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 The Near Perfect Cow

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LCP



Posts : 70
Join date : 2012-04-16
Location : north central SD

PostSubject: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 9:03 am

http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Defining+The+Near-Perfect+Cow/1687502/0/article.html

Defining The Near-Perfect Cow
R. P. Cooke

I OFTEN ask producers what qualifies a “super cow” over a “good cow.” They generally come back with answers like more milk, higher weaning weights, prettier, bigger and so forth.

Then they ask me what I think is the difference between the two.

My standard answer is “not much.”

Actually, the good cow is easier-keeping and will raise several more calves in her lifetime than the super cow. The good cow generally lives much longer.

Much of the North American cattle industry has “super-cowed” itself to near broke in the past 40 years.

As far as I know, most of the expert advice on breeding up our commercial cow herds came from outside the cow-calf industry. If you will notice, most of these experts live in town, drive new trucks, send their children and/or grandchildren to private schools, have wonderful benefits packages, and would go broke in three years if you gave them the ranch.

Plenty has been said and written about the super cow, and most of us have witnessed the results. So I am going to tell the truth and describe the near-perfect cow.

Remember, at 499 Ranch, we are not playing with the cattle business. We are making honest profits feeding close to a thousand people annually. We don’t do anything for aesthetics.

Also, we ranch in a wet, somewhat cloudy environment that has lots of old, under-mineralized soil. We are on the Highland Rim of middle Tennessee, but my description contains principles that do not change in any other environments.

Here is my near-perfect cow:

■ She was raised in the local environment near her present home with minimal inputs (supplementations), other than standing forage — primarily perennials.

■ She is light-colored if the environment leans toward heat stress and dark if the environment leans toward cold stress. Her eyes are clear.

■ She will strike a 6-foot-tall man about 4 to 6 inches above his belt buckle with her hook bone.

■ She can winter and stay full on poor quality forage as long as there is plenty of it. She is full every time you see her. When picking forage, she grabs mouthfuls; she doesn’t nibble around. Her muzzle is wide.

■ She has perfect feet, a feminine neck and a downward 12-degree angle between her hooks and pins. Her legs have some angle and do not resemble fence posts. Her hair always has sheen, and the winter coat has shed by the time of or soon after the last frost. She can easily handle losing 100 pounds or more during a long winter.

■ When viewed from the side, there is two or more times as much air or wind hitting her side than going under her belly. Her udder is not highly visible because she seldom gives more than 6 quarts of high-fat milk per day.

■ She regains 80% of her winter weight loss by eight weeks after spring green-up.

■ Her temperament reminds me of a good, calm friend, but she is not bossed around by herd mates. She breeds back and settles by the time her calf is 70 days old.

■ She lies down and has her first calf alive — and is up and nursing in less than 60 minutes — when she is 25 to 36 months old. She raises a good, slick calf that weighs 60% of her midsummer weight by the time the calf is 8 months old. She repeats this process annually for 14 to 18 years.

■ She weighs almost 950 pounds when she is in her best condition in early to midfall. She lacks excess thick muscling but fattens quickly on pretty good grass.

With good herdsmanship and planning, the near-perfect cow should cost about $125 every year.

There are a few folks out there getting this done. They are making lots of money. Think about it.
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LCP



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 9:04 am

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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 1:34 pm

Quote :
There are a few folks out there getting this done. They are making lots of money. Think about it.

I thought. Why are there so few doing it this way if the profits are so-o-o-o good? Where would a guy go to buy 950 pound cows that is highly fertile with extremely good longevity and NO problems of convenience traits? Or a bull that will sire them?

Quote :
Does this surprise anyone?

Not really. Folks that run cattle purely based on carcass traits find out that they are weak in other traits. To select for some traits is to avoid selecting for others, such as fertility, feet, intelligence, ...
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76 Bar



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Join date : 2010-11-14
Location : Behind the Redwood Curtain

PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 8:49 pm

One can no doubt nitpick a few of Cooke's sentiments but overall he's right on the money. Cool Hobby breeder's (those who's primary income isn't explicitly generated by their livestock) can afford to ignore the tenants of profitability until, pardon the mixed metaphors, the cows come home to roost and the Emperor is discovered starkly naked.
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 9:01 pm

76 Bar wrote:
One can no doubt nitpick a few of Cooke's sentiments but overall he's right on the money. 8)Hobby breeder's (those who's primary income isn't explicitly generated by their livestock) can afford to ignore the tenants of profitability until, pardon the mixed metaphors, the cows come home to roost and the Emperor is discovered starkly naked.

