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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Two Duns

Not all that uncommon with Dexters is for bulls to be a darker shade of dun. Imagine not that long ago before there were color photos on the internet, in books and breed publications. A period when there were very few Dexter shows and with Dexter breeders sparse in some areas coupled with the various color shades, and it's understandable why it might have been difficult in the past for some breeders to determine whether to register their animal as red or dun.

Monday, January 30, 2006

From PDCA's Editor:

Spring Issue

Hear ye, hear ye....it's that time again, folks!

This is the start of my official "nagging" to send me stuff for the
Spring issue. I'll need officer/manager communications, ARTICLES,
and PHOTOS. If I can get enough lovely "spring" photographs, I'll do
another color spread like the last two issues. Please, though, if you
send me pictures, only send them one at a time, or my ISP has a heart

Okay, consider yourself nagged.


Send articles and photographs to:

The PDCA Record
Patrice Lewis, Editor
1305 Canyon Ridge Lane
Plummer, ID 83851
(208) 686-0627


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Year of the Dog

Happy New Year!

Reuben Haines Letter

Germantown, Oct. 20, 1818
With this you will receive a pound of butter made from the Alderney cow imported in 1815 by Maurice and William Wurts, and now in my possession. She calved on the 13th of last month, and is now in fine condition, running on excellent pasture of orchard grass and white clover, and gives on an average about 14 quarts of milk per day. From this quantity, during the week ending the 7th instant, we obtained 10 quarts of cream, which produce 8lbs 2oz of butter, and the week succeeding 10½ quarts, which gave 83/4 of the quality of the sample sent. You will perceive it is of so rich a yellow that it might be suspected that some foreign coloring matter had been added to it; but you may rely on it this is not the case. I may add that one of the good properties of this valuable breed of cattle is the ease with which the cream is churned, requiring but a few minutes to convert it into butter. When a proper opportunity occurs, I shall endeavour to ascertain the quantity and quality of butter to be obtained per week from the Kerry cow, imported this summer from Ireland, and the Brittany cow from France, both of which breeds I have pure.
I remain respectfully
Reuben Haines

Jersey Cattle. Edited by the Secretary [ 1. Volume of the American Herd Book 1871 ]

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Kerry cattle in the United States

Someone brought up a good point in that we do know that Kerry cattle were in America during the 1800's. This excerpt might be of interest from "Breeds of Livestock in America" by Henry W. Vaughn (1947).

Kerry cattle in the United States

Reuben Haines of Germantown, Pennsylvania, stated in 1818 that he owned a purebred Kerry cow which he had imported that summer from Ireland.¹ Sanford Howard of Boston, Massachusetts, imported a Kerry bull and five heifers in 1859, and in 1860, a bull and two heifers. At the second show of the New England Agricultural Society, held at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1865, Daniel F. Appleton of Ipswich, Massachusetts, won first prize on a Kerry aged bull, and first on a Kerry heifer two years old; and R. Bradley of Battleboro, Vermont, won first on a yearling bull and first on a yearling heifer.² A few other importations were made in more recent times. Elmendorf Farm at Lexington, Kentucky, owned a considerable number of Kerry cattle during 1913 and 1914, the largest herd that was ever developed in this country. However, the breed has never attained any degree of popularity in North America. The American Kerry and Dexter Club was organized in 1911. A herd book was published in 1921 in which 77 Kerries and 323 Dexters are recorded. Following the publishing of this volume the business office of the club was closed.³

¹ Willis P. Hazard: The Jersey, Alderney, and Guernsy Cow, Philadelphia, 1872.
² New England Age Soc., Second Rpt., p. 53.
³ In a letter to the writer dated February 17, 1931, Professor C. S. Plumb, former secretary of the club, states that to his knowledge there are no herds of Kerry cattle and only one herd of Dexters in America.

Blog Stuff ~

I've not deleted anyone and so should anybody have any problems with their posts in comments not showing up let me know. Rchar@toast.net
If anything I sometimes overlook comments and so apologize if not answering someone's questions.

There is a verification (those fuzzy looking slanted letters) that you will need to enter in order for your post to be displayed. The reason for the verification is to prevent automated spam.

The only technical problem that I'm aware of was from awhile back when someone's computer cache was full and so without refreshing they weren't seeing the newer postings.

