MISSOURI — With one of the largest populations in the United States, cattle are an essential component in Missouri’s economy.

A variety of breeds are available for beef and dairy operations, but selecting the correct breed can be difficult.

KMZU’s Dan Watson talked with Jenna Monnig, a Livestock Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, to find out the differences between the most popular breeds and which ones are better for a beef operation or dairy farm.

Click below to listen to their conversation, which aired

 

Monnig explains that while there are standard breeds for either dairy or beef, a farmer must select a type of cattle based upon the needs of their operation.

“Breed is more of a personal preference based upon the characteristics, they talk about production characteristics. . .”

Breeds that are better suited to beef production are Angus, Simmental and Charolais, while an example of some dairy breeds are Holstein, the black and white spotted cattle and Jerseys.

Producers that choose to purchase cattle from outside Missouri need to be aware that new cattle may time to acclimate to the climate before becoming a productive member of the herd.

“So if you buy cattle from Montana for example,” Monnig said, “its going to take a few years for them to adapt to Missouri’s hot, humid summers and we have fescue grass here, which can have problems with some fungus that is common in the grass.”

Monnig explains that each new head of cattle will take a different amount of time to adapt to its new environment. However, there are a few things that a farmer can do to help the transition progress.

“You can just make sure they have good, high quality is going to help. Make sure they’ve got shade in their pasture during the summer and some sort of shelter in the winter. Kind of ease them into it as much as possible.”

To learn more about cattle in Missouri, visit the Univesity of Missouri Extension’s resources on beef and dairy.