The Goat Spot Forum banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
sister to goatszrule
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been showing cows for two years and am thinking about buying a dairy calf in the spring ready for show season.


If you have dairy calves for sale please give me a picture tell me the breed and price.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,203 Posts
I have been showing cows for two years and am thinking about buying a dairy calf in the spring ready for show season.

If you have dairy calves for sale please give me a picture tell me the breed and price.
I highly recommend you attend a spring sale (breed specific) or fall sale. Specialty sales really produce a good crowd for good prices. Another good way is to contact local breeders, especially the "hot" families in your county for showing. Another tip is to pay attention to the prefixes of the cattle winning district and state shows if you're looking into something serious. Yet another option would be to purchase a grade heifer of breeding age and throw a good embryo into her if you have time to wait. Still another option would be to contact your state breeders association and get in touch with local breeders.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,606 Posts
I just want to warn you.....pay the extra and go with a well known breeder. Many dairy cows can not conceive. Try and get a guarantee that they can breed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I just want to warn you.....pay the extra and go with a well known breeder. Many dairy cows can not conceive. Try and get a guarantee that they can breed.
It's not so much a matter that they can't conceive as that the majority of the dairy industry uses AI, and even more are getting into synched breedings. Nothing wrong with either of those options, except that they both take skill and know-how, and aren't exactly skills you can master after you've gone to a 4 hour course at the extension office. Combine that with trying to get animals rebred within 45-60 days postpartum, and that you're trying to impregnate an animal who's ideally producing 100+ pounds of milk per day, and yeah, conception rates on the first breeding tend to plummet.

However, fertility is a heritable trait, and for economic reasons most dairymen are going to focus on that (a cow that doesn't get bred back right away is going to have a longer dry period and will ultimately end up in the cull pen). Most sire indexes will list fertility, longevity, etc., so if you have the pedigree on the heifer you can get a good idea how she might perform.

I would agree, go to a good breeder and check out production sales (but be aware that a good show heifer can easily hit the 5 figure mark), and get what ever guarantee you can. Make sure to avoid freemartins (the female half of a set of mixed gender twins) as they are much more likely to be sterile. Another place to start might be with the AI service in your area (ABS, Genex, Alta, and Select Sires are some of the big names)- they should have an idea of who's producing quality cows, and you're going to need to be acquainted with them anyways if you're planning to get your girl bred when the time comes. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,606 Posts
In the world of dairy cattle the cow will only get bred one time in her life. They are not like a goat and need to be rebred to still produce milk. We humans have over the years screwed with dairy cattle with hormones etc that a large amount of the females will not breed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,319 Posts
In the world of dairy cattle the cow will only get bred one time in her life. They are not like a goat and need to be rebred to still produce milk. We humans have over the years screwed with dairy cattle with hormones etc that a large amount of the females will not breed.
what????????????? Wow, where did you get that information? cows have a 305 day lactation. and should calve every year.

Olivia,
i can probably help you find a breeder if you tell me what breed you are looking for. i have many friends in the dairy industry. i was raised with Ayrshires and Holsteins in fact our neighbors have some of the best Holsteins in the state which just happems to be nh. I know of a fabulous Ayrshire that is for sale right now but she is in Va..
i will probably see you at Hopkinton, and i think that's a good place to start.
 

·
sister to goatszrule
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I'm not planning to get one this year but next year I will use the money from Decembers kid's to buy a cow In the spring hopfully. But I still need to know how much a good calf would cost. Any Ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,319 Posts
Let's talk at hopkinton because the cost is going to depend on the breed and the breeder, sometimes if the breeder's children have aged out of 4-h they will be willing to cut a deal on a nice calf. i would think you should plan on $500 at least, maybe less if they are willing to support 4-h. if you want a good quality holstein it will be more. there several breeders in vt that might be willing to sell you a calf. it's a good idea to get something lined up now for the spring. i'm sure we can find something you would like.
 

·
sister to goatszrule
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok I know you on goat spot but I'm not sure who you are. Whats your name and are you a parent or a kid (The Human kind)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,319 Posts
i am herd queens (erica) mother. we have rolling acres farm. and my name is faith. i am a 4-h leader in grafton county. i will be at hopkinton most of the fair.
 