Friday, January 27, 2006


...with my picture taking but I did manage to get a few shots yesterday.

This wasn't the pose I was looking through the camera lens at but it does show this little bull calf's beefiness. He's also fuzzier during winter than the other calves so that may add to his beefy look.

He's a bit odd in that he walks around the pasture making low grumbling bull noises. What struck me with this pose was that he has his grandmother's flabby neck which gives him kind of a snubby nose look.

This was the bull calf's grandmother who died from cancer several years ago.

PDCA - One Bolg?

Last week I stated that this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister and now wish to withdraw that statement. --Mark Twain

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Diagram of a cow skeleton

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dexter Cattle at the Kansas State Fair in 1897?

A Director's message posted on the ADCA website was pointed out to me and after reading the message I can understand why people may be questioning the longevity of the association. The message says: "...researchers found a record of Dexter’s being in the Kansas State Fair in 1897 when the Fair was still in Topeka." Since in "Dexter Cattle" by John Hays the book states that the first recorded accounts of Dexter cattle in America were between 1905 and 1915, discovering Dexters in Kansas in 1897 normally would be exciting news to someone like myself that has an interest in Dexter history. However, my enthusiasm was tempered by the knowledge that the source of this information has not always been the most accurate and reliable in the past. So I checked it out and this is the response that I received from the Kansas State Historical Society:

Dear Richard:

We have scattered holdings of early premium books for the Kansas Free Fair, Topeka. We checked selected books for listing of Irish Dexter cattle without success.

Susan K. Forbes

Then I checked with the Old Cowtown Museum's curator/historian in Wichita. She had no knowledge of Dexters at the Kansas State Fair in the early days and referred me to their Farm Manager. The Farm Manager contacted me and he didn't know either. He's going to try to track down the source of this information and get back to me with what he finds out. I appreciate the assistance of the Old Cowtown Museum and their acknowledgement of the importance of accurate information.

There is no academically creditable documentation of Dexter cattle being in the Kansas State Fair in 1897. Hopefully other cattle museums in Kansas won't read on a Dexter association's website misinformation and repeat it.

"After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up ....until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you're full of bull, keep ....your mouth shut." --Will Rogers

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How to Milk a Cow

Step by step instructions from eHow on how to milk a cow. See also more tips from eHow users.

A pail, short stool, two hands and a very gentle milk cow are all you need to enjoy fresh milk every day. Once you start milking your cow, she will have to be milked twice a day every day until you let her dry up.

1. Milk at the same time daily.

2. Sit on the same side of the cow each day. This will help your cow feel more comfortable - cows like routine.

3. Place cow in a stanchion if this makes you feel more at ease. If your cow is an old hand at being milked, this probably won't be necessary. Ask the farmer you purchased her from what her routine was with the farmer.

4. Place stool at a right angle to the cow and sit with your head resting on her flank.

5. Wash udder with warm water and clean cloth.

6. Place pail under teats.

7. Take a teat into the palm of your hand.

8. Squeeze teat at top with thumb and forefinger. Continue squeezing each finger around teat, forcing milk in a stream until all fingers are around teat.

9. Release teat.

10. Repeat until only a small amount of milk comes out and the udder is soft to the touch.

If you milk your cow regularly and maintain a good feeding program, your cow can give you milk for up to 10 months.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dexter Bull Description

Scale of Points for Dexter Bulls

1. Head: masculine in character, finely cut, not too short, horns well set on without coarseness at base, forehead broad, eyes prominent and lively, nostrils wide and expansive. -- 10
2. Neck: long, arched, muscular, heavy. -- 4
3. Withers: strong but not too wide. -- 4
4. Shoulders: flat and sloping, indicating style and liberty. -- 4
5. Chest: broad and deep. -- 6
6. Barrel: hooped, well ribbed up, and of good length. --10
7. Back: broad over the loins, the top line being straight from withers to tail. --10
8. Hips: wide apart, but not too prominent. -- 4
9. Rump: long, broad and level, with tail neatly set in. -- 10
10. Hind Quarters: wide, the legs when viewed from behind being straight and without nearness when walking. -- 10
11. Rudimentary Teats: well-developed, set horizontally, wide apart and away from the scrotum. -- 4
12. Skin: mellow, flexible to the touch, fairly thin, carrying a good coat of hair. White permitted on belly, scrotum and switch. -- 6
13. Flesh: level, with an entire absence of unevenness or cushions. --10
14. Carriage and action in walking: gay and vigorous. -- 4
15. General appearance: symmetrical. -- 4

From the book "Dexter Cattle" by John Hays available online from:
PDCA Sale Barn.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Infested pastures can harm cattle

David Burton

Toxin in fescue can restrict the flow of blood to animals' ears and rear limbs.

