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, November 30, 2005

You are what your animals eat

by Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson, nutrition maven and co-author of The Omega Diet, said that most animal scientists don't seem to think there is a connection between what they feed animals and human health but there is.

"One, if it's in their feed, it's in our food. Two, if it's in our food, it's affecting our health. The new paradigm is we are what our animals eat," she said.

Americans currently have a gross imbalance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. Robinson said this is largely due to the feeding of wilted forages and grain to dairy cows and to the widespread practice of grain finishing beef.

She said research on people who had at least one heart attack and were put on a high Omega-3 diet showed a 70% decline in mortality. These same people also showed a 61% reduction in cancer deaths.

Omega-3 is an important brain fat. Children who were fed high Omega-3 diets had an IQ nine points higher than the average American child. High Omega-3 diets have also been found to be effective in treating depression.

She said grass feeding not only increased the Omega-3 level in ruminants but also in the eggs of pastured poultry and the meat of pastured hogs as well.

Currently the USA has the least amount of CLA in its diet of any country in the world. However, this is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Robinson said that in 1947 when she was born, 70% of all the beef eaten in the United States was from grass fed animals. "We don't need artificial designer food. We just need to get it back to where it was. We want to eat what is normal and natural."

She said Omega-3 fatty acid was extremely unstable and rapidly dissipated if exposed to air. This is why hay and wilted silages are low in Omega-3 fatty acids and cannot replicate the healthy meats and milk of direct-grazed pasture.

"You will never have a non-direct grazed beef product that is high in Omega-3 and CLA and Vitamin A and Beta Carotene."

She listed the following five points as the "whole story" of grass fed beef.

1. The grass fed product is natural and wholesome with no artificial hormones, antibiotics or pesticides.

2. The grass fed product provides superior human nutrition. It is low in saturated bad fat, high in Omega-3, CLA and vitamins.

3. Grass fed animals are healthy and happy.

4. Grass feeding not only is good for the environment but can actually improve the environment.

5. Grass feeding is good for the survival of small farmers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Home Slaughtering and Processing of Beef

Home Slaughtering and Processing of Beef
published by MU Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.

Monday, November 28, 2005

PDCA Dues Reminder

As I mentioned before, work is being done on the PDCA membership database and so be sure that your membership dues are now current. The date for renewal is July 1st of each year. Everyone will always be given several months grace after their dues expire before their accounts are canceled for access to the PDCA Online Pedigree Members Area but don't procrastinate until you're locked out. Be sure that your dues are up-to-date to continue to receive all the great benefits of PDCA membership.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fall and Winter...

Health Problems in Cow-Calf Herds

Pdf file provided by the Texas Cooperative Extension - Texas A & M University that covers a few health problems that might occur particuliarly with a stressed cow-calf herd.

Friday, November 25, 2005

PDCA Web Site

Our PDCA webmaster, Rebecca, along with being busy learning some new computer programming code is also busy working on some changes and updates for http://www.purebreddextercattle.org/
Rebecca will be working together with Doug to integrate the PDCA Online Pedigree Site and some new features into the PDCA web site.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005

PDCA Promotional Items

If you're looking for some holiday gifts for the Dexter enthusiast be sure to consider some of the PDCA promotional items. I purchased a cap and several t-shirts at the 2005 Annual Meeting. The t-shirts came in various colors and all items feature the colorful PDCA logo. Check with Pat Sorensen for availability and shipping cost.

T-shirts: $10 + s & h
Caps: $10 + s & h
Denim shirts: Short-sleeved $25 + s & h, Long sleeved $28 + s & h
PDCA logo magnetized decals: $15 + s & h

Also available are bumper stickers, farm signs, and PDCA patches.

Make checks payable to "PDCA" and send to:

Pat Sorensen
7448 South Lane
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
(801) 798-9129

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Do You Google?

