PDCA - One Blog
Welcome to the first Dexter cattle blog to disseminate information for members of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America (PDCA) and for those with a curiosity about Irish Dexter cattle, cattle in general, as well as news from the PDCA. Expressions of opinion are to not be regarded as expressing the official opinion of the PDCA unless expressly stated. Hopefully you will find something here of interest and don't overlook browsing through the archives. Comments are welcomed.
PUREBRED DEXTER CATTLE ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
It's a Boy!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Meat Marketing 101:
The Segmentation Of The Industry (Not The Animal)
'If you’re going to sell a meat product, you must understand these definitions:
USDA — All meat sold in the U.S. must conform to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. That’s step one. All beef on the market, from the cheapest to the most expensive, must meet these requirements.
Beef Mark of Quality — The Beef Board funded the “Mark of Quality” to recognize branded product that provides proof of positive consumer sensory results. The meat must be 100 percent beef produced in a USDA-inspected processing facility with a HACCP program, and backed by $5 million worth of product liability insurance. Packaging must include safe handling/cooking instructions, manufacturer contact information and nutrition labeling.
Natural — One of the most misunderstood categories, the only restrictions the USDA imposes is that it be “minimally processed,” with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. What it usually means is meat from cattle raised without added hormones or antibiotics and not fed animal by-products, which is an all-but-outlawed practice, anyway.
Pasture/Grass Fed Meats – Reputedly more flavorful and with a better nutritional profile, producers also claim a food safety advantage. According to www.Eatwild.com, “Switching ruminants from their natural diet of grasses to grains also lowers the nutritional value of their meat and dairy products. Compared with grass-fed meat, grain-fed meat contains more total fat, saturated fat and calories. It also has less vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.”
Organic Beef — Organic beef sales are growing by double digits — twice as fast as the rest of the organic industry. But growth is from such a small base, most of the big operations lose more product in a day that the Organic people sell in a year. Projected compound annual growth rates for the next five years are in excess of 40 percent. The requirements for “natural” meats are not subject to federal government oversight but organic products are audited by federal government authorized certifiers to assure compliance with the National Organic Program rules.
Organically raised bison is available through many vendors. It’s common enough to find a place in many supermarket fresh meat cases and a few processed meals. Ted’s Montana Grill even built a business on bison.
Two other alternative meats are venison and ostrich. Venison is available farm-raised and “wild harvested.” Like bison, ostrich is another low-fat meat that failed at first, due to some outrageously out-of-line pricing. It’s slowly gaining some respect but it might be years before it’s a serious factor in the meat case.
One of the fastest growing boutique meats is Cabrito. Unless you’re of Latin heritage, you probably call it goat meat. Big in Latin, Arab and eastern European cuisines, its’ slowly outgrowing the ethnic neighborhood stores where it’s been sold for years.'
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
"Dexter Cattle" revisited
I'm pleased to see all the renewed interest in "Dexter Cattle" by John Hays. When I heard that a republishing of the book had been rejected by another Dexter association because of that Board's view that the book was now out-dated, I had the personal pleasure and privilege to speak with Belle about doing some editing. My hope was that with John's age and health failing we could get the book republished once again for all those new breeders that may not have had the opportunity to purchase or read the book and for John. We discussed some of the new Dexter information that has come out since the book was originally published but those changes it was thought would make it no longer "John's book" and would have lost some of the historical significance of the book. As it turned out I believe in the end this was the correct choice. We agreed on some reformatting for readability which Belle had someone do when republishing the book at John and her expense. Belle also suggested that the PDCA include a flyer with the book as she wanted to be sure that people would be able to find Rosemary Fleharty and our new Dexter association, the PDCA. So it was an honor for me to be able to praise and recognize John's work before his passing as Belle and John have always been a tremendous asset to our breed, Dexter cattle.
To order "Dexter Cattle" by John Hays, please make check for $10 U.S. payable to PDCA, and mail to:
404 High Street,
Prairie Home, MO 65068
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Sorry for the absence, I've been busy working on a number of projects.
The PDCA Bulletin Board has been completed and can now be utilized by PDCA Officers, Area Managers, and Staff.
Someone must be getting out the word that the PDCA has some of the finest Dexter cattle in North America because we're still getting a lot of inquiries. Be sure to inform your Area Manager of any you have for sale. This not only helps our Managers to know where to direct buyers but also helps the Association determine where to target our advertising and marketing where it will be most helpful to members.
With the deadline for the summer issue of the PDCA Record fast approaching if you have Dexters for sale be sure to advertise and support one of the best Dexter cattle breed publications around and send your advertisement to:
Patrice Lewis, PDCA Editor
1305 Canyon Ridge Lane
Plummer, ID 83851
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
They call Dexter cattle the small cows with a big future — and they are. The success of the Dexter over the last 20 years has been outstanding and their popularity with farmers and consumers continues to increase, as they are a hardy, early-maturing breed that provides outstanding beef, renowned for both flavour and good marbling.