Fescue foot can show up almost any time of the year, but the cold months of December, January and February are usually the worst.

Fescue foot results from cattle grazing endophyte-infected fescue pastures that — for several reasons — produced a large amount of an ergot-like toxin.

The most prevalent toxin, ergovaline, causes a constriction of the blood vessels in some animals.

That results in less blood flowing to the extreme parts of the body (rear legs and feet, tail and ear tips), according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with the University of Missouri Extension.

"Poor circulation is often first noted in cattle when they get up in the morning and appear slow and a little 'ouchy' on their rear feet," said Cole.

There may be no other visible signs unless the cattle are closely inspected in a chute. Then, the rear limbs may feel cool to the touch because of the restricted blood flow.

"If no action is taken the cattle's condition can worsen, and extremely cold, snowy weather may result in frostbite to the feet and lower legs," said Cole.

A break in the skin around the hoof-dewclaw area can appear as if a wire had been placed tightly around the area.

According to Cole, in extreme situations the hoof can actually slough off.

"The most effective thing to do when you notice the limping on the rear legs is remove the cattle from the fescue pasture. Even putting them on another fescue field that may have lower toxin levels can be a benefit," said Cole.

In severe cases, putting cattle up in a dry lot and feeding grain and legume hay can help some.

"Antibiotic treatments are of little value other than preventing infections that could arise. So far, there are no magic formulas to correct the problem," he said.

Toxin levels in the fescue tend to decline into the winter," said Cole.

Some fields of fescue seem to be problems every year while others may go for years with no ill-effects. According to Cole, sensitive cattle that show the symptoms but recover may lose their tail-switch or show up the following summer with long toes on their rear feet.

The new, novel friendly-endophyte-bearing fescue variety does not show fescue foot or the warm weather symptoms associated with fescue toxicosis.

"The new friendly-endophyte fescue is recommended when new seedings of fescue are made. In other fescue pastures — not destined for renovation — every attempt should be made to add legumes to those fields," said Cole.

For more details, visit with your local University of Missouri Extension center and request MU guide sheet G4669, "Tall Fescue Toxicosis."

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Simple observations can improve cattle

by Jeffery D. Via

Producers can gather lots of useful information by simply observing their cattle.

Dr. Jim Neel, a beef cattle specialist with The University of Tennessee Extension, called the technique “managing by wandering around,” and he recommended that producers make it a habit to observe their cattle.

“One of the first things producers can observe is the body condition of their cows,” Neel said. “Cows in a ‘thin’ body condition will have more difficulty calving, will experience reduced milk production and will have reduced reproduction success.”

Neel recommended that livestock producers maintain cows in “good” condition, meaning a body condition score of at least 5, to ensure effective performance. He also said the quality of the hay being fed can be easily evaluated through observations made while wandering the farm.

Neel recommended that producers observe whether their cows are consuming their hay and whether their manure piles “stack up.”

“The stacking is not due to freezing weather,” he said. “Poor quality hay will be low in both energy and digestibility and, as a consequence, will ‘stack up’ when defecated. With stacked manure piles, cows will need feed supplements high in both protein and energy.” -- UT Extension

Friday, January 20, 2006

Idaho loses brucellosis-free status

By Scott McMillion

LIVINGSTON -- Idaho has become the second state in the northern Rockies to lose its brucellosis-free status.

Wyoming lost its status in 2004.

In both cases, diseased cattle were found in areas close to elk feedgrounds, and elk are considered the likely source of the disease in the infected cattle herds.

The Idaho Department of Agriculture announced this week that the state has lost its brucellosis-free status.

That means that all cattle being exported must be tested for the disease, if they are sexually intact and over 18 months old.

