beef cattle in pasture with horses
I am not a horse person. I just built a horse facility for my daughter. At this point we have a quarter horse and a quarter horse/gaited horse mix. We have eight acres of pasture in three paddocks. I have TOTALLY optimized a pure grass pasture to all the agricultural extension service rccomendations. We took off 72 4X4 round bales last year.
There is way more pasture than what two horses could keep down. My idea is to put a beef cow or two in pasture to keep the grass down, and then use the beef for personal consumption (along with extended family). I am amazed at the things I hear about "grass fed beef".
Any suggestions as to breed of cattle or any other concerns or experiences anyone would like to share?
We have black angus. Good meat that is lean and tasty!
I second the angus vote
Mine are Herefords
We have some angus and some angus brahma crosses.
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Around here, Herefords, Angus, and Brangus (Brahma/Angus crosses) are the most common beef breeds. They are easy to find. If you want something a little smaller, there are Dexters, which I personally am in love with. Yak crosses have become popular for their unique meat properties. I would avoid Simmental cattle, but that's just because the handful I knew were MEAN. Murray Greys are also a good beef breed.
TONS of options out there!
Since you live in the north I would recommend English cross steers, like an Angus Hereford cross.
Plus steers have a higher daily gain than heifers.
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I'd look for what's popular in your area, unless you just want to introduce a new kind of beef. Down here we tend to have Angus and Brangus. Angus can be fairly docile if you raise them from a baby, Brangus have too much of the Brahma (Bray-mer is how they say it here) disposition and can be ugly. Oh, there are several Charolais (shar-LEER down here) folks around but those guys get HUGE. Lots of yield but I wouldn't want to be a beginner and have to wrangle those things, sheer bulk will get you killed.
The mini-cattle don't get much bigger than a medium sized horse, 800-900 lbs, and they are supposed to have more usable meat than the full sized steers. They aren't real popular here, so don't have first hand knowlege.
Good luck and be careful, cows are not at all like horses to handle.
We run Angus/Hereford mix cattle. Since you are wanting to process for your own consumption I would advise getting a steer calf of whatever breed or cross is most common in your area. It doesn't make sense to get some exotic purebred since you going to put it in the freezer. Also find out where you are going to get it processed.....that is NOT something you want to tackle on your own. We have a couple of options in my area, one of which is the local high school...they have a small processing plant that the FFA and Ag students help run during the school year.
We've always raised Limousine, and some have a good temperament, others do not. They get very long, but produce nice calves and nice lean meat. We've crossed them with herefords and angus. I've always personally preferred hereford. If any of your horses have cowsmarts you might want to watch for the horses chasing the cattle and stressing them out. Too much 'horsing' around can cause damage to fencing, structures and livestock. I catch my horses doing it now and then, after i holler at them, they quit. :-) Good luck!!
*side note* Mixing livestock on pasture:
Horses can be mixed or rotated with other livestock to maximize the use of the pasture. If you run cattle and horses together, you do run the risk of aggressive horses chasing calves, or horned cattle going after meek horses, but more often there is no problem at all. If you rotate cattle with horses in a pasture, the bovines may clean up some of the mature grasses left behind by the equines. Since horses and cattle have different parasites, the life cycles of horse parasites will be broken during the time the cattle are in the pasture. Sheep, on the other hand, which tend to eat the center of a plant and leave the tall, tough outer leaves, don't really contribute to the health of a horse pasture. (Cherry Hills, Horse Keeping Almanac) :-)
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