Neil Datson, from Glebe Farm, Spelsbury, has been farming Dexters for the past five years and is setting up a delivery service, which he hopes will soon include the southern region of Oxfordshire, should the demand be there. To help promote the Dexter cattle, which stand just 92cm to 107cm high, he is opening his 300-acre farm each Sunday during the summer, so that would-be customers can see his herd.
You will need: (serves 4-6)
Joint of Dexter topside weighing
2 1 /2 lb (1.15kg)
Selection of fresh vegetables, such as celery, carrots and onions
Selection of fresh herbs — particularly marjoram, parsley, thyme and bay leaf
Three cloves garlic (optional)
Half a bottle red wine
Quarter-pint (150ml) stock or water
Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season
Begin by browning the joint all over in hot oil, as this will give the finished dish extra flavour
Place the fresh herbs (and garlic cloves if used) in the bottom of a large braising dish and put the meat on top of them
Pour wine and stock into the pot, then add the vegetables so tha they surround the beef, having sliced them into suitable shape
Season with salt and freshly ground black peppercorns, and allow to cook slowly in the oven at 150C, 300F or gas mark 2 for at least two and a half hours
When the meat is done, remove both it and the vegetables from the pot, and keep them warm
Reduce the juices that are left by allowing them to bubble at a high heat. You are aiming to reduce them by half
Taste the sauce, adjust seasoning and strain into a gravy boat
Carve meat and serve with vegetables, new potatoes and the gravy
Monday, April 18, 2005
Our Connection to the Earth
Editorial from the Mar/Apr 2005 issue of Small Farm Today® magazine.
It is springtime; the seed catalogs are rolling in and farmers’ thoughts turn to planting.
The simple act of placing a seed in the soil and watching as it emerges and grows into a sturdy plant is a source of wonder and fulfillment. The farmer planting 1,000 acres and the farmer planting one row in his garden experience the same wonderment and miracle of life as the earth renews itself each spring.
Planting renews our connection with the earth. Of the roughly 2 million farmers left in the U.S., there are 1.3 million small farmers—the largest group. These small farmers are described by the USDA Census as part-time, lifestyle, and residential farmers.
Part-time farmers are an important part of today’s agriculture, because they are the “seeds” from which full-time farmers sprout, as their hobby turns into a thriving business.
Lifestyle farmers frequently help with genetic preservation of rare and minor breeds, so these animal and heirloom plant genes will be available to furnish new stock for farmers. These farmers’ purpose is more than making money; it is preservation for the future, and it keeps them connected to the earth.
Residential farmers want to live in the peace and security of the country life. They want their children to collect eggs, care for the animals, and plant a garden. They value the experience of country life more than money because it gives them a peaceful connection with the earth.
I was recently interviewed by an Italian reporter. Mr. Manocchia mentioned that Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, in an interview for the Italian magazine L’Informatore Agrario, said that the small farms in the U.S. are destined to die, crushed—in a sense—by modern techniques, and that big farms, big concerns will take over. I replied that the small farm may change in form but will not die, because it is almost an instinctive emotional reaction for people in America—and other countries—to obtain some land and produce at least some of their food—if not their livelihood—from their land. The lure of independence and peace and quiet of the farm seems more rewarding than the hustle and bustle of city life and working for someone else. Dreams do not die.
If Mr. Stallman was referring to small conventional agriculture—corn-wheat-beans (commodity crops) that market by volume in contracts—he is right; most of those small farms will die, because of the economics of the commodity markets, which are in the hands of multinational corporations.
Small family farms which are willing to change in form—grow something different than commodity crops and develop marketing plans which enable them to sell farm products at retail prices by direct and local marketing—will not only survive, but prosper, as evidenced by the organic market, which has grown from virtually 0 to $20 billion in annual sales. Farmers’ markets are increasing in number across the country; in California, they are a $100 million business. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is also increasing across the country.
Small farms are increasing in number—there are more small farms now than 10 years ago—and are changing in form; they are taking advantage of America’s new interest in freshness, quality, and safety in how their food is grown. Today, America is more aware of local production and what it does, not only for the farmer and customer, but for the local community.
Because there are so many types of farms and reasons to farm, there is room for everyone—large and small—if we work at it. Variety is what makes this country great. The urge to connect to the earth is in us all, and that is why the small farm will never die.
I wish you happy planting as you become connected to the earth this spring.
Happy & Profitable Farming,
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Friday, April 15, 2005
A couple of Dexter books for sale right now on ebay -
The International Dexter Snapshot of Dexter Cattle
The International Dexter Yesterday’s Cattle
Yesterday’s Cattle Today’s Solution Issue 2
No, I didn't misspell. I know that with the warmer weather a lot of PDCA members are spreading the word about the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America while exhibiting their Dexter cattle. I haven't tried this yet but the Rasterbator looks like it might be a good tool for members wanting to make a large PDCA poster for their Dexter cattle exhibits. Be sure to take some photographs of your Dexter exhibitions and send them to Patrice to share with everyone in the PDCA Record. This is not about "my herd" but about "our breed" and everyone's contributions and support of the PDCA is greatly appreciated.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Boards for Boards
Busy this week developing a php bulletin board. This will be composed of privatized forums for the various PDCA Boards and committees to utilize as a workshop for developing ideas and for the conducting of Association business. This should turn out to be a more organized and efficient means for PDCA affairs to be expedited. Of course the more work handled throughout the year will allow for more time for everyone to enjoy our annual convention.
