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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Retirees Are Fulfilling Travel Dreams Through House Sitting

Jim and Thelma McSkimming, New Zealand retirees, are thrilled to find they are able to fulfill their travel dreams by becoming house sitters. With the support of their family, they are globetrotting, providing necessary services and experiencing many different cultures and lifestyles.

(PRWEB) - Jim and Thelma McSkimming, New Zealand retirees, are thrilled to find they are able to fulfill their travel dreams by becoming house sitters. With the support of their family, they are globetrotting, providing necessary services and experiencing many different cultures and lifestyles.

“We have house sat in a lovely Rectory in County Cork, Ireland. We have looked after an African Grey Parrot in Macclesfield, near Manchester, and we became very attached to him,” the McSkimmings report. Jim and Thelma McSkimming have a love for animals and were pleased with a house sit they recently came from. “We stayed in a beautiful 200 year old stone cottage, which was previously a flour mill, in South Wales. We minded pigs, geese, miniature Dexter cattle and two adorable Border Collies.”

When asked why they enrolled with Ian White at HouseCarers.com, they were quick to point out how house sitting answered their prayers. “We knew we couldn’t afford accommodations for prolonged periods, and we thought it would be a good way to experience living in another country. We wanted to see and do things other than from a tourist perspective,” they said.


Last Island, 1856:

"Thirteen inches of rain fell on New Orleans from this Category 4 storm. But the hurricane gets its name from Isle Derniere, or Last Island, where over 200 people were killed, with the only survivor being a cow. The island, southwest of New Orleans, had been a resort up until the arrival of this hurricane. It is now only a home to pelicans and other sea birds."

Deadly Hurricanes No Strangers to Gulf Coast

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Advocate staff report

Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Odom, a licensed pilot, flew over portions of southeastern Louisiana today and said "there is a lot of water, a lot of damage."
"St. Bernard is totally underwater," Odom said. "It is over the rooftops. I didn't see a lot of houses in St. Bernard."

He said he is really concerned about the stagnant water, sewage and other contamination, and possible diseases.

Odom also said that Interstate 10 between Slidell and New Orleans is "destroyed." He said part of it was skewed, and another section was totally out. Both sides are damaged, he said.

He said he didn't see any animals at all - dead or alive. There were about 150,000 head of cattle in the flooded area, and he knew owners were trying to get them out.

Cow stud service started as a hobby

Brandon Stahl

Bill Barbknecht calls it a hobby, but it's an unusual one at that. Think of him as Barry White for cattle.

It started about eight or nine years ago when he got into the business when a friend sold him about 10 bulls. From there, his cattle collection grew to almost a 100. And what do you do with a 100 bulls?

You have them do what bulls most naturally do.

During the summer months, Barbknecht, who also works full-time as Underwood's postmaster, rents his bulls out to other farmers for them to provide stud services and stay in their cow pasture for the entire season. If, for example, you have 25 to 30 cows, Barbknecht guarantees that "he'll get them all, no problem."

"The bull follows the cow around constantly," he said. "They're like teenagers or newlyweds," Barbknecht said.

Well, not quite -- Barbknecht said a bull can mate with a cow anywhere from 10 to 12 times a day. That effort produces anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000 calves a year.

As you can imagine, Barbknecht is a big backer of beef, keeping two freezers full of assorted steaks and hamburgers meets in his rural Underwood home. He's also an incredibly nice guy who will gladly talk your ear off about the care he provides for the animals, always making sure they constantly have feed, water and a farm donkey, Fred, who scares away the dogs and coyotes.

"There's not big money in it," he said. "I did it as a bit of a hobby and still do it as a bit of a hobby."

And fortunately, he also has a good sense of humor about a business he jokes he got into "accidentally."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Creamery's milk tops generic taste

Sue Gleiter

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - At Trickling Springs Creamery, customers carry in empty glass milk bottles to return for a deposit.

While the creamery sells snack mixes, relishes, dried pastas and deli meats, the big draw is its nonfat, 1 and 2 percent and whole milk, sold by the half gallon and pint.