Steers and spayed heifers don't need to be tested. Nor does any animal being shipped directly to slaughter.

Tests cost about $5 per animal in veterinary fees, and in some states there is an additional laboratory fee.

But losing the status generates other expenses, according to Donal O'Toole, of the Wyoming state veterinary lab.

Waiting for test results forces costly delays, he told the Wyoming Extension Service in a Jan. 4 article. He said the number of tests done by his lab has grown from 46,000 a year to 160,000.

Idaho gained brucellosis-free status in 1991. Wyoming obtained it 1985.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Not a Dexter but one...two...

By Travis Jenkins

“Not only do we have twins, we've got a litter.”

That is what Betty and Dale Beer say that their son Greg exclaimed last Tuesday.

Greg was not making reference to his parents' dog or cat, though. He was talking about a cow.

The Beers have been raising cows in Chester County for 50 years. They witnessed over 100 births in the last year and thousands during their time at their Richburg farm.

Until last Tuesday, though, they had never seen a cow give birth to triplets.

“We thought she was just carrying twins,” Betty Beer said.

Twins are not that uncommon. Betty said one of their cows gave birth to a set of twins a few weeks ago. Triplets are a real rarity, however. According to the “Cow-Calf Newsletter” only one in every 105,000 cow births results in triplets being born.

The cow that gave birth to the triplets actually birthed a set of twins herself last year, though both calves died.

“Greg actually said ‘We need to get rid of her,'” Betty Beer said. “He was afraid that she'd die next time.”

Though she came through the delivery just fine, there was a reason for concern. A veterinarian told the Beers that the cow was suffering from low blood sugar. They also noticed that she wasn't eating.

“She didn't have any room for food,” Dale Beers joked. “Really, she wasn't getting up and down very good. Now we know why.”

Not long after the delivery, both mother and children had a normal appetite. One of the calves has been moved because the mother is not producing enough milk for all three. Another of the calves may be moved to a different location soon for the same reason.

The Beers said that most of their cows will eventually be fed out for beef in Texas.

The birthing season is still not quite over. Betty said that about 15 more calves would be born in the coming weeks. What would her reaction be to another set of triplets?

“A surprise,” Betty said. “A big surprise.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PDCA members can save $20...

...by advertising their Dexter cattle for free on the PDCA website. I've been getting many inquiries recently from people interested in Dexter cattle which is always good. Whether I have something for sale or not inquiries provide an opportunity to promote the breed and the PDCA. The old adage is that you advertise this year for next year. So if you haven't already, take advantage of the free listing on the PDCA website and let the world know that you have Dexter cattle.

It's not too early to be thinking about Spring calving and so another good avenue to let people know that you may have Dexters available for sale would be the upcoming Spring issue of the PDCA Record. Every inquiry to the PDCA is sent a current edition of the Record. So purchasing an advertisement in your breed publication not only helps by adding a little revenue to the association and shows your appreciation of the great job that Patrice does as Editor with each issue, but also may bring you a buyer.

You may think that it's still winter and too early but just as there are people looking at garden catalogs right now and thinking about plants this Spring, there's also people right now thinking about planting some Dexter cattle in their pasture. Let them know about your Dexters!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cow products to replace antibiotics


With the World Health Organisation cautioning about antibiotics becoming ''ineffective'' by 2020, cow products including urine, dung, milk and ghee could well ''replace'' these drugs, a senior scientist claimed today.

Interacting with newspersons here senior scientist from the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosi, R L Chauhan, who was here to participate in a two-day national conference on immunology said the WHO has cautioned that by 2020, the antibiotics will become ineffective and the scientists will have to replace them by alternative means.

Prof Chauhan said Panchgavya (Cowpathy) -- medical treatment through cow products -- can be a viable and side-effect free alternative, especially in light of established facts that this therapy formed a crucial part of Ayurveda.

''Cow products such as urine, dung, milk, curd and ghee hold the promise of controlling infections in humans and use of cow urine in medical therapy has been in practice since time immemorial,'' he claimed.

The cow urine has recently been granted a US patent for its synergistic properties with antibiotics and as bioenhancer. The preliminary studies on immunomodulation with cow urine have also found favour among the global scientist fraternity, Prof Chauhan further claimed.

