Herd Improvement And Greater Profits With Black Baldy Cattle

By Eugenia Dickerson

Cattle ranchers know that there is little leeway between losing money or making it in the beef production business. The years of hard work in all weathers required to raise even the sturdiest animals on the open range mean that a barren cow or one that dies young is a real liability. Black Baldy cattle are showing ranchers a promising way to make their profit margin a little bigger. Reports of up to 20% annual increase are making beef producers sit up and take notice.

Black Baldy is the name given to white-faced, sable-bodied cattle that are produced by breeding a Hereford bull to an Aberdeen Angus cow. The white-face gene of the Hereford and the sable-color gene of the Angus are dominant, so the color of the hybrid crosses is remarkable consistent.

Breeding an Angus bull to a Hereford cow has been a common practice for cattlemen, since purebred Hereford calves can be large enough to cause difficulties for first births in heifers. The hybrid calves have a lower birth rate and a smaller head, making delivery easier. The results of this cross-breeding is vigorous animals that do well in feed lot situations or on the open range.

Baldies are becoming known for their docility, their fertility, and their longevity. They are also prized for their thriftiness, or the ability to thrive and grow under range conditions and to gain more weight on less feed in the fattening pens. They make excellent mothers, having ample milk for their calves and taking good care of them. All of these characteristics are valuable when raising beef animals for profit.

A lot of the success of this practice is the effect of hybridizing. Purebred animals pass both good and bad characteristics to succeeding generations, and the inevitable inbreeding leads to the development of genetic defects and problems. In contrast, a hybrid offspring often is stronger, more vigorous, and just plain more adept at living than either of their parents. They in large part mature early, conceive readily, grow rapidly, and live long, productive lives.

There are more Hereford cattle around the world than any other breed, a testimony to the hardiness and adaptability of this great strain. There are those who prefer the taste of Hereford beef to any other, but more people are familiar with the Angus label, which they see on restaurant menus and in the grocery store. Angus beef is renowned for flavor and tenderness.

Baldies are popular in areas with hot sun, like Australia, where their dark color minimizes sunburn. In the American northwest, this breed is called Black Hereford. These great beef producing regions have extremes of weather that demand sturdy animals. Ranchers may love their cows but they cannot and do not pamper them.

Go online to learn more about Black Baldy cattle, including where breeding stock can be purchased. This remarkable hybrid type might be the key to increased herd performance and greater profits. The record of this white-faced, sable-coated animal tells it all.

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