Trickling Springs' milk comes from grass-fed cows. The result, many customers say, is an all-natural product with a smoother, creamier taste.

"I enjoy their milk, it's fresher. I always bought whole milk, but here you can get the 2-percent and it tastes like whole," said Ron Royer of Fayetteville, who stops at least twice a week to buy nonfat and 2-percent.

For four years, Trickling Springs has been producing milk which is mostly sold in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., supermarkets. It's available locally at Fox's Markets, Shurfine in Enola, Appalachian Whole Foods Market in Carlisle and Nude Foods at the Broad Street Market.

Gerald Byers, owner, said there's a growing market for milk from grass-fed cows, especially with increased interest in organic foods.

"There is a difference in the taste. What the difference (is), to explain it is really hard. You almost have to feel the difference. It tastes more like milk. A lot of the other milk has gone through a lot more processing," he said.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Going to California... again.

The PDCA's first online auction has now been completed and I believe the high bidder is from the golden state. So it appears Roxie who was originally planning to go west this summer for the PDCA Show & Sale will finally be making the journey. Congratulations to the winning bidder as they'll be receiving a great heifer calf and a wonderful new addition to their family. Also appreciated are all those who participated and made this first online auction a success. We also learned a lot and I can foresee a day when the PDCA can put together an online Dexter show & sale that PDCA breeders can participate in without having to haul their animals off their farms. For the moment, everyone wins since all the 2005 fundraisers will be put back into more services that will benefit the entire membership of the Purebed Dexter Cattle Association of North America.

Thank you!

Friday, August 26, 2005

First Steps...

14 year old Breeze's newborn bull calf.

When the Cows Come Home

Discovery Channel video of research to determine cows homing instincts using GPS technology.

When the Cows Come Home

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dexters do the darnedest things

Ralf decided to make a new fashion statement with an old bucket.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Novelty calf getting lots of attention

By Bruce Fraser - NZ

A new dexter calf is no big thing.

'But Peter and Annette Gardiner's knee-high newborn is still getting plenty of attention and showers of oohs and aahs from visitors.

She isn't named yet but the Te Anau lifestyle farmers who own her say she'll get an Irish name starting with R in accordance with cattle breeders' fashion; her mother is Rebecca.

Dexters, the world's smallest cattle breed,* attracted the Gardiners with their combination of affordability, gentleness and charm. An average cow stands about 1m tall.

Originating in Ireland in the 1800s as a house cow breed, they have been in New Zealand for about 12 years.

They forage well on rough pasture and produce up to 14 litres of milk a day as well as Angus-style beef – "though in smaller cuts, for obvious reasons," Mr Gardiner said.'


*Smallest of the europeon cattle breeds.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Short Legged Sweeties

On a discussion board recently I was starting to think that everyone must be drunk but then I looked at a lunar calendar and realized what phase the moon was in. I believe that there is some truth to a full moon having some affect on people. I support truth in labeling although I am aware that with Dexters passion sometimes overrides reason. So for the passionate I figured for today I'd pull out some photos of three of my short-legged sweeties.



Papoose (also known around here as Mary)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Message from the President

The 2005 PDCA Welcome Message from President Wes Patton can be read on the PDCA website by clicking here.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Costs estimated for producing grass-fed beef

DAVIS -- With growing interest in specialty meats, grass-fed beef is making a name for itself. In the first study of its kind in California, grass-fed cattle practices, revenues, and costs are identified and scrutinized by University of California Cooperative Extension researchers. The study includes the cost of a 200-head cow-calf operation that produces the grass-fed heifer herd.

The cost study details when most major operations occur, as well as when the cattle are sold. Pasture and winter feeding, normal veterinary care, fencing, and life cycles are represented in both text, table, and chart formats to show the general layperson how a cow-calf or grass-fed beef operation works.

Actual costs and returns are highlighted in the eight tables at the end of the study. Laws, ordinances, and Internet sites relating to a grass-fed claim are discussed and locations for finding them are given.

