Beef vs. Dairy: Choosing the Right Cattle For You

How you decide to take care of your herd should differ depending on the type of cattle you own. Dairy cows are primarily bred to produce milk and other dairy products, whilst beef cattle are kept to breed for consumption purposes. Both cows can be used as beef, but beef cows are generally considered a higher quality meat due to specific breeding standards prior to slaughter. Whether your cattle are beef or dairy, Fairfield Supplies has detailed three ways in which beef or dairy cows can be cared for and have noted the keys area where the two breeds differ.

Beef

 

Keeping clean and maintaining health

Beef cows are known for their resilience and therefore don’t need to be as regularly checked as a dairy cow would. This is thanks to their strong muscles and better immune system. However, it is important to vaccinate your cows when necessary.  

 

Feed

Beef cows should have uninterrupted access to clean water. Beef cows should be fed in accordance with their reproductive schedule, as the required quality of livestock feed such as hay will differ depending on the lactation of the cow. Beef cows do not require the same amount of feed as a dairy cow would, as their energy isn’t being used up by the tasking production of milk.

 

Breed

Breeding beef cows will depend on the size of your herd. Generally, to get an effective breeding schedule going, there should be one bull for every 25 cows. If you don’t have a bull on hand, artificial insemination is also considered an effective breeding treatment. Remember to monitor your cattle throughout breeding season, particularly if you own two or more bulls that may fight for the females.

 

Dairy

Typically, dairy cows require more attention than beef cows, as they are chiefly treated as the weaker breed between beef or dairy cows.

 

Keeping clean and maintaining health

Due to their susceptibility to illness, your dairy cattle should be checked regularly for any signs of malady. The stalls they milk in should be cleaned everyday to avoid lingering bacteria that could harm the cattle, and soiled bedding should be changed as often as possible. The equipment used for milking the cows should be cleaned routinely, as dirty equipment can pose health risks for both the consumer and your cattle.

 

Feed

Maintaining a strict feeding schedule is the most important way to breed healthy dairy cows who produce the highest quality milk. Much like beef cows, dairy cows must have constant access to clean water, and can be given livestock feed items such as hay or grains to keep them strong when producing milk, particularly if they have a young calf.

 

Breed

Dairy cows need to breed at least once a year in order to maintain a consistent dairy production.

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