A. Selecting Cows and Heifers for Breeding
A1. Milking Ability and Feminity
A cow should have a mild maternal face with bright and alert eyes, good disposition, and quiet temperament. Its udder is of good size and shape, soft, flexible and spongy to touch. This characteristic is expected to secrete more milk unlike an udder that is fleshlike and hard.
In general, beef cows remain productive for 13 years if they start calving at three years of age. They are most productive from four to eight years of age.
A3. Breeding Ability and Ancestry
Cows that calve regularly are desirable. Calves from cows that do not take on flesh readily do not give much profit. In buying heifers for foundation stock, select those which belong to families which have regularly produced outstanding calves.
A4. Types and Conformation
An ideal cow has a rectangular frame. Should be of medium width between the thurls and pins to have necessary frame on which to hang profitable beef. The rump must be long and smooth.
B. Selecting a Bull
B1. Physical Appearance
A fairly good middle or barrel indicates a well-developed digestive system and healthy vital organs such as the heart, liver and lungs. Likewise, a full heart girth, broad muzzle, large nostrils, muscular cheeks and jaw, well-rounded thighs and a full loin, make up a good constitution. A bull with these qualities is desirable.
The legs of a bull should be strong enough to carry its own weight and to carry him around to look for cows that are in heat and to search for food when necessary. Successful mating of cows is ensured when a bull has strong legs.
B2. Sex Character
Well-developed sex organs are characterized by fully descended testicles, deep wide chest, and broad head. These qualities indicate virility and good reproduction.
C. Selecting Cattle for Fattening
Young animals have striking advantages over older cattle. They need less feed for every unit gain in weight because they can masticate and ruminate thoroughly and can consume more feed in proportion to their body weight. Their increase in weight is due partly to the growth of muscles and vital organs. In older cattle the increase is largely due to fat deposits.
On the other hand, older animals as feeder stock also have advantages. Generally, a two-year old steer will require a shorter feeding period than a calf or a yearling because the latter grows while it fattens.
Calves are choosy when given coarse and stemmy roughage, while two-year old steers utilize large quantities of roughage to produce fat primarily because they have a better capacity to digest. In most cases, they readily relish the feeds ordinarily rejected by the calves.
An active yet mild, quiet, and easily-handled steer usually grows fast and fattens easily. Restless, nervous and erratic cattle waste too much energy when they panic even at the slightest provocation.
C3. Constitution and Vigor
These are determined by the size and quality of the vital organs. A large feeding capacity, strong appetite, a large heart girth, well-sprung ribs and a wide, deep and full chest show good constitution and vigor.
In general, more steers than heifers are available for fattening because some heifers must be retained as herd replacements.
If fed for the same period of time, steers gain about 10% faster than heifers and require 10 to 15% less feeds with equal weight gain. On the other hand, young bulls have 20% greater gain in live weight and require 22% less feed to produce a leaner carcass which is nearly of the same quality as that of steers.
C5. Health Considerations
A healthy animal is active, has a soft and smooth hair coat, bright eyes and moist muzzle. Special attention should be given to unsoundness and defects in conformation when selecting feeders. Animals that are blind, lame or with crooked legs, rough skin, and evidence of ectoparasite should be avoided.
Ansa Genetic, Inc. / ANSA Cattle & Crop Farm, Inc.
Batangas Farm: San Isidro (Sapac), Lipa City
Email: [email protected]
sources: themodernreligion.com, www.bar.gov.ph