Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Piggies

posted by Todd

Today I traveled to one of our favorite farms to get couple of little shoats for the coming school tour season.  This time around, the breeds are Duroc crossed with a Landrace and a York.  Over the years we have had everything from Poland China to Blues on the farm.  One of the frequent questions we get is how do you determine what kind of animals to get.  For a farmer, the question of breed comes down to what it is you are hoping to accomplish. 
As an example, the easiest species to explain is bovine.  If you have noticed on a pass by Wagner Farm the cattle are either the black and white Holsteins or the brown Jerseys.  Both of these, along with four other breeds are considered the best of the dairy classification.  Because of their body type and milk production capabilities farmers only milk dairy cattle.  The idea of a dairy based on milking Angus cattle just doesn't work.  Angus and the other breeds of bovine in the beef side of the family do produce milk for their calves but not the amounts or quality that we get from dairy.  Beef is known for the ability to produce great amounts of meat.  For the farmer, the question comes down to what is it you want to produce, beef or milk.  The whole barnyard is made up of livestock that has specific roles.  You would not likely see Belgian draft horses running at Arlington race track although it might be funny to see Bob rounding turn 4.