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Author Topic: Shorthorn History Buffs  (Read 2783 times)

Offline justintime

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Re: Shorthorn History Buffs
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2018, 02:03:16 PM »
As I have mentioned a few times in the past, there are several bulls from the past that should remain in the past. Some breeders think that if the bull had semen collected, he must have been a good bull. There are a few bulls from the past that were definitely ahead of their time. These are the bulls that can be useful today, but again, you must carefully mate them to good females, in order to produce offspring that can be marketed successfully. A few years ago, I did some flushes using sires from the 60s and 70s with dams from today. I mated TPS Coronet Leader 21st with two of my biggest framed, thickest cows. The resulting calves were very interesting. These calves were softer made and moderate framed. All of these calves did lose performance when compared with my other calves from today's genetics. I also used Pheasant Creek Leader 4th, who I consider to be the best bull ever from the Leader line, and I used him with two huge cows. Again, we got moderate framed thick and easy fleshing calves. These calves were considerably better than the Leader 21st calves. I had 4 ET full brothers and I kept one to use in my own herd, and I found that his calves were even better, probably because the older lower performance genetics were 1 generation more diluted in these calves. These calves were very marketable and we sold several through our sales at good money. One thing I did notice about these calves, was that they consistently had smaller ribeye areas that our bulls consisting of modern genetics. We were ultrasounding all our yearling bulls and this was consistent every year. These bulls from the older genetics in their background did have easier calving traits as well as easier fleshing ability.
In regards to the ribeye areas, we did extensive carcass evaluation in our own feedlot during the 70s and early 80s. Here in Canada, our federal department of Agriculture had a program called the "Blue tag program". This program allowed producers to purchase a blue tag for $1.00 and when the animals with these blue tags were slaughtered, their carcass data was sent to the producer. We probably did several hundred head while this program was available. We did all our Shorthorn and Shorthorn cross animals as well as a cross section of other breeds of animals we were feeding to get a comparison . It became very apparent why Shorthorns had lost favor with feedlot operators and packers in that era. I still have these carcass data sheets showing the Shorthorns of that era having excess fat, and very small ribeye areas. There were 1250 lb live weight steers with 8.0-8.5 square inch ribeye areas. This was considerably less ribeye area than the other breeds we collected data on.
One of the most significant things our carcass data collection did show, occurred when we collected the first data on our Shorthorns sired by Irish Shorthorn sires. Our first crop of steers sired by Highfield Irish Mist averaged over 4 square inches more ribeye area than those from current genetics of that day. This was something we did not expect to see, at least in such a major way. We brought the Irish cattle from Ireland to help improve testicle size and shape, rump structure and udders on the females. The Irish cattle we used did all of these things extremely well. At the time, Shorthorn bulls had major issues with poorly shaped testicles and many of them had tipped and/or twisted testicles. There were lots of issues with poor udder and teat shape, and I can still remember some of those horrible balloon teats on the cows. Another problem was that many of that eras cattle did not carry their thickness through their hips and rumps and there often was far too much fat deposited in these areas. Highfield Irish Mist added improvement in these areas in one generation. I never saw an Irish Mist daughter with a poor udder, even if their dams had bottle teats and swing bags. He added thickness from hooks to pins in his offspring and he certainly corrected testicle size and shape. His contribution to improving carcass quality was a huge added bonus that we did not expect at first. I still consider Highfield Irish Mist to be a "once in a lifetime" bull. He consistenty settled over 100 cows every summer, and always came in from pasture in better shape when he went out. He had perfect feet ( which was very unusual for an Irish bull ) and he never had his feet trimmed in any way. At 14 years of age, he could still out walk any person and if you were trying to keep up with him, you would have to occasionally have to run for a little ways to catch up to him. I have often wondered how long he would have been able to breed cows as he was still athletic and sound at 14 years of age. Just prior to turning him out at 14 years of age, he got a twisted gut and we rushed him the U of Sask Vet college. As they started to operate, he suddenly had a massive heart attack and died on the operating table. When they did an autopsy, his heart had completely blown apart, and they expected this occurred because of the stress the twisted gut had caused.
Today, we have Shorthorns that still have the maternal traits that the breed has been known for, for many decades. We also have  Shorthorns that can compete with most any breed for carcass quality and they are especially good at adding marbling. That said, I still maintain that there are a few sires from the past, that have some good traits that can add improvement to today's bloodlines. The trick is to be able to select which ones these are, and which ones should be tossed out.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 02:07:25 PM by justintime »
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Offline aj

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Re: Shorthorn History Buffs
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2018, 01:38:31 PM »
I think that if one used a bull like Coronet leader 21 on one of todays cow......you might be disappointed in the calf 50% of the time. On the other hand......if you bred him to 100 cows........you could get one or two great ones......maybe more. It just depends on how the two different lines of genes co mingle.
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Offline jaimiediamond

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Re: Shorthorn History Buffs
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 06:24:18 PM »
As breeders of cattle in this time we are incredibly lucky to have access to genetics from the past, and present readily accessible through semen and embryos. We also have the ability to mass produce these genetics to try and ensure you get the traits you are aiming for, I personally have flushed females in the last year to sires from the 70s, 90s, and one from 2004 not to mention current sires. Something to consider is maybe a calf sired by a bull from the 70s in first generation will not have the performance but they do offer the ability to get back positive traits that may have been lost throughout the generations and are likely to pass on those characteristics and more growth to their own offspring.  Our job as breeders is to keep striving to improve our programs and sometimes that involves taking a step back in time. 

Offline Cabanha Santa Isabel - BR

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Re: Shorthorn History Buffs
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2018, 10:22:22 PM »
Well, a good post. Like it.
Maybe some bulls from past if had the chance to be mate and used massivelly as many ones today, their performance could to be better.
Also agree, some bulls on the past must to stay there, as well as must bulls from today never should to be entered on a semen company for collect.
Don't know if compare performance from bulls from 60's or 70's with actual bulls is right. Are different times, different markets for each age, different ways to see the business.
Some old bulls are able to add good characters on today cattle.
I have two Kinnaber Leader 9th daughters that are amazing shaped, decrease a bit my frame and add character on my herd.
Intend to use some old ones on 90's and 2000's genetics females to improve some things, in special meat shape and breed character.

Offline JPS

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Re: Shorthorn History Buffs
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2018, 01:34:30 PM »
I agree with Jamie.  We ultra-sounded some president 26a calves last year and their ribeyes were comparable with the contemporary group.  I was very happy, that there was no performance loss in that trait. 

I also agree with some of the other posts.  Depending on the cow, it seems like more that 25% of some old genetics (60s and 70s) can ding performance.  However, some of the old genetics perform quite well at 50% of the cross.  Remember, that depending on how you have bred, the old genetics can be total outcrosses to modern genetics.  This means you see a heterosis boost. 

Rib shape and depth of body are areas that the older genetics seem to bring to the party.  I am also glad to have access to these older genetics, and yes their EPDS stink because there are not many progeny.  Turn in the data, and it will change over time.


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