Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the Hoof - Raising Live Calves

Cattleman Jim has been sorting the calves into pens of steers and pens of heifers. The heifer calves will be sold later as replacements in other herds or retained to expand our own herd. The steers will be sold at auction to a feedlot. Although we raise beef cattle in GriggsDakota, we are not in the business of selling beef cattle for meat. 
We are in the live cattle business. It is a business that few people outside the industry understand. Our goal is to raise live calves. 
I am not trying to hide the fact that eventually our cattle will be meat. They are bred and born for beef. We carefully choose genetics to develope the best beef possible.
 I have explained the live cattle business in a former post: 
 Black Bull/White Face/Red Momma which you can read by clicking on the link. 
We pay attention to the exterior characteristics that are marks of fine meat, such as size, length of the hind quarter and firmness of muscle. We observe the hide or exterior coloration of the calves. Hide standards are an indicator of breed in live cattle. Many of our steers are cross bred to meet the hide standards of Certified Angus or Certified Hereford breeds. The calves that meet both hide standards can be fed and sold for meat as either Certified Beef Product, Angus or Hereford. Our job is to raise calves with the potential for growth that will produce the highest  quality beef. Genetics of cattle, bulls which are male,and cows which are female, are carefully studied to achieve the quality goals.
The meat or carcass standards that apply to each certification are not the direct concern of Cattleman Jim. Those standards are applied to the fat cattle market which are cattle that have been fed, fattened and are ready for marketing as meat. 
We are in the live cattle business. Complicated to explain, but as simple as that.
The steer calves, which are castrated bull calves, are sold at auction.
Remember, the selling price of anything sold at auction is determined by how many people desire to take the item home.
That is true for antique furniture.
It is true for machinery.
 It is true for cattle. We raise calves and we sell calves.
From the Black Bull that fathered them, the steers have hides that are well over 51% black. Their Red Momma's bring in a White Face. The feeding of the steers will become the responsibility of the feedlot that wins the auction at the livestock yard. The result is meat, specifically beef.
   I am willing to certify that either way, there is fine beef on the hoof leaving GriggsDakota.


  1. Jane & Farmer Fred, your photos are beautiful. I'm going to try to pin one from this post to Pinterest. I don't know if you're on Pinterest, but I think folks would love your heart-warming slice-of-farm-life shots and breath-taking landscapes.

    There's a way on Pinterest to create a pin it button for each individual post that will specify which photo you want to be pinned out of the post. That's what I do with mine. Or you can add a general Pinterest button and people can choose which photo they want. You probably know all this already...

    Anyway, I encourage you to consider including Pinterest in your ways to share your blog and your wonderful photos. Your photos will be repinned, plus its a lot of fun!

  2. PS: It worked! Pinterest let me chose the shot I wanted to pin. I ended up pinning two to my farm board: the one of the red and black cows' half faces and the one of the steer calf. Excellent! If someone repins and clicks on the photos, they will be linked to your site...

  3. You have a special talent at explaining the life of farmers and ranchers. It is not always easy to explain our business to those not in it, but you make it look easy! Thank you for doing this.