Polled Shorthorn Selection ProcessGrass-fed Genetics
Before designing a breeding program one must decide what phenotypic and genotypic characteristics they want in their herd. This is not easy because of the variability of heritability and the impossibility of selecting for more than a few select traits. Given Joe’s long history in the dairy industry many of our ideas have been modified and transformed to reflect what we see as realistic objectives with our Heritage Polled Shorthorns.
Our goal is to have all our cows in the 1350-1700# range so that the "dual purpose" aspect will still result in steers of 1200-1300#'s at 17-19 months of age in a totally grass fed environment. Consistency of size is very important because it leads to more reliable calf size, effective cow evaluation, and breed uniformity.
In accordance with our view of where the beef industry is headed, forage genetics & feed efficiency lead our genotypic traits selection. Packers ultimately will want a standardized beef cow just as is seen in the pork and poultry industries. If small breeders are to survive they must find a beef animal that will meet the demands of the discriminating consumer yet have a low cost of production. Properly selected Polled Shorthorns fit this role. Other genotypic characteristics we emphasize are ease of calving and high artificial insemination conception rate.