Breeding Matters

Like many of us in the business of grass-farming for livestock production, I have been preoccupied by a persistent question; Nature vs. Nurture, Breeding vs. Management, Genetics vs. Environment, all takes on the same dichotomy. Of course the answer is unequivocally, “YES.” The functionality of an animal for our particular purposes is absolutely the sum of its breeding and its management.  That said, I’m going to focus on the breeding aspect as it pertains to the equation, mostly because so many other authors here at On Pasture are way better graziers than I am. Over the last several months I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively along the Eastern Seaboard visiting various farms from grazing dairies to beef operations to sheep and goat farms. One overriding concept came forth in every discussion with every farmer, regardless of species being produced, breeding matters. When visiting a large scale grazing dairy in Georgia I asked the lead farmer what the biggest hurdles to his success have been and he replied with, “Genetics first and labor second. Now we’ve gotten the genetics figured out the labor issue is the pervasive fly in the ointment.” I asked what he meant by genetics and he said they tried starting out with American bred Holstein and Jersey cows. In the “all grazing all the time” production paradigm of t

All the grazing management tips you need

Choose one of our subscription options to read this article and over 2,500 more!

Subscribe today!

If you're already a subscriber, log in here.

Translate »