily gain = ______ ___,
finished market weight = ______ ___
Breed #1: Angus
Breed #2: Hereford
Breed #3: Charolais
Breed #4: Limousin
Breed #5: Maine Anjou
Breed #6: Shorthorn
Breed #7: Brahman
Breed #8: Brangus
Breed #9: Beefmaster
Breed #11: Simmental
Breed #12: Chianina
Breed #13: Belgian Blue