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Dual Purpose Thoughts from SMD


When the dairy man says; “She’s a nice looking cow but too thick, I’m not gonna feed her to make beef.” and the beef man says; “She’s a good looking cow but a bit too much refinement and what would I do with all that milk?”

There should not be within a dual purpose breed a wholly distinct beef or a dairy type for if that is the case you have not much of either. This is a species of the same argument that very successfully turned our farm families away from the dual purpose cow in the last century with “If there are dual purpose cattle, then they should be turned into dairy or beef cattle as soon as possible”.

Unfortunately, there are too many of our “dual purpose” animals that fit neatly into the not much of either category. These “no purpose” cattle lend further credence to the perceived folly of breeders attempting the chimera of a dual purpose animal.

These photos from the mid-20th century of several breeds that bred to the dual purpose ideal dispel the notion that dual purpose cattle are in the same class as unicorns, (Dual Purpose Cattle, Claude Hinman 1953).

Of course, the challenge is not in producing a single a nimal or two that approaches the dual purpose ideal, but in developing a herd that breeds true to the functional requirements of a dual purpose cow.


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Douglas, Nebraska, USA

© 2020 by Silver Maple Dexters

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