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Beef is Beef

Posted on March 15, 2010 07:21 by Erica Beck

Beef is beef, and good beef is good beef.  That's my motto.

 If you look around the country, you'll find a lot of black cattle.  When I was a the sale a feew weeks ago - a sale of 4,800 head - there were a lot of black yearlings moved through the ring.  And, just for the record (and to save my own rear), I am not against black cattle.  At all.  There are a lot of good black cattle out there.  At the same time, I don't have any reservations about letting my partiality to red cattle known.  It's the type of operation I grew up on, and I can't lie about how much I like seeing a hundred head of reds scattered across the hillside.

I called up my dad a few weeks ago to talk cows.  I'd been thinking about this color topic for awhile, so I asked him if he ever noticed a disparity between the way his sets of red calves sold in the ring compared to blacks.  Apparently, two or three years back, dad took his heifers to town.  They were the second tier set as he'd already pulled his replacements out.  That same sale, a black cattle breeder brought some of the replacement heifers he'd kept back and didn't need.  They were the best of a quality black operation, and dad's red heifers topped the sale.

That was the long answer to a question that simply could be answered with "No, color doesn't matter.  Quality does."

And that's just one example.  Like any cattlemen knows, sometimes the quality just isn't there due to a variety of reasons. A bull that doesn't produce like he should have.  Bad weather.  Poor feed.  My dad's set of calves this year wouldn't top a cull cow sale, it sounds like; it's just been one of those years.

Everyone has their preferences, just like my preference is for red cattle.  But I think it's easy to get too focused on one particular trait at the cost of others.  On a world that is bent on black cattle, sometimes hide color becomes too much of a priority.  The same goes for any other breed of cattle.  My dad doesn't keep a heifer as a replacement just because she's got red on her back, and he won't load a cow for town simply because she's black.

Beef is beef, and good beef is good beef.  Quality wins every time; that's my motto. 


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