He said ''India with a sizeable cow population can take a lead in the development of cheap and effective cow product based medicines.''

Monday, January 16, 2006

Better Beef

By Nancy Smith

Grass-fed meat offers richer flavor and more nutrition.

Beef from a cow raised on pasture is even healthier for you than a chicken breast — the white meat that health authorities are so quick to recommend.

That may be hard to believe, but it’s true, says Jo Robinson, grass-fed expert and author of the book Pasture Perfect.

The best place to start in describing the health benefits of grass-fed beef is with the meat’s leanness. Grass-fed beef is one-third to three times leaner than grain-fed beef, and as a consequence has fewer calories, too — a 6-ounce beef loin from a grass-fed cow can have 92 fewer calories than a 6-ounce loin from a grain-fed cow.

Grass-fed beef also provides two to four times more essential omega-3 fatty acids than feedlot beef. These omega-3s help protect humans from cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, dementia, high-blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke. Also in grass-fed products, omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids are in balance, which provides critical protection from heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers have found grass-fed beef contains two newly discovered “good” fats: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and trans-vaccenic acid (TVA). (Our bodies turn TVA into CLA.)

CLA shows great promise in lab animal studies of helping fight cancers and cardiovascular disease. When cattle are raised exclusively on grass, their meat and dairy products offer two to five times more CLA than cattle raised on large amounts of grain.

Grass-fed beef also provides more beta carotene, vitamin E and folic acid, important antioxidants that protect us from free radicals, boost our immunity and may lower our risk of heart disease.

Continue reading... Grass-fed Means Healthy Cows

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Chondrodysplasia Testing

Chondrodysplasia Testing

The current batch of tests by Bova-Can Laboratories are scheduled to be conducted on March 15, 2006. Deadlines for the next batch of tests will be June 15, 2006, September 15, 2006 and December 15, 2006.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cow Game

The instructions might be helpful and useful if you can read German but basically you herd the cow through mazes on different levels by dragging the arrows to point the way. You may need to get a key to open a door, or you may need to move a hay bale, or you may need one cow to move another. Have fun and enjoy tonight's Full Wolf Moon!

Cow Game (Flash)

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Small Black Cow.

Unsigned, undated. Oil on canvas.

The Museum of English Rural Life

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mad cow scare could boost organic beef

Article with PDCA member Jack Goodman from 2004 but still relevant today.

BUHL, Idaho _ The hay that cattle rancher Jack Goodman tosses to his cows is free of herbicides or pesticides.

At a time when Americans are worried about the current mad cow scare, cattlemen like Goodman who sell organic beef could see their market grow substantially.

"My hay's not as pretty as my neighbor's hay -- it's got some grass in it," he said. "But that's OK. It sure doesn't bother my cows any."

For more than 25 years, Goodman has maintained a herd of Irish Dexter cattle. About 70 Dexters feed exclusively on alfalfa and pasture grass grown without herbicides or pesticides. He does not feed them animal byproducts and shuns the use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes, which could make his beef a hot commodity with consumers.

Mad cow disease, which was found in Washington state, is thought to be spread through cattle feed containing protein or bone meal from infected cows or sheep.

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture banned feeding these products to cattle in 1997 and new regulations were introduced last week, organic food advocates say the laws have loopholes and are sometimes poorly enforced.

Most of Goodman's cattle is sold as breeding stock to private owners. He said the consumer market for organic and grass-fed beef is looking up at a time when the outlook for the commercial beef market has clouded.

"As a consumer, I would be more interested in eating something that is guaranteed not to have been fed animal byproducts," Goodman said. "I wouldn't sell anything I wouldn't eat myself."

In Idaho, beef producers can be certified organic through a process of inspections and by adhering to established state standards for organic crops, including not applying unapproved materials to soil.

Goodman said the new regulations include a national identification system for cattle. They are a step forward in further preventing mad cow from entering the American food supply.

But the discovery of the disease is "the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Rebecca Mirsky, director of the Idaho Organic Alliance, said she believes the mad cow scare will encourage consumers to turn to locally grown organic and grass-fed beef.

It can be more expensive to raise beef organically and in small herds, and that cost is passed onto the consumer at the restaurant and supermarket.