·
sister to goatszrule
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok thanks see you there! My dad is dropping of the camper now!
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,203 Posts
For a quality calf you can usually mention to a breeder that you'd like to start off on your own, many people have a soft spot for first buyers. A good calf is anywhere from $300-1500 depending on pedigree, especially sire and cow family. This is a calf usually either still on milk or just recently weaned. An older heifer 6 months to a year will typically pull in $800-5000 depending again on pedigree. Breeding aged heifers (many show farms don't breed until 1 1/2-2 years) are $1750-15000 range depending. Cows are kind of the same situation, normally $2000-20000 in my area.

An older calf you can see her start to develop, in particular leg angle, angularity, femininity, growth rate, depth. Legs are highly important in heifers. Make sure you find one with nice clean, strong, tall legs standing on a good set of feet. Normally when purchasing I offer to send a trimmer out to observe quality of the hoof as well. You don't want to buy a hemorrhaged, rotted, or warty footed heifer. Feet reflect back on feed quality, and environment but a heifer with problems early on usually has a short life span on the farm.

Another important thing is to look up and study that pedigree. Figure out what exactly you want to breed for. Type, production, depth, legs, Cleanliness and angularity, protein, whatever. You will go in a direction of your choosing but if the heifer you're buying isn't what you want and it's just because "she's registered" (heard this too many times) all you're doing is setting yourself backwards.

Another thing I'm going to emphasize is pushing protein into her. You're going to want to maximize growth and help her the best ways you can. Pick your protein, ask your local breeders what percentage they're feeding out. You may wish to make a mix or buy a mix and add toppings to it. Without protein you'll still have the quality pedigree and she'll still carry her full potential but she's not going to show it on her own.

Factors to Consider:

Age
Appearance
Budget
Pedigree
Type, production, or genomic value
Breed
How "willing" your breeder is to help newbies
Vet and Trimmer results
Color pattern (important to some)
Breeding plan
Leg, pastern, and hoof angle
Width through the chest, and rear legs
Hard through her topline
Proper thurl placement
Johne's negative or vaccinated herd
Mastitis in the family line (chronic?)
Udder attachments in momma
Momma's calving age

Look around and develop relationships with breeders. Do some farm visits. Get an idea of what you're looking for and how high up you want to go. The more prepared you are, the further you'll be off in the beginning. Set yourself up correctly and keep the relationships with your breeders. It really makes a difference.
 

·
sister to goatszrule
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok thanks for the help I will look into some more farms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,606 Posts
what????????????? Wow, where did you get that information? cows have a 305 day lactation. and should calve every year.

Olivia,
i can probably help you find a breeder if you tell me what breed you are looking for. i have many friends in the dairy industry. i was raised with Ayrshires and Holsteins in fact our neighbors have some of the best Holsteins in the state which just happems to be nh. I know of a fabulous Ayrshire that is for sale right now but she is in Va..
i will probably see you at Hopkinton, and i think that's a good place to start.
This is getting way off your question and I'm sorry but am gonna reply again
I get my info from the real world commercial dairy world. And I'm talking big dairys that make the money. In that world a dairy will calf once after they have freshened then they are given a hormone called I believe galactopoiesis (spell check). Then the milk increases and no need to rebreed and she will live out her life just producing milk no need for a bull or ai and when it comes time for that animal who was most likely a embrio her match is created again. Yes a dairy cow should as mother nature meant to have happen reproduce to make more milk again but we have made a way around that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
This is getting way off your question and I'm sorry but am gonna reply again
I get my info from the real world commercial dairy world. And I'm talking big dairys that make the money. In that world a dairy will calf once after they have freshened then they are given a hormone called I believe galactopoiesis (spell check). Then the milk increases and no need to rebreed and she will live out her life just producing milk no need for a bull or ai and when it comes time for that animal who was most likely a embrio her match is created again. Yes a dairy cow should as mother nature meant to have happen reproduce to make more milk again but we have made a way around that.
I believe you're referring to BSH/rBSH- it was sold under the trade name Posilac, and it's the drug that's responsible for those nifty little warnings that are on most dairy products now. It's also responsible for the largely uninformed and incorrect mass hysteria that broke about dairy products in the last decade (thanks PETA!). You are correct in that it can be used to increase milk production and length of lactation, but it cannot be used to keep a cow in milk indefinitely. They do actually need to be rebred on a regular (typically yearly) basis. Milk production typically follows a bell curve- BSH helps to keep an animal at the top of the bell curve (and thus peak milk production) for a longer period of time.

