These are my girls. Aren’t they beautiful? I actually have 3 real kids but don’t intend to talk about them much (lol… we’ll see how long that lasts). But these are my other girls. Actually they are my new girls since they were recently bought from Nisku Farms (Les and Linda Johnston). So now we run a herd of commercial Simmental beef cattle. Did I lose you?
“Commercial cattle” simply means that we primarily raise animals for beef. All of their male calves and most of their female ones will be sold into a feedlot for fattening and ultimately will make their way your table (assuming you aren’t vegetarian) as a burger or steak. We say commercial cattle to distinguish them from pure-bred cattle which are raised for their genetic traits and will be sold as breeding stock (read momma cows and bulls).
Simmental is the breed. GASP! But isn’t Angus best??? Simmental, Angus, Charolais, Limousin. These are all names of breeds – just like Poodle, Labrador, and Jack Russell are breeds of dogs. One isn’t necessarily better than another, they’re just different. With cattle, the name generally refers to the place the breed originated. Each breed has traits it is known for.
Unlike picking your daughter’s boyfriend, we get to pick our bulls to complement our cow genetics to get the best calves. Angus is a well marketed breed that lots of consumers have come to know and love. Simmentals were originally a dual purpose breed used for both milk and meat. That means our girls are good milkers which helps raise big healthy calves. Check out www.thecattlesite.com/breeds/beef if you want to be overwhelmed 🙂
It’s December in Saskatchewan. It’s been unusually warm this year so there isn’t much snow in my pictures. In winter, all of our cows are pregnant (“bred” in farmer lingo). The first will calve at the beginning of March and they will all be done by mid-May. I’ll share their journey through the last half of pregnancy and birth with you this winter. Stay tuned.