Goodman sells his Dexter steers on the market for about $1.10 per pound, compared with commercial beef that hovered around an average of 90 cents per pound before the U.S. mad cow discovery.

Goodman acknowledges raising his cattle in a niche market is not as profitable as one may think.

"I do what I do because I feel we all have a responsibility to the earth; I really enjoy doing what I'm doing," Goodman said.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Winter weather

In the 50's yesterday and the forecast is for 60 degrees tomorrow, while we had about 3 inches of snow today.

What the heck is going on?

Monday, January 09, 2006

"Dexter Cattle: Origin and Relationships"

Lawrence Alderson's "Dexter Cattle: Origin and Relationships".

Sunday, January 08, 2006

'Mineral Musts'

By Karl Wolfshohl

Want healthier livestock? Look at their diet. If you are supplementing it with a trace mineral mix that isn't tuned to local pastures, you could be robbing your livestock of some of their health and reproduction potential.
"When it comes to minerals, one size does not fit all," notes Warren Gill, a Tennessee specialist who has studied minerals in pastures along with Clyde Lane, a Tennessee animal scientist.

How do they differ? Let us count the ways, or at least a few.

Selenium is often deficient in Tennessee forages. On the other hand, in parts of the Dakotas and California, where soils are more basic (having a higher pH) there may be so much selenium that it actually is toxic to cattle.

Sandy soils in south Georgia and Florida tend to need extra sulfur and potassium. Elsewhere you'll sicken cattle by adding sulfur because there is so much in the soil already. In fact, too much sulfur in the forage in some places ties up selenium and copper, putting these in short supply for livestock. Excess sulfur is often a problem in pastures located down wind from coal-fired power plants.

"It's almost always an interaction between one mineral and another that causes the problem," Gill says. "Sulfur is the big bully here, beating up copper and selenium."

Potassium is another bully in some places. It may raise its ugly head in early spring, tying up magnesium, so cattle may get what's called "grass tetany" on early spring forages. That's a life-threatening malady.

How do you get too much potassium? One way is by fertilizing pastures with the old standard triple 19 fertilizer, without taking a soil test first and adding specifically what a pasture really needs.

Is this truly a problem? Absolutely. Gill says one-third of the samples they test for potassium in the spring are above 3%, which is considered the maximum tolerable level.

"If there's a bit of advice, it's to work with the companies to see how they've manufactured minerals to fit your area," Gill says. "Good ones will adapt their mix locally. I don't believe I'd use a company that has a one-size-fits-all product. Also, check your state land grant university's animal science Web site for what they recommend."

And here's one of Gill's big pet peeves: Using trace mineral salt—an old standard nearly everywhere—without some local adaptation. "It's inexpensive but it's pretty much just a colored salt," Gill says. "It does not have enough calcium, phosphorus, copper, or selenium for Tennessee, for instance. The color comes from iron oxide. Healthy cattle rarely have an iron deficiency, and you should normally avoid high-iron products."

Functions of minerals

Saturday, January 07, 2006


In 2004 we first posted about the National Cattle ID Plan and recently there's been a lot of interest on the internet and concerns expressed about how this program is being implemented as people become more aware of the program. A Montana rancher's blog, Thoughts from the Middle of Nowhere, has an excerpt from an article today about Herd Identification that expresses some of the concerns with the program for small producers and even grandma with her backyard chicken flock. This has also been a topic this week on the Derry Brownfield show particularly the January 5th show where some interesting points were raised on the method and wording from the individual state regulations that are being enacted. Programs that begin as "voluntary" for the registration of premises such as proposed in Texas, once in full effect become mandatory with fines of $1,000 a day for non compliance. Fees are also being imposed for premise registration which will need to be paid every two years. If the costs of the program increases I think it's reasonable to suspect that the fees will also increase. What tracking back will mean with regards to liability issues to the small producer is another area of concern. Since national identification has been pushed by Big Ag with global interests some feel this may be the beginning of the end of non corporate farming. A website StopAnimalID.org has been put up to act as a clearinghouse for information and provides state and governmental links.

Stage one
is the registering of premises, stage two will be individual animal identification or by lots for larger producers. Stage three will be the actual tracking. Since the USDA is doing this on a state by state basis it's important to be aware of what's enacted in your state. Intent and purpose shouldn't be vulnerable to change and different interpretations later on if written correctly. The burden of cost and effects on the small producer and homesteaders that grow their own food are legitimate issues.

