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Report on New Breed Development- Article Two
A Three Article Series
By Professor Richard Gradwohl
THE MINIATURE BEEF BREEDS
This is Article Two of a Three Article Series
Here at the Happy Mountain® Miniature Cattle Research Facility we are focusing efforts on nine new breeds of cattle. Of these, three are miniature beef breeds. These breeds are the KingshireTM, Happy Mountain® and the Grad-Wohl. Each has primary applications to the organic beef market and the commercial farm grown beef market. Each would also have secondary applications to the breeder, pet and show markets.
ORGANIC MARKET: This market is growing at an average rate of 20% per year according to the Organic Products Association. Our research has shown these three miniature beef breeds do exceptionally well in the organic niche market. Because of the higher cost of organic grains and organically grown hay products, beef animals with high feed efficiency conversion are required. The three breeds have been developed to maximize feed efficiency at an average of 30% more efficiency than larger animals. Research at Texas A & M shows miniature cattle in general are 20-25% more efficient. The KingshireTM, Happy Mountain® and Grad-Wohl breeds have been developed to be in the height range of 38" to 45" with an average weight at 13 - 15 months of 700-950 lbs. For the organic market or for the commercial farm grown beef market these three breeds will help the small acreage farmers of the world make a profit. Feed efficiency is the key with high beef production which allows more animals to be grown on less acreage.
KINGSHIRETM The KingshireTM is a triple cross animal of Mini Hereford, Mini Angus and Mid-Sized Highland. There are three original F-1 Kingshires the result of three breedings of a Miniature Hereford bull on three unrelated mid-sized Highland females. These breedings produced three female progeny 50/50 Mini Hereford/Mid-Size Highland. It's amazing we got three heifers out of these first breedings. The next step was to wait until these three heifers were all of breeding age and then artificially inseminate to a small beefy Miniature Angus bull. The resulting F-2 KingshireTM is 50% Miniature Angus, 25% Mid-Size Highland and 25% Miniature Hereford. The combination of these three breeds results in an animal of outstanding feed efficiency and low cholesterol beef production. Every registered KingshireTM must have one of the three original F-1 progeny in their pedigree.
HAPPY MOUNTAIN®: The Happy Mountain® is a two breed triple cross animal with outstanding beef characteristics. It is based on only approved sire and dam selections. It is a very tight linebreeding program leading to a focused genetic base for great beef characteristics. An approved Miniature Angus bull is bred to approved Miniature Hereford females. In turn an approved Miniature Hereford bull is bred to selected Angus females. The results of each of these crosses are then bred together to accomplish the third cross in the two breed triple cross. The resulting F-2 progeny have the genetics from both approved foundation bulls. To focus the genetics there are only two approved foundation bulls. We then go on to linebreed to increase the herd. The key to this breeding program is the foundation and F-2 bull selections. The result is an outstanding feed efficient animal with great beef production.
THE GRAD-WOHL: The Grad-Wohl is the top of the line in beef production and feed efficiency and it sometimes can be a belted animal. The Grad-Wohl is a four or five breed cross animal resulting in maximum heterosis. We have four foundation bulls being used in this breeding program. Two of these bulls are belted and are 75% Dexter and 25% Belted Galloway. The other two are F-2 KingshireTM bulls 50% Miniature Angus, 25% Mid-Size Highland and 25% Miniature Hereford. All four of these bulls are under 40" in height. The two that carry the belted gene have a 50% potential to produce a belted offspring. We are breeding these two bulls to F-2 KingshireTM heifers which produces a five breed cross of 37.5% Miniature Dexter, 12.5% Belted Galloway, 25% Miniature Angus, 12.5% Miniature Hereford and 12.5% Mid-Size Highland. The five breed combination results in a short beefy animal with ultimate heterosis. Of these breedings 50% can be belted. When you breed the belted progeny together there is a 75% chance of producing belted offspring.
The two F-2 KingshireTM bulls are being bred to Miniature Irish Dexters. This produces a four breed cross Grad-Wohl, 50% Miniature Dexter, 25% Miniature Angus, 12.5% Miniature Hereford and 12.5% Mid-Size Highland. This four breed Grad-Wohl increases the percentage of Dexter to enhance progeny milking ability. It is an outstanding animal with great heterosis and beef production. We are collecting semen from the two KingshireTM foundation bulls. This semen will be available to ship around the world to Dexter owners so that they too can develop a four breed cross animal.
Both the four breed and the five breed Grad-Wohl are very desirable for the small acreage farms of the world. As to the name of the breed, if Mr. Dexter can use his name for an outstanding new cattle breed I guess I can do the same. Why not?
Poncho, in the foreground is an F-2 KingshireTM bull, 50% Miniature Angus, 25% Miniature Hereford and 25% Mid-Size Highland. His Dam, Meadow Muffin in background is an F-1 KingshireTM 50% Miniature Hereford, 50% Mid-Size Highland. Poncho is the result of artificial insemination using selected Miniature Angus semen on an F-1 KingshireTM.