A separate marketing section addresses possible avenues for ranchers to sell grass-fed beef products. Considerations about potential marketing decisions are charted in the report. Although specific processing, promotion and sales costs are not included in the tables, three scenarios are documented from different ranchers who have branched into grass-fed beef and market their own products.

The study is intended as a guide only and can be used to make production decisions, determine potential returns, prepare budgets and evaluate production loans. The study is based upon a hypothetical ranch using practices in the region. UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisors, researchers, ranchers, equipment and medical suppliers, and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews.

Assumptions used to identify current costs for the cow-calf operation, establishing the grass-fed beef herd, material inputs, and ownership costs are described in the study. Tables show herd costs, monthly cash costs, profits/losses over a range of prices and yields, and annual investment costs.

The study was prepared by Stephanie Larsen, UCCE Farm Advisor, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Cary Thompson, former UCCE Intern, Sonoma County; Karen M. Klonsky, UCCE Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; and Pete Livingston, UCCE Staff Research Associate, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis.

The study, "Sample Costs for a Cow-Calf/Grass-Fed Operation, 200-head Cowherd with 30 Grass-Fed Cattle in Marin and Sonoma Counties" is available online at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu (pdf); from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; and from local UC Cooperative Extension offices.

Similar reports are available for many commodities from 1931 to the present. A $3 handling fee is charged for each report mailed from the department. For more information, call (530) 752-2414 or (530) 752-4424.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Where's the beef?

Flu season will be here before you know it, and according to Women's Health magazine, one way to ward off the sniffles is to eat more grass-fed beef. A study from Robert Gordon University in Scotland found that conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid in meat and dairy, may help boost your immune system. - IndyStar

Friday, August 19, 2005

Dexter Mythology

Over the past 16 years I've heard a great many Dexter myths. I'm calling them myths because it sounds less harsh than lies and also there's always the possibility of something originally being misunderstood and changed with the retelling. Many of these myths surrounded what caused bulldogs before there was a test. Some of these may have been a result of defensiveness in a breeder's own breeding program or an honest desire for the untrue to be true. Most people generally try to avoid confrontation but we've witnessed what can happen when myths extend to an association and are not openly confronted to bring about resolution. New people come along and since the myths are tolerated they assume there must be a grain of truth to them. Most cattle associations are a part of the breeders livelihood and are a considerable part of their operations. Myths about their breed or association can have damaging economic consequences and so scandals, rumors and lies are not tolerated either by the breeders or the association. Most Dexter breeders don't have the same dependence and capitol investment and so with some it becomes more of an investment of egos. Egos form cliques and so generally as Shakespeare might say, there's much ado about nothing.

I saw a classic example of a Dexter myth on a discussion board recently. While the poster was with another association and from a region where a lot of myths have been propagated the past several years, the purpose is not to discredit the individual but to convey how innocent appearing myths can be harmful to a breed. The poster stated they had heard from someone (myths are often from second-hand sources and therefore difficult to hold someone accountable for) who had their herd classified. Well, the story goes that a classifier came out and stood outside the fence, looked at the herd from a distance and gave the cows all scores in the high 90's. Let's dissect a myth. Classifiers are trained professionals and I'm sure most probably have pride in their classification abilities. Two classifiers will generally be the same in their evaluation or sometimes within a point of each other. I suppose that it's possible there exists a lazy classifier or one having a bad day that might put down scores without a good examination but this would be highly unlikely. Usually herds that are classified will be classified again later often by a different classifier and so a lazy classifier would be risking their reputation by not properly doing their job. Also, how likely would it be for a breeder whose herd scored in the high 90's to undermine the process by passing on a tale critical of the classifier and system of classification? Not very. Common sense would dictate to me that more likely either the breeder did not receive high scores on their cattle or they maybe wish to devalue someone's herd that did receive high scores by suggesting that classification is meaningless. These kind of fabrications do more harm than good for a breed.