Friday, January 06, 2006

'No bull, little Monty has a big future'

Michael Wray
The Courier-Mail (Australia)

'MEET Monty – a little cow with a big fan club.

As a member of the Dexter breed of cattle, Monty was never going to be a giant, but when his owners Carol and Rick Elliot realised just how small he was they had to make some hard decisions.
"The dwarf gene isn't quite what we want because we're breeding for beef," Mrs Elliot said.

In the three years that the Elliots had tended and bred 25 Dexter cows on their 24ha property, they had never come across a dwarf.

The cattle, of which only the largest grow bigger than 105cm, are not bred for size but for the premium beef market.

Even so, when the couple spotted the new calf in their paddock in the Mary Valley, about 50km west of Noosa, on October 10 they knew this was something new.

Some quick research and checking confirmed they had a dwarf, which was quickly called Monty.

Just as quickly, the Elliots decided Monty's life would not follow that chosen for the rest of the herd.

Monty will be put to good use as a "lawnmower" and will be taken to local shows so children can pat him and interact with him without being scared, Mrs Elliot said. Monty now stands at the grand height of 60cm.

For a brief period after Boxing Day, when another calf, now named Boxer, was born, Monty enjoyed some time as the second shortest member of the herd.

Boxer has since grown and is already as tall – but not as well built – as Monty.

After mapping out the next 15 to 20 years of Monty's future, the Elliots were left with a decision about the future path of the breed rather than an individual.

The dwarf gene had been passed on through Monty's mother, Friday, and thoughts turned to her.

"Now we know she has got that gene it's a decision about do we risk another of her progeny carrying that gene," Mrs Elliot said.

Testing to be carried out at the University of New England will help the Elliots determine if other members of the herd carry the gene.

The latest thinking was that Friday would get one more chance to add to the herd.

If she has another dwarf, Monty will have competition again for the "smallest" title.

Whatever happens, the Elliots could not think of a better breed to own. "They're not very big cattle, but they have a wonderful personality," Mrs Elliot said.'

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Late afternoon...

Mild weather here in the Midwest for a January.

Dun (brown) Dexter heifers, 6 months & 2 months old.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Castrating Beef Calves

University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service file (pdf) -

Castrating Beef Calves.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Farmer defies vet over 'TB calf'

UK - BBC News

A vet from the Department of Food and Rural Affairs has failed to persuade a smallholder to let a calf be killed, amid fears of bovine tuberculosis.

Sheilagh Kremers wants a second assessment of her calf Fern at her farm near Newton Abbot, Devon.

She said it was in protest at the government's policy on bovine TB, which can be spread to cattle from badgers.

Government policy is to shoot the animal before carrying out post-mortem tests to find out if it was infected.

TB 'reactor'

The vet met Mrs Kremers on Tuesday and tried to persuade her to change her mind.

Ms Kremers' herd of 12 pedigree Dexter cattle was tested for TB two weeks ago. Fern was the only one that was found to be a TB "reactor".

This means the animal had come into contact with the disease, but vets will not be able to tell if it actually has bovine TB unless it is slaughtered and a post-mortem examination is carried out.

Ms Kremers, 63, told the BBC's Radio 4 programme Farming Today that she was taking a stand to save Fern and against the government's policy of killing cattle but not badgers, which also spread the disease.

She said: "I'm not going to allow them to take him away. I really want a retest.

"A stand has to be made. Too many of them [cows] are being put down."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was concerned as farmers about the problems TB had caused and was currently consulting on whether there should be badger culling.

Both Ms Kremers and Anthony Gibson, South West Regional Director of the NFU, have asked for Defra to carry out a second test on Fern.

Defra said second tests were only given where there was a strong margin of doubt. It said the tests were more than 77% reliable.

The farm is under TB restrictions and the calf has been isolated.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dexter Cattle - 1918 & 1923

Dex-Info continues to be one of the best resources for Dexter cattle information on the internet. Just recently published on the site are the 1918 article on the Kerry and Dexter by James Wilson and also Crew's early scientific article from 1923.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy Moo Year!

Advertise your Dexter cattle for free.

PDCA - One Google