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Yes, Jersey bulls make good beef!

When we moved to our homestead a few years ago, we decided that our first livestock acquisition would be a cow. We knew we wanted a cow (personal preference over a goat) and checked out a number of breeds before settling on a Jersey.

Our first choice was a Milking Devon as it was supposed to be a dairy animal, meat animal and a draft breed. All these qualities and small size seemed to make it the perfect homestead animal.

As it turned out, the Devon is rare, expensive and usually located hundreds of miles from wherever you live! It was out of our budget, so we kept looking. We ruled out the larger diary breeds and started looking at Jerseys.

Relying on books and other people's knowledge, we always found that the one drawback to the Jersey breed was that it didn't make a good meat animal. We knew one day that we'd have to deal with bull calves, so this aspect of the breed worried us a bit. We didn't like the idea of producing worthless offspring from our dairy animal.

We put our fears aside and purchased a three-month old Jersey heifer. We raised her and bred her at fifteen months.

Her first calf was a bull. He was a purebred, top-of-the-line Jersey and we hoped someone might want him for breeding purposes. One can always hope!

We never castrated him and he did become a little rambunctious by the age of five months. We knew we needed to make a decision to either send the bull to market or have him butchered. We knew how he'd been raised, what he'd been fed and that he'd never had any chemicals in his body. We opted to have him butchered.

The bull was six months old when we took him to the butcher. He weighed 575 lbs. He had been milk fed for 2-1/2 months and grain fed for 3-1/2 months.

We purchased 400 lbs. of grain at a total cost of $40 and he ate approximately 20 bales of hay at a cost of $20. He dressed out at 275 lbs. and the butchering cost us $68, cut, wrapped and frozen.

Our total cost was $128.00 and we ate some of the most delicious beef we've ever had. We were very surprised: every cut of meat was extremely tender. The meat was a little paler than the usual dark red beef one finds in older animals, but the taste was just as good.

A recent issue of Jersey Journal magazine had an article on the growing market for Jersey bull meat in Denmark. The Danish people also realize how good Jersey beef and veal can be.

A month ago, our cow had her second calf. This time it was a heifer. We've decided to go out and get another Jersey bull to raise for beef. The price for Jersey bulls is usually low. Very low at the moment, and some Jersey farmers even give the bull calves away. It's too costly for them to take the calves to market.

Don't overlook dairy bulls as beef animals, especially if the price is right.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
irish farmer
Michael Walsh (Member): That's interesting 2/20/2010 6:22 AM
He seemed to be very well grown at 6 months for a jersey as that is the target weight for hereford and they would be doing very well to reach that growth rate. With the hay and the amount of grain you were giving him he had excellent growth rates. Average daily growth rate of 2.62 pounds/day assuming he was 88 pounds at birth. They are giving away jersey bull calves in my country at the moment if I could round up 200 of them and fatten them like you did I could make a nice profit.

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Author:Tanzosh, Barb; Tanzosh, Ed
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 1996
Previous Article:Simple things to make with milk.
Next Article:The economics of round bales.

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