So herein lies another Dexter myth. Unfortunately they exist and like Hydra, when you chop the head off of one myth another one sprouts the head of a new myth. Be aware that Dexter myths exist but on behalf of the breed be vigilant in determining the truth.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rare breeds thrive at Cultra

By Michael Drake - UK

KERRY Hill sheep, Irish Moiled cattle and many breeds of poultry will be on show at the Rare Breeds Survival Trust's annual show at Cultra this weekend.

For two days - Saturday and Sunday - the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum will play host to one of the most special events in Ireland.

After the various showing classes auctions of poultry and livestock will follow.

The official Irish Moiled and Dexter Cattle Societies sales will attract animals from top herds while sheep are being entered from prominent rare breed enthusiasts.

The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group will provide agri-environmental advice.

"FWAG are keen to assist all farmers and landowners with implementing environmental schemes and measures on their holdings," a spokesman stated.

"FWAG projects throughout the UK demonstrate the value of livestock, including rare and minority breeds, for environmental management."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

2006 PDCA Annual Meeting - Ohio?

New VS outbreaks may cause problems moving animals in and out of Utah, so consideration is being given to moving the Utah proposal back to 2007. Some good news for 2006 is Ohio has found an opening and will have a proposal for members review in the upcoming Record. Meanwhile, back in Utah, this article may give you some idea of what's going on out there.

New Vesicular Stomatitis Cases in Colorado and Utah
by: Stephanie L. Church, News Editor

Colorado has added seven new equine vesicular stomatitis (VS) premises to its current count and two new bovine VS premises since the beginning of August, according to the USDA's latest VS Situation Report. The disease was reported on 22 new equine premises and five new bovine premises in Utah in that seven-day period. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have not reported any new VS-positive premises.

Vesicular stomatitis is a sporadic infectious viral disease characterized by blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the lips, nostrils, teats, and coronary bands. How the disease spreads is not fully known; insect vectors and movement of animals could be responsible. Signs of the disease can last from seven to 10 days. The horse might lose weight drastically, but usually will gain it back after oral lesions heal. Clinical signs of the disease have been reported to appear three to 14 days after exposure to an affected animal.

According to the Aug. 8 report, Hinsdale and Montezuma Counties in southwest Colorado are affected for the first time in 2005, bringing the total number of infected counties to seven (other counties include Delta, La Plata, Mesa, Montrose, and Rio Blanco). There are 15 positive equine species and 11 positive bovine species. Seven of these premises are on their 21-day quarantine-removal countdown, which begins after the final lesion on the last affected animal heals.

The Horse cited a newspaper on July 18 that reported VS in Montezuma. Richanne Lomkin, DVM, a field veterinary medical officer for the USDA , explained why news reports might say that a county is affected when the county isn't on the USDA list of affected counties until much later: "We have to make absolutely sure by a blood sample that we truly do have a positive case (before making it an official affected premise)," she says. "However, if clinical signs make veterinarians suspicious of VS, the premises will be quarantined whether or not the positive blood samples have been returned yet."

Currently, Utah has 72 positive premises under quarantine in eight counties (containing 85 equines and 33 bovines in Beaver, Carbon, Davis, Duchesne, Grand, San Juan, Salt Lake, and Uintah), with 20 of those premises on their countdowns for quarantine removal.

More than half of New Mexico's positive premises are on their respective quarantine-removal countdowns (seven out of 11). The premises are in five counties (Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Socorro, and Valencia), with 13 positive equines and three positive bovines.

Arizona is down to one Graham County premises with one equine, and the premises is on its quarantine-removal countdown. Texas had a case of VS earlier this year, but the quarantine was removed by June 27.

To learn more about how VS has unfolded in the United States in 2005, visit the VS category at TheHorse.com or www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/ncahs/nsu/surveillance/vsv/vsv.htm

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dexter Genetics Notebook

One of the benefits of attending the PDCA Annual Meeting is that there are often some free items given away. Two of my favorite free items this year were the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America refrigerator magnets and this booklet by Gabriella Nanci. The "Dexter Genetics Notebook" provides some very easy to understand explanations of Dexter genetics. The notebook also contains Dexter photographs, some of which are in color for the chapter on color genetics. The PDCA webmaster, Rebecca Perez, helped with the design of the "Dexter Genetics Notebook" which was very nicely done. Informative and a good remembrance of the PDCA 2005 Annual Meeting.

