Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 1/11/2013 (1387 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Speak to any cattle breeder and one theme remains consistent: Their breed is superior.
While it may be slightly ironic that Ruth Angus breeds Limousin, she is unabashed about her love of the highly muscled beef cattle.
"We still believe Limos are the best breed in the world," said Angus, who started farming purebred cattle approximately 35 years ago.
She couldn’t help take a shot at the most popular breed in North America.
"When you see Angus beef, it’s not all Angus beef," she said part joking, but mostly serious.
Cattle breeders from acrosss the province descended on Brandon this weekend for the Manitoba Livestock Expo.
The expo featured breed shows in Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Charolais, Limousin and mixed breed.
Also back this year after a brief hiatus due to insufficient numbers is the Gelbvieh breed show.
While the Gelbvieh breed is still dual purpose in Europe, where it is used as a dairy cow early in its development before it is fattened up for beef production, in Canada they have been bred primarily for the beef market.
"We were drawn to the breed because of its docility, fertility and overall maternal ability-like milk-ability," Wirgau said, adding the breed has a good carcass to meat yield ratio.
The show is important for breeders like Lee Wirgau, who understand the importance of exposure for a breed that is registered outside of the top five in Canada.
"Hopefully we get our cattle in front of more people here and let them know that Gelbvieh is a relevant breed," Wirgau said. "We’re here and we want to be a big part of the industry because we have a lot to offer."
Wirgau, whose family has been in the breeding industry since 1986, said it has been about a decade since there has been a Gelbvieh show in Brandon.
"We’re still recuperating like a lot of people from BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy)," Wirgau said. "We’ve lost a generation of people in the cattle industry. It’s starting to be strong again and we’re trying to keep it going."
Think you know all of the answers to our cattle quiz? Here are the answers to the photos from Page 1 of Saturday's Sun:A -- GelbviehMaple Grove Gelbvieh (Narcisse)The only cow in the photos, Gelbvieh literally translates to "yellow cattle" in German. The breed got its start in Bavaria.Originally used for milk, beef and draught, the modern breed is primarily used for beef production. Through selective breeding, polled and black genetics are now prevalent in the breed.Gelbvieh are long-bodied and well-fleshed beef producers, as the meat carries well down the hind quarters of the moderately framed animal."They are a very maternal breed and a breed that started as both dairy and beef," said Shayla Jasper of JSJ Gelbvieh near Hartney. "Gelbvieh has really changed a lot and they are different looking breed now -- they've beefed them up."There is a lot of interest in Gelbvieh in the last several decades because of how they cross with other breeds."Commercial producers really want them because when you cross them with Angus, Simmental or Charolais you still get that type of looking cow, but you add the increased milk-ability," Jasper said.B -- LimousinJaymarandy Limousin (Roblin)Native to the old provinces of Limousin in central France, Limousin are naturally horned and traditionally have a darker golden-red colouring, although there are now breeds of black, red and polled Limousins.Known to have a grumpy temperament, Limousin cattle have become popular because of their high meat-to-carcass ratio.They are championed for their ability to excel in feed efficency and Limousin genetics have been used to add muscle to other traditional English breeds.Jaymarandy Limousin owner Ruth Angus described other breeds as "all bone," "all guts" and "greasy.""The Limousin breed are the total package --muscle, the growth style and cutability," she said. "There is very little waste and they distribute their weight very well."C -- HerefordOrianna Hyndman (Hamiota)Originally from Herefordshire, England, Hereford cattle are common throughout the world.Most Hereford are wholly red in colour with a white switch that typically runs from their face down through their underbelly.There are both horned and polled breeds of Hereford and they are known to be easy breeders and calvers with a docile temperament."We chose Hereford because we like the docility, quietness and ease of handling," said Holly Hyndman of Rock'N H Herefords.Hyndman's daughters -- Orianna and Teegan --both own their own companies and spend a lot of time with the cattle, getting them prepared for shows.D -- CharolaisHunter Charolois (Roblin)A large and muscular breed, Charolais cattle get their name from the county in France in which they originated.The coat is almost pure white, although Canadian breed standards recognize cattle possessing a light red colour called "red factor" charolais.Charolais are naturally horned animals, but through breeding programs, polled herds have emerged. Bulls can weigh from 2,000 to well over 2,500 pounds, while cows typically weigh between 1,250 to 2,000 pounds."We feel the Charolais have the most predictable genetics with good muscle and they are easy to work with," said Jimmy Hunter of Hunter Charolois. "They're big, beefy cattle."E -- AngusMar Mac Farms (Brandon)One of the most common breeds of cattle in Canada, Angus come in solid black or red, although the udder may be white.Angus cattle were developed in Scotland and are commonly referred to as Aberdeen Angus for the two counties they originated in.They don't have horns and are often used in a wide variety of crossbreeding as a genetic dehorner since the "polled gene" is passed on as a dominant trait."It makes for a tremendous cross and both are maternal breeds," Mar Mac Farms owner Blair McRae about raising purebred Angus and Simmental cattle. "Angus are known for their marbling ability in the meat."Angus is the most widely recognized beef product and McRae said the Certified Angus Beef program in the United States has played a big role in developing the brand.F -- SimmentalMaple Lake Stock Farms (Hartney)One of the oldest breeds of cattle, Simmental originated and get their name from the valley of the Simme River in Switzerland.Traditionally the Simmental has been described as "red and white spotted" or "gold and white," although there is no standard colouration. Today, most Simmental cattle are black or red.Distinct from the white head of the Hereford, the Simmental's face is normally white and this characteristic is typically passed to crossbred calves."They are a dual purpose animal, both beef and dairy, so one of the major benefits is the milking ability," said Andrea Bertholet of Maple Lake Stock Farms. "They are a very heavy muscled animal and it takes a lot longer for them to put fat down than Angus, which is why they work so well together as a crossbreed."» Brandon Sun