Our PDCA Webmaster, is currently working behind the scenes on the PDCA web site to incorporate new membership services that I'm sure our online members will appreciate. Rebecca has also set up our website so that all three addresses will bring up the site:
Some new innovations and a great deal of progress is continuing to be made in many different departments of your Association.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Cloned cattle produce normal milk, beef
'Beef and milk from cloned cattle is similar to that produced by normal animals, an international team of scientists has found.
The Japanese-US study, published online ahead of print in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to investigate the nutritional value and possible health risks of products from animal clones.'
Monday, April 11, 2005
"The popularity of the breed in the past has been based largely upon its small size and ornamental appearance, but during late years English breeders have demonstrated that Dexter cows are also useful in production. The Dexter Cattle Society of England maintains a Register of Merit in which some excellent records of milk yield are reported. The highest is that of the cow Barbara 2822 E. H. B. that in 1930 completed a yearly record of 15,671 pounds of milk at 15 years of age. In 1927 she produced 12,726 pounds in yearly test, and during four years her average milk production was over 10,000 pounds. The society reports a considerable number of records ranging from 7,000 to 10,000 pounds of milk for cows, and from 4,500 to 6,100 pounds for heifers with first calf. Elmendorf Farm in Kentucky obtained four records above 5,000 pounds of milk produced in from 288 to 315 days. Howard Gould of New York reported 13 records made by Dexter cows, ranging from 4,884 to 9,046 pounds milk. The milk tests about 4.5 percent butterfat."
From Breeds of Livestock in America by Henry W. Vaughan, 1947.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Friday, April 08, 2005
USDA to roll out individual animal ID this summer
By Drovers news source
With 45 states that have already instituted premises ID programs, USDA says it’s ready to roll out the next phase of the voluntary National Animal Identification System — individual animal ID.
Officials plan to roll out this portion of the national system in August. It’s key functions are to:
Administer approved official animal identification number (AIN) tag manufacturers.
Assign AIN tag product codes to each approved device.
Administer the allocation of AINs to tag manufacturers.
Administer authorized AIN tag managers/resellers.
Receive and maintain the distribution records of all AIN tags
Provide information on AIN tags.
“It’s not a complete system yet, but it is adequate to begin this step,” says Neil Hammerschmidt, NAIS coordinator. “We have developed the basic requirements, which will be increased over time.” Therefore, this summer producers may contact an AIN manager in their area to obtain AINs on a voluntary basis.
AIN tag managers include:
Private companies and service providers.
States, tribes or AVIC offices.
Breed registries, national DHIA.
AIN tag manufacturers.
These entities have a marketing agreement with an approved AIN tag manufacturer, agree to validate the premises number of tag recipients and report the distribution of AINs to the National Animal Records Repository (which is still in development).
AINs will be issued to the premises and linked to the animals in a way that is appropriate for the species.
For example, cattle producers will probably prefer to use ear tags on their animals. The U.S. Animal Identification Program Cattle Working Group has recommended the use of radio frequency ID (RFID) that is ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 compliant. Keep in mind that these ISO standards are only a starting point, and may change as technology evolves.
These tags must be tamper-resistant and designed for one-time-only use. Also, the AIN and U.S. shield must be imprinted on the tag and the printing on the tag must be easily readable for the life of the tag.
AIN tags will also be available through tag resellers, tag distributors and eventually, through retail outlets.
Additional details will be available in the coming weeks. The Web site: www.usda.gov/nais will soon list approved AIN tag manufacturers and AIN tag providers along with product descriptions and contact information.
USDA, Dairy Herd Management magazine
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
The following web site has a listing of the common diseases of beef cattle including their symptoms, treatment and prevention - Diseases of Cattle
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
One for the money...
Monday, April 04, 2005
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Advertise those PDCA Spring calves...
... and show them off in the upcoming Summer 2005 issue of The Record. The deadline for submission of articles, letters, photos, and advertising for The Record Summer 2005 issue is May 1, 2005.
Member contributions are always welcomed and may be sent to:
Patrice Lewis, Editor
1305 Canyon Ridge Lane
Plummer, ID 83851
Friday, April 01, 2005
I'm always interested in old farm books because they are sometimes more helpful to the small farmer than the more modern books. My cattle have been perhaps fortunate not to have a wart problem but I hear of a lot of other breeders that are seeking remedies for warts. So if nothing else is working for you here's an old treatment that you could try:
Warts. - Warts are small skin tumors that frequently appear on the neck, shoulders, and heads of young cattle. They are probably caused by an abnormal nutrition of the skin. As a rule, they are of a temporary nature and will gradually disappear of their own accord. Their disappearance, however, can be hastened by the daily application of castor oil or salty bacon fryings. Large warts can be removed by ligation with a horse hair or a strong cord. The root should then be cauterized with strong acetic acid or tincture of iodine.
"Beef Cattle" by Roscoe R. Snapp, Ph.D., originally published in 1925.