Monday, August 15, 2005

2007 PDCA Annual Meeting - Utah?

Originally there were three proposals to host the 2006 PDCA Annual Meeting but due to a change of employment for one prospective host and date conflicts with the fairgrounds for another proposal, we thought we were going to Utah in September of 2006, but now it appears likely to be in 2007. The 2007 PDCA Annual Meeting would be held in conjunction with the Utah State Fair with Pat Sorensen serving as our PDCA hostess. From their web site the Utah State Fair looks like quite a place and should be a lot of fun. Look for more information in the upcoming issues of the Record.
Edited 8/17/05 to reflect up-to-date changes in scheduling from 2006 to 2007.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Dexter Calf Photo

Managed yesterday to get a photo of this two month old dun heifer calf with flies on her nose before our much needed rains got here. The partial ear on the lower left belongs to a dun bull calf about the same age that was licking my arm while I was taking the picture.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Butter cow is udderly popular

By Cassandra Jo Colliflower

A sculpture that can butter her own bread and the chance to milk a cow are among the features of the Ohio dairy exhibit at the Ohio State Fair.

In the early 1900s, Ohio State and the Dairy Processors of Ohio sponsored butter sculpting contests at the Ohio State Fair, according to a press release.

Although there was no original theme or species the contestants were to sculpt, the butter cow and calf eventually found their way into the heart of the fair and its traditions.

This year's sculpture display not only has a cow and calf, but also a large ice cream cone and a little boy who has just dropped his ice cream. The sculptures were created by four people in a total of 322 hours. The display was made from 2,000 pounds of butter donated by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Mid East and the Dairy Farmers of America.

The butter sculptures received such continual interest that the Dairy Products building was built In the 1920s in order to become home to the yearly sculptures, stored within a 45-degree glass cooler.

The building's main purpose at the fair is to represent dairy farmers and the dairy industry in the state of Ohio and has approximately 500,000 visitors each year, said Jenny Hubble, a spokeswoman for the Dairy Barn. "It portrays and highlights Ohio dairy products."

The Dairy Barn, in the Dairy Products building, is the perfect place for fair-goers to find hand dipped ice cream, milkshakes, milk, and cheese sandwiches. All of the items sold are made from Ohio milk products and will help support the Ohio dairy industry.

The Dairy Barn has 10,000 to 15,000 customers and goes through an average of 600 to 700 gallons of ice cream, not including milkshakes, daily, said Robyn Wilson, manager of the Dairy Barn.

Near the Dairy Products building is the Gilligan Complex where dairy cows and exhibitors are located.

Just inside is the Ohio State Dairy Judging Team which offers fair attendees the opportunity to milk a cow by hand, something many people would never have experienced otherwise.

The dairy judging team brings four cows from the OSU Waterman Dairy Farm on Lane Avenue. The cows rotate in one-hour shifts to provide six hours of milking opportunity, said Greg Hartschuh a junior in agricultural systems management.

The team has members sitting with the cows during the six hours in order to explain the milking process or answer questions for anyone who stops by, Hartschuh said.

As of Monday, 2,000 people milked the cows and the club members said they expect about 3,500 people by the end of the fair this Sunday. Hartschuh said not all of these milkers were children.

"We had some people that looked like they were 70 or so, saying that they have never milked a cow before and so they did," Hartschuh said.

Also in the Gilligan Complex are the dairy exhibitors. Many of these exhibitors are from family farms that have entered the fair for many years.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Why is a cow called "Bossy"?