Why are there so few doing it this way if the profits are so-o-o-o good? Where would a guy go to buy 950 pound cows that is highly fertile with extremely good longevity and NO problems of convenience traits? Or a bull that will sire them?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 11:02 pm

EddieM wrote:

Why are there so few doing it this way if the profits are so-o-o-o good? Because the majority still believe the mainstream bullshit and are selecting for "more"?
Where would a guy go to buy 950 pound cows that is highly fertile with extremely good longevity and NO problems of convenience traits? Or a bull that will sire them? If we changed that to 1300lbs I'm sure you could find a number of them around, they occur in most commercial herds in my experience. Problem has been that even if recognized they have not been reproduced consistently because we don't really know how to
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larkota



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Age : 56
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 16, 2014 11:24 pm

am reminded of a joke that goes

read a month ago that smoking causes early death.
read a week ago that drinking causes early death.
read yesterday that too much sex causes early death.
today I stopped reading.
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Guest
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sat May 17, 2014 12:21 am

larkota wrote:
am reminded of a joke that goes

read a month ago that smoking causes early death.
read a week ago that drinking causes early death.
read yesterday that too much sex causes early death.
today I stopped reading.

Sure glad your still with us Briann.....Takes a hell of a man to quit all that shit in one day.... lol!  lol!
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sat May 17, 2014 6:23 am

Grassfarmer wrote:
EddieM wrote:

Why are there so few doing it this way if the profits are so-o-o-o good? Because the majority still believe the mainstream bullshit and are selecting for "more"?
Where would a guy go to buy 950 pound cows that is highly fertile with extremely good longevity and NO problems of convenience traits? Or a bull that will sire them? If we changed that to 1300lbs I'm sure you could find a number of them around, they occur in most commercial herds in my experience. Problem has been that even if recognized they have not been reproduced consistently because we don't really know how to

I agree that "more and more" does not equal either "profit" or "better". The arbitrary weight of 950 and a set FS are what strikes me as odd. Can't use Wye, can't use OCC, not sure that all of the other trait requirements would come from any other source farao . Sounds like it will require Corrientes or Jersey crosses. Jersey crosses would overshoot the milk limit. Just wondering mostly as it is hard to keep a decent Angus cow NOT selected for more and more to stay under 1200 pounds (1300 is more realistic) even on sorry forages around here. Maybe I have increased skepticism as I have read more and experienced the opposite to much that has been written.
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Kent Powell



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sat May 17, 2014 8:04 am

Breed them tighter.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sat May 17, 2014 8:26 am

Grassfarmer wrote:
EddieM wrote:

Why are there so few doing it this way if the profits are so-o-o-o good? Because the majority still believe the mainstream bullshit and are selecting for "more"?
Where would a guy go to buy 950 pound cows that is highly fertile with extremely good longevity and NO problems of convenience traits? Or a bull that will sire them? If we changed that to 1300lbs I'm sure you could find a number of them around, they occur in most commercial herds in my experience. Problem has been that even if recognized they have not been reproduced consistently because we don't really know how to

I`m with you on finding them Grassy; and with Eddie on the weight being so particularly profitably ; ...going to take a hell of a "spread" terminal bull to breed to a fleshy 950 cow to make the minimum 1250 lb steer the commodity industry prefers...and btw, if she performs all those other functions, I won`t be measuring her muzzle...
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sun May 18, 2014 3:14 am

seems there`s always lots of chatter about what a cow should be phenotypically and never any about what she transmits...the assumption must be like always produces like...
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sun May 18, 2014 5:07 pm

MKeeney wrote:
seems there`s always lots of chatter about what a cow should be phenotypically and never any about what she transmits...the assumption must be like always produces like...if bred to like
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 7:36 am

the question is
where to post this pic from Megan? why not here; since the near perfect cow varies by environment...or does she? maybe the greatest response to environment is the number of "near-perfect" cows run per area, rather than variation in type?