Posilac was a very useful product in that it would keep a cull cow in the herd longer. If you've got a cow that's not getting rebred, or that you know is on her last lactation it's very helpful to be able to keep her producing for a few more months, and it's also a few more months that she gets to stay out of the slaughterhouse. My main gripe with it was that some farmers were using it eliminate dry periods, which most likely lead to the rumor that cows only needed to be bred once. The other downside to the drug is that it leads to increased feed intake- a cow that's going to milk more is going to eat more, which just doesnt work out when you consider feed prices over the last several years.

For the most part Posilac is a product that's been pretty well phased out of the market. Most factory farms don't use it anymore because it's hard to find a processor that's taking rBSH treated milk. Monsanto sold it a few years ago (not sure what the current name is), and if Monsanto's willing to sell off one of their trademarked technologies then you know it's not a major player in production agriculture anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
In the world of dairy cattle the cow will only get bred one time in her life. They are not like a goat and need to be rebred to still produce milk. We humans have over the years screwed with dairy cattle with hormones etc that a large amount of the females will not breed.
No that is not correct. Ideally the cow will get rebred many, many times in her life. A dairy cow that doesn't breed back is walking hamburger, plain and simple. There's millions of dollars in research funding, DNA indexing, etc., that are trying to figure out how to make cows more fertile. Getting cows rebred is the number 2 concern on most dairies (the first one is finding decent, reliable hired help!). :D
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,203 Posts
Olivia-
For some reason, whichever farm you are referring to, I just don't believe that. Corporate farms cut corners and take the "easy" way out on many things. I don't see why they would pump all their cows with bST (bovine somatotropin) to keep their peak fluctuating. I just don't. In our area posilac is $5-8 a shot (one per cow every two weeks during her lactation). Add up the math. It adds up quick! I highly doubt corporate farms are using all their cows as recipients and implanting embryos all the time. Embryos are between $50 (super cheap)-$8,000 (higher end) normally. Take an average of $100 low end and implant 1000 cows, 60% of which will not take, and then again subtract those who aren't heifers (ET works great in heifers, cows lower conception rate). Corporate farms are looking for milk, the cheapest, most effective way to get it. Feed prices are insane.

In a nutshell, "most" corporate:
Milk cows till dry period, sometimes carry over (still develops lactation numbers every calving)
Breed to AI and have a full time AI on site
Have their own vet full time
Milk around the clock
Have time limits on cows in parlor
Cull cows for problem milkers, time, feet and legs, conception rate, etc
Start breeding as soon as the vet nods (1-2 month mark)
Keep lactation at or below 305 days
Set a limit on maximum times bred before cull (and will normally milk her until she drops in production)
Set a minimum production line (heifers 120#, cows 150# for example)

They look at things from a business perspective. Culling is easy for problem cows. All it does is slow things down. Efficiency, timely, productive.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,203 Posts
Whoops! That wasn't to you Olivia. :) I can't recall if I know the other young lady's name.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,983 Posts
Wow from the real world of my chair in front of my computer this would seem to be over the head of most 4Hers.

Olivia, I started my 4H life showing dairy cattle. Now I am a leader. The most important thing is HAVE FUN! Because if it becomes something you don't enjoy you wont continue. This is a little serious for someone looking for a cow. I did read that correct that was 1 animal not an entire herd? And this animal is a 4H project? Best place to start is at the fair at the dairy show. Also, just my opionion(sorry I know there seems to be a lot of them on your thread)I would get a bottle calf(they make the best showmanship animals). That will give you years with that animal as a project. Or get a bred heifer.
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top