'Bossy is a general name for a cow, just as Dobbin refers to a horse and Tabby to a cat. The Latin word for ox or cow is bos, and it is probable that the first person to call a cow Bossy was equipped with both a knowledge of Latin and a sense of humor. Some authorities, however, suppose the term to be related in origin to the dialectic English word boss calf, a young calf. In the Teutonic languages there is a root word variously spelled bos, boose and buss, which means barn, stall or crib. The thought is originally a boss calf was a calf kept in a barn or stall as distinguished from one grazing at large and that bossy as applied to a cow is derived from the same source.'

From "A Book About A Thousand Things" by George Stimpson.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dexter Cattle on Mars

Excerpt from Under Fire by H.K. Devonshire

'Becky gave a whoop and closed in on the stray. The DVB Connected was back in business after a successful drive and a reward given them by Marshal Cavanaugh nearly a year ago. Back in business meant backbreaking work, taking care of their ranch and herd of two thousand Dexter cattle. Originally from Earth, the Dexter breed had taken to Mars’ lighter gravity and iron rich soil as though bred for it. And since even a modest ranch like the DVB took up thousands of acres to gather the moisture required to support the grass needed to feed the herd, that much land meant that many more strays. And with the mines and towns so hungry for Mars-grown beef, even this scrawny one-year old fetched a thousand credits on market.'

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Happy PDCA - One Year Anniversary!

Today marks the PDCA - One Blog's one year anniversary. Dexters are sometimes considered the fun cow and so the blog has tried to follow their bovine example. People from all over the world have stopped by here and perhaps had their first look at our glamorous little Dexters. When you see the blog translated into other languages such as Portuguese, it's a warm worldly feeling knowing that someone in Brazil may be sharing the same interest as yourself in this ancient Celtic breed of cattle. Thank you all for stopping by.

Today is also the deadline for the Autumn issue of the PDCA Record and so if you need to get anything to Patrice be sure to get it to her right away. Procrastinator that I am, I still need to get my vp message to her. There should be some good photos from the annual meeting along with cattle health articles obtained exclusively for the PDCA in this upcoming issue to look forward to. Some cooler autumn weather to go with the PDCA Record would also be nice.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

1944 Dexter Advertisement

Early advertisement that I found in FARM JOURNAL and FARMER'S WIFE, November, 1944 issue. Cover price for the magazine back in 1944 was 5 cents.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Milking Game

Milk Panic

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Dexter Uniformity

This photo may give a little bit of an idea of herd uniformity and the picture also has Roxie's dam and grand dam in it. They all are normal and based on field measurements measure 40 inches at the withers. Of course the best Dexter example would be Beryl Rutherford's Woodmagic herd which I believe measure around 38 inches.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Checking the Herd

Late afternoon view of Glenn Land Farm on Walker Creek's pasture which had a series of rectangle irrigated paddocks for rotational grazing of the Boer goats, Dorper sheep, and Dexter cattle herd.

Click on the photo for a larger image.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Back in the UK...

Bouncing back at Bakewell
'The show also saw the return of an old favourite, the Dexter cow from South West Ireland, after a gap of 36 years.'

Farmers of future have day out at show
'Britain's smallest breed of cattle, the Dexter, made a welcome return after a 36-year absence from the show to form part of the cattle parade – the first since the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.'

Sculptures on Rural Themes,
George Bingham’s solo show hosted by The Osborne Studio Gallery.
'The artist lives on a farm in Dorset, surrounded by a menagerie of animals, including horses, ducks, sheep, Dexter cattle as well as the family dogs. George is a former jockey, his wife was a successful three day eventer, and their children are also keen riders. He is known for his superb equestrian pieces, his safari studies, as well as his ‘snapshots’ of participants of the Cresta Run.'