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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 7:44 am

another question...was this picture taken by a drone for the NZ tourism commission?  Smile 
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 12:41 pm

Wow!
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 1:22 pm

Eddie,
should we plan a Gathering in NZ?  Very Happy I can`t believe such "hills" can be pastured by any cow , let alone "near perfect ones" , that wind and rain doesn`t erode everything into a flatland...

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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 3:43 pm

Thanks Mike - the photos are taken by me standing on a hill higher than the cows and in the case of the pic of 328 I had walked all the way up the bloody thing into a strong head wind - nothing like the wind at the moment though which is GALE verging on storm force - wondering whether we will have any fences left up on the hills - some clown topped up eight wire post and batten fences with a metre of deer netting - stapled to long battens stapled to the original eight wires - laws of physics anyone?
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 8:53 pm

MKeeney wrote:
Eddie,
should we plan a Gathering in NZ?  Very Happy I can`t believe such "hills" can be pastured by any cow , let alone "near perfect ones" , that wind and rain doesn`t erode everything into a flatland...


Thank goodness my days of laying out and running terraces, diversions and grass waterways are over. I had some doozies in my day but that one would be the final straw. Mike, is there anywhere in the vista where you can envision a "baccer patch"?

I can see why good feet and legs are a requirement for cattle and I'd bet that a lot of US genetics would fail on that requirement along. Anyway, a gorgeous view. Thanks for posting it. I had planned to get some pictures of a few yearling bulls on switchgrass but anything I can do would be a huge letdown.
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Bob H



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 9:41 pm

I have no idea what a perfect cow looks like. But what was told me by a dear friend that Bonsma had said as he looked at a slide of a 16 year old cow with her 15th calf by her side was that she was a beautiful cow. Seems that beauty is in the eye of the beholder or banker that financed her. Bob H
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 10:09 pm

Bob H wrote:
I have no idea what a perfect cow looks like. But what was told me by a dear friend that Bonsma had said as he looked at a slide of a 16 year old cow with her 15th calf by her side was that she was a beautiful cow. Seems that beauty is in the eye of the beholder or banker that financed her. Bob H

there are reports that several have been spotted in Iowa...those reports were by the owners; kinda like a perfect cow "selfie"  Smile
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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 10:20 pm

The perfect cow is one that not only makes me smile when I look at her but she brings home a calf every year at about the same time every year - never goes lame, never chases the dogs, more importantly never chases me  Very Happy , always finds the gate, is related to at least 5 other cows living in the herd who all have her attributes and every daughter she ever has goes into the herd - cow from heaven right there! If she breeds us a bull or two which sells for a bob or two at the sale too then she is in fact a super star perfect cow.  cheers 
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Fri May 23, 2014 10:47 pm

last one



it appears the cows have a built in transit Eddie; and lay out their own contoured paths...

so Megan regarding your quote below

Of interest the wheel appears to be turning in NZ - as we knew it would over time, when all the "good" old cows were lost to people's herds and their replacement "new and improved (again 'cos the computer says)" daughters and grand-daughters were making up the cow numbers, that the enchantment with all things "highest this" "most that" and "trait leader" for another, would start to wear thin with those who could only not see that the Emperor of estimated and expected breeding performance was in fact naked, for so long.

would this movement have it`s origin in registered {seedstock} or commercial herds?
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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sat May 24, 2014 12:42 am

Definitely commercial. Many reg herds and our Assn have invested so much into the numbers that it will be difficult for them to change very quickly. This years sale season will be very interesting for all.
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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: The Near Perfect Cow   Sat May 24, 2014 1:03 am

MKeeney wrote:
last one



it appears the cows have a built in transit Eddie; and lay out their own contoured paths...


The sheep are the main track makers on the hills - the cows follow where the sheep go.  These cows have just been put through a gate and are already spreading themselves out as more come through.  We left the gate open with string tied across it and then came from the opposite direction the next day and chased the ewes out.  Mike I will email you a photo from the other end of the paddock watching the sheep drift up and out - the two lots of animals standing on the knobs are yearling heifers - learning early in life that "only the best cows are always seen at the top of the hills" ..... don't you know darling  Very Happy


Last edited by pukerimu on Sat May 24, 2014 10:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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