Sometimes I go to Google and do a "Dexter cattle" web search. It's interesting to see how much it has changed in the past year. The Purebred Dexter Cattle Association was on page 12 a year ago and now we've moved all the way up to number 5 on the front page. Take a look, we're looking good!

Friday, November 18, 2005

PDCA Membership Directory/Breeders Listing

Along with an electronic herd book on the PDCA Online Pedigree Site another project that's not completed yet is the updating of the membership data. The programmer will be updating the membership data as he develops a new PDCA Membership Directory/Breeders Listing and so this will all be incorporated into the new database. Once completed it will be in a printable format that can continually be updated as the PDCA continues to grow.

I have to praise our web designer Doug Meyer, once again, as he's been the brains and the brawn behind this. We tell him what we want and he it makes it all work. I wish I could say the same about my tractor mechanic who was supposed to show up here last week.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

PDCA Herd Book

The reviews for the PDCA Online Pedigree Site have been excellent. Since the announcement Monday night there has been over 400 visits and already 50 photos have been uploaded. I don't have all of my photos up yet as I might try to take some more current ones. Hopefully I don't chop off the cow's head or the cow stands to make it look like a Dexter has only three legs.

As mentioned before, more additions to the Pedigree Site are forthcoming. One item the developer will be working on in the next few weeks will be an electronic herd book. The data should be more comprehensive than the old method of just publishing what has been returned from individual mailings. With an electronic version any mistakes unlike a published version can be easily corrected and updates made. This will be done in a printable format so that the herd book can be printed out for those that may want a paper copy or someone that may not have computer access yet. Not only should this be more accurate but in the long run less expensive than publishing books that each year become more massive.

So for anyone wondering about the PDCA Herd Book, it's being developed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

PDCA Online Pedigree Site

I'm happy to announce what some of you have been waiting for:

The PDCA Online Pedigree Site is now opening to the public and is operational. Doug Meyer will be maintaining the site for the PDCA and will also be adding some more items in the next few weeks. PDCA members that wish to check out the Members Area be sure that Rosemary has your current email address so it can be entered into the database in order for you to set up your personal account. Once you have an account you'll be able to add photos of your animals.

Have fun checking out your Dexter pedigrees and using all the other great features!


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cow-Tipping Physics

TIMES ONLINE - Much to the relief of dairy herds, the sport of cow-tipping has been debunked as an urban, or perhaps rural, myth by scientists at a Canadian university. Margo Lillie, a doctor of zoology at the University of British Columbia, and her student Tracy Boechler have conducted a study on the physics of cow-tipping.

Ms Boechler, now a trainee forensics analyst for the Royal Canadian Mounted Corps, concluded in her initial report that a cow standing with its legs straight would require five people to exert the required force to bowl it over. A cow of 1.45 metres in height pushed at an angle of 23.4 degrees relative to the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force, equivalent to 4.43 people, she wrote. Dr Lillie, Ms Boechler’s supervisor, revised the calculations so that two people could exert the required amount of force to tip a static cow, but only if it did not react.

"The static physics of the issue say . . . two people might be able to tip a cow," she said. "But the cow would have to be tipped quickly — the cow's centre of mass would have to be pushed over its hoof before the cow could react."

Newton’s second law of motion, force equals mass multiplied by acceleration, shows that the high acceleration necessary to tip the cow would require a higher force. "Biology also complicates the issue here because the faster the [human] muscles have to contract, the lower the force they can produce. But I suspect that even if a dynamic physics model suggests cow tipping is possible, the biology ultimately gets in the way: a cow is simply not a rigid, unresponding body."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Prairie Grasses to Fatten Beef Cattle

By Jan Suszkiw - ARS

'Two new varieties of big bluestem prairie grass could boost beef cattle weight by as much as 50 pounds per head, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and collaborating university scientists.

The beef weight gains come from grazing trials in eastern Nebraska that compared the new releases--named “Bonanza” and “Goldmine”--to the Pawnee and Kaw varieties. The latter two cultivars have been the leading big bluestems in the Central Plains and Midwest for more than 40 years, a reign stemming from their broad adaptability to the regions' diverse growing conditions.

