We’re just getting into the cattle business, but have found ourselves owning a herd of mostly red cattle. Why red? I could spend a lot of time talking about Red Angus cattle and their genetics, but here’s just a brief overview.
When first looking for cattle, I didn’t care much about breed or color. As long as they produced good beef and met some basic requirements for our herd I was satisfied. But after a few unsuccessful journeys looking at poor cattle, I realized that breed does make a difference.
We made contact with a nearby farmer that raised mostly Red Angus cattle. His interests and goals for the farm were just what we wanted in our herd. He also turned out to be an incredible source of knowledge and information that helped us get started.
We soon learned more about Red Angus and why they’ve become such a popular breed and are being used to rebuild the U.S. cattle herd. Here’s why we like ’em.
Red Angus have always been about the commercial cattleman. When other breeds went the way of the show cattle business or super sizing their cows, the Red Angus breed continued to focus on efficiency and the bottom line. The breed didn’t change with the fads, but kept improving on performance-based genetics slowly over time.
Total herd reporting has also helped the breed make positive strides in genetic improvements. Unlike other breeds, the Red Angus Association requires complete performance reporting for the entire herd of a registered Red Angus operation.
The genetic and physical characteristics of cattle in each breed vary substantially. As the saying goes, there’s more variation in animals within breeds than among breeds. Still, as a general rule, Red Angus cattle tend to come from herds that demand smaller framed, easy fleshing, lower maintenance momma cows that wean a high percentage of their body weight and breed back year after year. Those are performance traits we’re looking for in our herd, which means we tend to favor Red Angus in our herd a bit more than the other beef cattle breeds.
For more on the Red Angus breed, here are a few resources: