Dual Purpose Cattle
By the late Thomas Shaw, whose books and teachings have made him well kaown to farmers all over the country. For 25 years he owned and ran a 500-acre farm in Canada; for 5 years he was Professor of Agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College. From 1893 to 1905 he was Professor of Animal Husbandry at the University of Minnesota. Then, after giving some years to editorial work, he became Agricultural Expert of the Northern Pacific and Great Northern railroads. As farmer, teacher, and President of the American Milking Shorthorn Association, he has had unlimited opportunity to study this type of cattle. Like other^subjects that take a middle course between two distinct lines of development, the dual purpose animal has been severely criticized by supporters of specialized breeds. Nevertheless it is raised by, and popular with many practical farmers, which warrants its careful and unbiased consideration.—Editor.
WHAT they are. Dual purpose cattle are, as the name implies, two purpose cattle that are adapted for the production of both milk and meat in satisfactory proportions. It has never been claimed for them that they will measure up to the straight dairy breeds in milk production, or to the straight beef breeds in beef production, but it is claimed that they will prove more profitable than either under average conditions on the average cultivated farm when their combined products are taken into account. It has never been claimed that they should take the place of the strictly dairy breeds where milk is the all important consideration, or the place of the beef breeds where beef is the only product wanted and expected, as, for instance, on the range. Their place is on the cultivated farm, where the cows can and will be regularly milked and from which the milk, or at least the butterfat, will be sold.
The demand for the dual type of cattle on the arable farm has increased greatly in recent years and is to-day, it seems safe to say, not exceeded and probably not equaled by that for any other group or breed. At one time the open¬ing up of the vast ranges of western America made possible the production of beef so cheaply that it did not pay to grow it on the arable farm. At most the half developed cattle were simply brought in from the range and finished there. The increased demand for dual purpose stock has been helped along, first, by the rise in the price of beef—a rise that promises to continue—and second by the reduction of the area of the range pastures. In 14 states in which cattle used to be grazed in great numbers some 300,000,000 acres are being taken up as dry land farms for the raising of grain. At the same time the population of the country is increasing and as a result we are importing meat to help out our supply! Still the cry for more meat continues. The question is: Where is it to come from? The ranges are being reduced, their supply of feeders is becoming too small to meet the demand. The arable farm remains the only source. But what kind of animals can be raised there to supply the desired meat? Not surplus stock of the pure dairy breeds, certainly.
The choice lies between the straight beef and the dual purpose types with the latter peculiarly fitted to fill the bill, since it means both a moderately profitable supply of milk and a calf to be made into meat each year. For example, the man who keeps straight beef cattle on the arable farm must rear the calves on their dams. A calf thus reared at 12 months will weigh about 800 pounds,
provided it is well fed after weaning, and with beef at 7’ cents will be worth in the stockyards about $60. The naan who keeps a good cow of the dual pur¬pose type will get perhaps 6,000 pounds of 3.9 per cent, milk, which with butter-fat at 30 cents will be worth about $75. The calf that she produces will be reared on the skimmilk left over and some grain during the milk period, and later on the lower priced farm products. If well fed and cared for it will weigh, say, 700 pounds at 12 months and be worth in the stock yards, say $50. The returns from the dual purpose cow, therefore, will be $75 plus $50 or $125 against $60 from the straight beef cow. The cost of milking must of course be considered, and also the added cost of supplementary feed fed to the dual type calf, but there can be no question that the larger profit for the year’s work is obtained from the dual cow. At the age of 2 years the calves will be worth about equal money when sold in finished form.
Dual Purpose Cattle in Europe
Dual purpose cattle are much more numerous in Great Britain and other European countries than in the United States and Canada. In Great Britain it is estimated that fully 80 per cent of the milk used is supplied by such animals, which stand as the chief source of revenue with which the small farmer can meet the high land rents found there. The dual purpose breeds in Britain are, the Milking Shorthorn, the Red Lincolnshire, the Red Poll, the South Devon, the Dexter, and a few more of minor importance such as the few remaining Longhorns, the formation is in a marked degree similar. The males differ chiefly in having a slightly longer head, neck, and barrel than the beef type, and not quite so much blocky massiveness. The females differ mainly in having a longer and somewhat finer head and neck, a longer barrel and hind quarter and a more liberal development of udder and milk veins. The two classes are recorded in the same herd book, but in addition the Dairy Shorthorn Society which is an auxiliary of the Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, publishes an annual which records’ the yearly production
FIG. 65. English bred Milking Shorthorn cow, Pansy 2d, imported by the late J. J. Hill
North Devons that incline more toward beef than to milk production, and the Kerries that incline in the opposite direction.
The Milking Shorthorns, called in Britain Dairy Shorthorns, are not separate and distinct from the Shorthorn breed. They are simply Shorthorn cattle that have been hand milked from generation to generation and bred and selected with an eye to both milk and meat production of a reasonably high order. They have the same color mark¬ings as the beef Shorthorns, and the con¬of registered cows belonging to members who may care to enter them. However, the keeping of milk records is not obligatory.
When, in the eighteenth century, the Shorthorn breed was being developed, all animals of the breed were, practically speaking, dual purpose, hence all the early specimens of the breed imported into the United States and Canada were of this class. During the latter part of the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth century several noted breeders centred their efforts on improving
FIG. 66. Imported South Devon bull, Langston King, at two years of age
the beef qualities of Shorthorns, to such an extent as to lessen their milk production. The most famous of these were the Bros. Colling, the Booths, father and sons, and Amos Cruickshank. (The famous breeder, Thomas Bates, who lived at the same time as the Booths, gave much attention to the development of the dual qualities and as a result these show to a marked degree in the descendants of his animals even to the present day). But in spite of these efforts, many breeders continued to breed many pure Shorthorns along dual lines, and nearly all the grade Shorthorns. Hence an overwhelming majority of English Shorthorns are of the dual type when the grades are included, and a very large proportion of the latter are practically pure though not recorded. This explains why, at the London Dairy Show, Shorthorns usually outnumber all the pure dairy breeds combined. It also explains why Britain is now able to export milking Shorthorns in large numbers to the United
States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other countries.
The Red Lincolnsliirecat tie are chiefly confined to the county of Lincoln. They are of pure Shorthorn ancestry, a whole red in color and recorded in a separate registry. The Red Polls are most numerous in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and are red in color and of less size than the Short¬horns. The South Devons are large, light red, and excellent producers of both meat and milk. The Dexters, found in both England and Ireland, are small and relatively few.
On the continent of Europe many of the cattle are of the dual purpose class, especially in Belgium, Northern France, and Germany. Even the Iiolsteins in Holland, though essentially dairy cattle, include many animals possessed of what is termed the “milk and meat” form. The two principal breeds of Switzerland, the Brown Swiss and the Sim- menthaler, are distinctly of the dual type.
Dual Purpose Breeds in America
The great majority of dual cattle in the United States and Canada to-day belong to the Shorthorn, Red Poll, and Brown Swiss breeds, with the first mentioned easily the strongest in numbers and importance.
The Red Polls now bred in many states are managed along dual lines, but too many of the breeders are following the practice of rearing the calves on their dams, a practice that is disastrous to prolonged and high milk production. The American Red Polled Cattle Club has, however, established an Advanced Registry for milk production records and also offers prizes for the highest average milk production,, which beyond question will tend to produce higher standards in competing herds.
Some years ago the Brown Swiss Breeders’ Association passed resolutions to the effect that the breed should be classed as one of special purpose dairy type, and, according to its Secretary, has been continually breeding them for the dairy, “although it is a fact that the Brown Swiss are a good beef cattle.” The con¬formation of the Brown Swiss is unquestionably of the dual type, and the general ran of breeders of that class of cattle in America to-day would like to have them
FIG. 68. Red Polled bull, Teddy’s Best, 17 times a FIG. 69. Red Polled cow, Jean Du Luth Eeauty, grand champion and sire or grandsire of most of the holder of the world's record for the breed of 891 pounds modem prize winners in America. of butter fat in a year. thus classified, now that a decided demand is sweeping over the country for cattle of the dual type. (See Chapter 8 for description of the Brown Swiss.)
The only importation of South Devon cattle ever brought to the United States was made by the late Mr. J. J. Hill in 1914, when he imported a male and 10 females. The male, Langston King, weighed 2,400 pounds at 30 months. The Dexter breed is represented in America by less than a dozen herds and the Red Lincolnsliires, strange to say, have never been imported.
The Milking Shorthorns. The number of purebreds of this type cannot be given since the American Shorthorn Breeders’ Association does not make compulsory the keeping of milk records. Without doubt the beef type is rep¬resented by a very great majority of the whole number. This unfortunate condition has been brought about by the extensive use of Scotch bulls during the last 40 years and the practice, almost universally followed, of rearing the calves on their dams. There is good reason to believe that the number of grade milking Shorthorns in the United States is large. This can be accounted for by the fact that farmers who kept grade Shorthorns on arable farms generally milked them and so retained their producing qualities.
With a view toward stimulating the breeding and distribution of cattle of the now widely desired dual type, the American Milking Shorthorn Breeders’ Association was organized on September 8, 1914, at St. Paul, Minnesota. The following were chief among the objects sought in establishing it: (1) To en- ‘ courage the breeding in America of Shorthorns that measure up to a high standard in the production of both meat and milk; (2) To keep a record of the same to be published from time to time in herd book form; (3) To collect and distribute information regarding the performance of the animals recorded, at the pail and on the block; (4) to furnish assurance in the fomi of registration that the animals recorded are possessed of the dual quality.
During recent years some of the breeders of beef Shorthorns have been selling males of inferior form to farmers who were seeking Shorthorn sires of good milking ancestry, claiming the lack of good beef form to be an evidence of the inheritance of good milking qualities. They thus took advantage of the credulity of those who did not know, to sell males from an ancestry that had not been hand- milked for many generations. Good milking cattle can never be produced on such lines._ One of the principal objects sought by the organization was to head off such dishonesty, which was worldng great harm to the cause of the milking Shorthorn. The new organization accepts any animal for registration that is already recorded in either the English, the American, or the Canadian Shorthorn Association, providing it measures up to the standard called for in production and weight. The annual production of milk called for in a mature cow is 6.000 pounds, and the minimum weight 1,250 pounds. Provision is also made for recording grades that can show 4 consecutive crosses of Shorthorn blood from recorded sires, providing they measure up to the standards of weight and milk production, and are possessed of correct Shorthorn conformation and color. This is the only cattle breeders’ association in America that thus encourages the farmer to so improve his stock by upgrading that they may finally be recorded as pure.
What Milking Shorthorns Can Do
The ability of Milking Shorthorns in both England and America to produce milk abun-dantly is shown by more records than there is space here to include. For instance, the herd of Robert W. Hobbs and Sons, Kelm- scott, Lechlade, Gloucestershire, England,
FIG. 70. American bred Milking Shorthorn bull, Waterloo Clay, whose quality, type, and promise have been borne out by the performances of his offspring.
averages nearly 200 cows and heifers in milk. For several years past the average year’s production of the entire herd has been more than 6,000 pounds per cow, testing nearly 4 per cent of fat, several cows having made better than 10,000 pounds. At the Cranford sale of the stock of the late George Taylor held in 1911, 32 cows were sold that had to their credit over 10,000 pounds a year each. The Red Lincolnshire herd of John Evans, Burton, near the city of Lin¬coln, it may be mentioned, has averaged something over 40 cows and heifers for the past 24 years, with an average production during that time of fully 8,000 pounds a year. Many grade Shorthorn herds have averaged from 7,000 to 8,000 pounds of milk a year for successive years. As instances of records that were not only high but also long continued may be cited those of the cow, Darlington Cranford 5th, bought from the late George Taylor for the Tring Park herd of Lord Rothschild, which gave over 10,000 pounds of milk per year for 10 successive years; and the cow Dorothy of the same herd which averaged 10,353.3 pounds for 10 successive years, ending with 1913. Both were producers of excellent offspring.
In the United States, production records of milking Shorthorns are not so numerous as in_ Britain, but from a large number that might be submitted there is space only for the following: In the Glenside herd owned by L. D. May at Granville Centre, Pa., there were recently 71 cows that prior to 1913 had produced more than 8,000 pounds of milk annually and 23 that had produced more than" 10,000 pounds. The cow Rose of Glenside gave in 1909 18,075 pounds of milk containing 625 pounds; of butter fat. In the herd of W. C. Davis of Chester, Iowa, are 4 cows that have pro¬duced an average of 10,876 pounds in a year, and six that have produced an average of 8,526.9 pounds. In 1917 the official world’s record for the breed was held by L. D. May’s Doris Clay, with a year’s pro¬duction of 17,241.5 pounds of milk, 653.35 pounds of fat.
It should be stated, however, that the American Milking Shorthorn Breeders’ As-
FIG. 71. American bred Milking Shorthorn cow, Cressida, showing the type desired by American breeders
sociation does not lend encouragement to the making of phenomenal or forced records, but aims rather, first, to compel the keeping of records as the basis of registration, second to encourage the average^ farmer to bring up the annual milk production of each cow, to from 6,000 to 8,000 pounds, and third, to get all the beef attainable after this has been done.