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A BREED IN DEVELOPMENT
By: Charles George - Breed Registry Co-Chairperson
for the IMCBS American BeltieTM breed.
Creating a new breed of cattle by crossbreeding is rather simple and not new in cattle operations. People have always wanted to make improvements for various reasons such as for bigger and better beef or milk production. To develop a new breed that will consistently breed true in the everlasting future takes much more dedication than just creating crossbreeds. To create and develop a new breed that is unique, such as the Mini American BeltieTM, takes persistence, investment in time and money and knowledge.
The American BeltieTM breed is a miniature solid color animal with a white belt around it's middle. A few miniature breeds have been around for years but only in recent years have we strived to develop the breeds into healthy uniformed sized animals with a future. Our goal is to develop a breed that is not only healthy and uniform sized but a breed that is also attractive to the eyes of the appreciatively small cattle lovers.
The ideal American BeltieTM should have the following characteristics. Mini to mid size (see IMCBS standards), heavy build for quality beef, high milk production, docile, hardy and either black or red with a full white belt. To achieve this we do a three or four breed cross using Dutch Belted, the Mini Irish Dexter, Belted Galloway and Buelingo breeds. These three breeds each contribute two or more of the characteristics listed above.
In the early stage of our program Belted Galloway cows were crossed with Dexter bulls. Half of he calves were mini sized with other half being mid sized. half of the calves were either wide or narrow belted with other half solid black or partial belted. When the group of full belted animals were mated the characteristics of the offspring were about the same as above. When partial belt was mated to partial belt the results were \, again, about the same as above.
Another phase of the program was crossing Dexters with Dutch Belted and again about half of the calves were mini size and half were mid size. The number of calves with full belts increased about two thirds. We find we definitely need more influence of the Dutch Belted breed to instill the full belted genes. I should note here that even though some of the Dexter cows were bred AI with bulls of the larger breeds so far they have all given birth unassisted. Maybe we should cull all the non full belted animals from the program but there is reason to believe that they have the potential to pass on the full belted genes.
We will continue the double cross phase of the program to improve the characteristics of the breed and then cull the animals that do not maintain the standards. While inserting the triple cross into the program there may be many animals culled out for not meeting the standards. In the early part of the program we were very disappointed with the number of calves lacking the ideal characteristics but we know for fact that even the belted Galloway and Dutch Belted breeds do not breed true one hundred percent of the time. It is imperative that we establish a lasting gene pool within the foundation stock of a new breed. So, it takes time and persistence to develop, not just create, a new breed.
Grandview Miniature Cattle Research Farm owned by Charles and Bettie George introduces two American BeltieTM (Mini Cookie) bull calves by embryo transfer. They were from embryos flushed from a Dutch Belted cow using Miniature Dexter semen and then implanting in two Dexter surrogate cows. They are 50% Dutch Belted and 50% Miniature Irish Dexter. These belted calves are some of the first American BeltiesTM to be accepted into the International Miniature Cattle Breeds Registry. The Mini Cookie on the left os registered as full belted, on the right is partial belted. Chuck has been working on this breed for quite some time. His efforts are really starting to pay off. Chuck is the IMCBS breed registry co chairperson with Professor Gradwohl for the American BeltieTM breed.