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Beef Cattle Short Course

The 51st annual Beef Cattle Short Course was held this week at Texas A & M University. The course was blogged which you can follow here. Lots of interesting topics, including one on the National ID program which was also one of the presentations at the recent PDCA annual meeting in California.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Today, I'll try to clarify some perhaps misleading information that I've heard is floating around regarding registries. Most breed associations use customized computer programs to meet their requirements although in recent times more features are becoming standardized. The old registry program was a Linux based operating system commonly used among professionals but most people are more familiar with windows based operating systems. With the Linux system you could print out the entire membership directory with one click, however, the system had built-in fail-safes to prevent the entry of incorrect data and protect the accuracy of the registry. If a new registrar comes along and bypasses the fail-safes they may go along fine for awhile but by the end of the year the registry will be corrupted and the program likely unsalvageable. I suspect this may be part of the reason why some data that had previously been recorded correctly in the other association's registry has now been altered and is incorrect. Their new software purchased several months ago has a good reputation and so now any mistakes should not be blamed on the operating software but of the operator of the software. This is why I suggested many years ago that the registry should always be maintained by professionals and not by whatever member happens to fall off the turnip truck.

The PDCA is fortunate in that we have a professional to maintain and protect our registry. Rosemary Fleharty is working to ensure a smooth transition for whenever the day comes that she will no longer be correcting our mistakes so that the PDCA registry will always be maintained by professionals. Our more immediate problem is what to do about the increasing number of flawed paperwork from the other Dexter registry.

The PDCA has an experienced Dexter cattle registrar that takes the time to cross check registrations to make sure of their accuracy. Having registered Dexters for 20 years she has knowledge of about every Dexter herd and so it's less likely for anyone to slip something past her. The other Dexter association's registrar has had no experience before in registering animals and accepts whatever is sent, apparently without checking and correcting mistakes. What this can lead to down the road is someone purchasing a Dexter that may state on it's papers that it's 5 years old but in reality could be 7 or 8 years old. It may be harsh to say but I would compare the other registry now to some dog registries that operate much like puppy "papers" mills. You have "papers" but they may be worthless except for housebreaking. This may serve the Sellers immediate needs but not the Buyers because of the inaccuracies.

Members brought up at this year's annual meeting concerns about the mistakes that they're seeing in the other registry. After discussion it was decided that the only solution would be to close the PDCA registry to keep out the other registries inaccuracies and mistakes. There's a limit to raising fees to correct errors and this ends up giving the appearance of being a penalty towards the other association. As time goes on these mistakes will multiply and the PDCA registrar won't be able to afford the time it takes to track down and correct all of the other registry's errors. There's too many. No other professional registrar would likely spend the time to do so either which is also a consideration. The other association has discontinued including some data that has always been a part of the Dexter registry and so there is really no other option in the near future but to close the PDCA's registry to the other registry. Certainly the PDCA would like to register all Dexters and accommodate all Dexter breeders but without correct paperwork the papers become worthless. Without the proper crosschecking and accurate recording, you don't know who bred the Dexter or if it is even a Dexter and how old the Dexter may really be. The other association operates a different system for registrations than does the PDCA. So when we say we're closing the PDCA registry in the near future it means closed to the acceptance of paperwork from the other association. Our two systems of registration are not compatible. This has nothing to do with politics but everything to do with protecting the integrity of the PDCA's registry. PDCA members can be assured that professionally maintaining an accurate and reliable Dexter cattle registry will always be the PDCA's first priority.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Value-Based Beef

Proper position for correctly measuring hip height.

Beef Cattle Frame Scores

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Further Adventures of Roxie...

Some here have watched the brown/dun Dexter heifer calf's growth since her birth back in February. Originally she was preparing to be in the PDCA Show & Sale in California, but when the Dexter she was hitching a ride out west with had to cancel due to imminent calving, it was decided to put Roxie in a movie so that she would only have to make one trip to her new home. A lady came out and filmed Roxie and mailed off the video but somewhere along the way the tape got misplaced and lost. So it was left up to the members as to whether we should go ahead and auction Roxie without the video or do a silent auction instead on the PDCA web site. One member made a generous bid but other members having not seen Roxie wanted to do an online auction for the calf and so in the end this is what was decided. Rebecca has put this together and so now we have the PDCA's first ever Silent Auction. Bidding will end at midnight August 27, 2005, and then Roxie's new home will be with the highest bidder. All proceeds from the sale of Roxie will go to the PDCA and so let the bidding begin.

PDCA - One Google