Such adaptability is especially important on marginal cropland used for cow-calf operations where the animals draw nutrients from forage rather than grains, notes Ken Vogel, who leads ARS' Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research Unit in Lincoln, Neb.

Pawnee and Kaw, however, were never specifically bred with forage quality in mind, according to Vogel, a supervisory plant geneticist. Goldmine and Bonanza offer the best of both worlds, combining adaptability with improved forage quality. Vogel began breeding the big bluestems in 1977, and recently field-tested them in collaboration with ARS Lincoln rangeland scientist Robert Mitchell and University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers Terry Klopfenstein and Bruce Anderson.

In pasture trials from 2000 to 2002, cattle that grazed the new big bluestems gained 18 to 50 pounds more per acre than those that grazed Pawnee and Kaw. The researchers estimate these gains could mean net-profit increases of $15 to more than $35 per acre a year for beef producers. On marginal cropland, yearling steers that grazed pastures of Goldmine and Bonanza generated net profits of up to $119 per acre. That's 2.4 times more profit than the producer would have earned from growing corn on the same land during the same years, according to the researchers' estimates.

Certified seed of Goldmine and Bonanza will become available in 2006.'

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Autumn Calf

Dun heifer calf's first morning.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Roxie's New Home

For those that may have followed the saga of Roxie the PDCA auction heifer, she arrived safely to her new home in California. Cathy, her new owner, says she's perfect. This is what I thought as well but then I'm biased. Cathy has also purchased a couple of other Dexters and says they loved Roxie and all of them are getting along great. Dexters can sometimes be like children in that you're not sure what they'll do out in public, but it sounds like Roxie has made herself a part of a happy new Dexter family. So not only did the auction raise a little revenue, best of all is that we've gained an enthusiastic new Dexter breeder. Cathy says she's looking forward to being an active and useful member of the PDCA. Who would have thought that this little Dexter calf born on the late February pastures would have had such a busy and productive first year?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Showing off beef dying art: breeder

New Zealand -

"... That's excepting the dexter miniature cattle, which are very popular with lifestyle farmers."

Rural Story by Stephanie Bell

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What is a Good Bull?

'Gertrude Stein, who specialized in phrases, had a famous line: "A rose is a rose, is a ROSE!"

It is about as explicit as the dictum that "the bull is half the herd and if he happens to be a poor one, he is all the herd." This is a recognition of the importance of the bull question, and a partial indication of its difficulty. The bull question might be answered by saying that a good bull in any herd is one whose progeny more nearly approaches the ideal of the breeder than did the females with which he was mated. This presupposes that the breeder has an ideal; if he does not, he may be on his way, but he is going nowhere.

First of all, it is important that the bull be prepotent, that is, that his progeny shall be at least more uniform than their dams and shall reflect his ancestry. It is important that they have vigor and stamina. It is important that along with the characteristics which are being sought by the breeder there shall not be hidden or recessive defects that are not wished or anticipated. It is fairly easy, for example, to increase milk production in all except the higher producing herds, and it is even easier to increase beef productiojn by the use of a bull chosen for one of these purposes. In doing these things, however, one may get in one case misshapen udders, droopy rumps, over-refinement or other undesirables. In the other case he may get such fleshing tendencies as to seriously lower milking ability and give the next generation such a poor start as to defeat the very purpose for which the beefy bull was used. Extremes tend to be self-limiting.'

What is a Good Bull?

'We shall have to paraphrase Gertrude Stein and say:

A bull is a bull, is a BULL!
He is if he is, if he IS!'

From "Dual-Purpose Cattle" by Claude H. Hinman

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rare Breeds Beef

UK - Northfield Farm began with a small herd of Dexter cattle and has been accredited as a butcher by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

PDCA - One Google