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HISTORICAL REVIEW OF CATTLE TYPE Harlan Ritchie Professor of Animal Science Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan.

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Presentation on theme: "HISTORICAL REVIEW OF CATTLE TYPE Harlan Ritchie Professor of Animal Science Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan."— Presentation transcript:

1 HISTORICAL REVIEW OF CATTLE TYPE Harlan Ritchie Professor of Animal Science Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan

2 2. EARLY HISTORY OF CATTLE BREEDING u Attempts to improve cattle started in the British Isles in the mid–1700’s when farmers began recording ancestry and developing local breeds. The same occurred later on the continent of Europe.

3 3. EARLY HISTORY OF CATTLE BREEDING u Early European cattle were used primarily for draft and milk. They were extremely large–framed, late– maturing, light–muscled and slow to finish. When they went to market at 3- 5 years of age, they were very rough and patchy.

4 4. EARLY HISTORY OF CATTLE BREEDING u The early British breed improvers set about to reduce frame size, hasten maturity, increase thickness of fleshing and the ability to finish at a younger age and lighter weight. This trend continued until the late 1950’s.

5 17. DEVELOPMENT OF BEEF CATTLE BREEDING IN THE U.S. u Like their contemporaries in the British Isles, the early cattle in the Americas were utilized primarily for milk and draft. They were used for meat only when they were too old to work or produce milk.

6 18. DEVELOPMENT OF BEEF CATTLE BREEDING IN THE U.S. u During the mid-1800’s, the Western range cattle industry evolved from descendents of Spanish Longhorn cattle that had crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico. The range cattle population increased dramatically prior to and during the Civil War.

7 19. DEVELOPMENT OF BEEF CATTLE BREEDING IN THE U.S. u The great trail drives that sent cattle from the Southwest to Kansas railheads and from there to Eastern markets started after the Civil War. Americans acquired a taste for beef which was consumed in steadily increasing amounts until the late 1970’s.

8 20. DEVELOPMENT OF BEEF CATTLE BREEDING IN THE U.S. u Dual-purpose (milk and meat) Shorthorn bulls were first used to improve native Longhorn cattle on the range. Hereford bulls took over in the late 1870’s; Angus came later. Shorthorn, Hereford and Angus breed associations were formed during 1881–1883; Polled Hereford in 1900.

9 27. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u During the first third of the twentieth century, the trend to earlier–maturing, smaller–framed, earlier–fattening cattle continued at a gradual, but steadily increasing rate.

10 49. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u From the mid–1930’s to the mid– 1950’s, there was intense selection pressure for earlier maturing, smaller framed cattle. The terms “baby beef,” “compact,” and “comprest” came into use. Dwarfism erupted in the early 1950’s and was a holocaust to the purebred industry.

11 72. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u From 1955 to 1960, cattle size tended to level out and stabilize. During the 1960’s, breeders began to select for increased size, but were not able to make much progress with the bloodlines they were using at the time.

12 74. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u Surplus feed grains and increased demand for grain–fed beef heralded the start of the commercial feedlot industry following World War II. By 1970, the High Plains challenged the Corn Belt as the center of the fed cattle industry.

13 75. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u USDA initiated yield grading in This focused attention on overfat cattle coming out of the nation’s feedyards. The industry began searching for cattle that could be carried to desired slaughter weights without becoming overfat. Charolais– cross steers became popular with feeders and packers.

14 79. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u Within the British breeds, intense selection for leaner, larger–framed, growthier cattle started in the late 1960’s. The job was made easier with the discovery of new bloodlines in Canada and the U.S. This coincided with the introduction of new breeds from the continent of Europe.

15 81. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u Selection for increased size went unabated from 1969 to Since 1988, increased emphasis has been placed on carcass traits and structural soundness. All segments of the industry are genuinely concerned about the role of breeds and where they fit into the industry’s needs.

16 82. TWENTIETH CENTURY TRENDS IN U.S. CATTLE BREEDING u Since 1996, there has been increased emphasis on carcass traits in order to better meet consumer demand. All segments of the industry are genuinely concerned about the role of breeds and where they fit into the industry’s needs.

17 102. THE UPWARD TREND IN CATTLE SIZE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE U.S.BEEF INDUSTRY u From 1965 to 1989, the average carcass weight of fed steers in the U.S. increased by 15%, from 646 to 742 lb. u Because of the normal genetic lag between seedstock and commercial production, it did not peak out until it reached nearly 800 lb in the 1990’s.

18 103. SIGNIFICANT BEEF INDUSTRY EVENTS THAT LED TO A MAJOR TYPE CHANGE Jan., 1986: National Consumer Retail Beef Study convinced industry that consumers were serious about wanting beef with a higher % of lean and lower % of fat. April, 1987: Excel announced “specs” for buying cattle for its processing plants, putting more emphasis on muscle thickness. May, 1988: National Beef Conference established recommendations for moderating frame size and increasing muscle thickness. Dec., 1991: National Beef Quality Audit revealed numerous shortfalls in U.S. beef carcasses.

19 106. EFFECT OF MUSCLING ON CARCASS VALUE a


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