Modern day cow vs older style cow

What to write about today? Well my hot date turned out to be hot, hotter than I could imagine. He ticks my boxes and was well worth the wait.

Now to touch on the modern day cow compared to the older style cow. My belief is that we have bred and are breeding cows or animals that are high maintenance.

The older style cows were smaller therefore less feed required for maintenance and less impact on the ground and less impact on their legs and feet. They did give less milk but maybe that’s not such a bad thing when the cost to care for them didn’t outweigh the money coming in.

They had lower narrower rear udders which are now high wide rears udders to fit more milk in and possibly change the tilt of the udder so the milking machines can attach better. This has created higher pins to pull up and make room for the rear udder. Now the high pins really urke me. Farmers believe nowadays that they need a cow with wide pins so the calf can fit out between the pins. The truth is that the calf comes out over the pins or at least it used too. Look at the rump set up of any land mammal – beef, dogs, sheep, camels, giraffe, lions etc. All of them have low pins compared to their topline, so the baby can come out over the pins and the uterus can drain naturally rather than retaining the placenta and the fluids that naturally occur in the body throughout the cows life. Hence the increase in maintenance required to keep cows fertile. The dairy industry has a huge fertility problem and I believe one of the big causes is because of the changing of the pelvic tilt. It is now level in our modern day cow rather than being tilted for natural drain and ease of calving.

In our herd and in my life, I was taught to admire the cow with a wide muzzle for intake of more air, wide chest for more heart room, huge spring of rib for more food consumption, wide rear udder for more milk and straight topline because I don’t really know why (Ha funny that I don’t know what the supposed benefits of a straight topline are, after all those years. I just ran with the saying or appearance that that was good).

Also one cow I admired most in our herd was an average width cow right throughout and a seemingly narrow gutted thing with not much depth of rib or spring of rib. The reason I admired her is because she never got sick, never had sore feet, always got in calf and produced up to 53 litres/day (Her name was Hadley, thanks for making me think and open my mind Hadley. To question my beliefs.) So my question was, a cow with a big spring of rib and depth of body actually eats more but that doesn’t mean she is an efficient feed converter. I started to wonder if we were breeding the wrong way for the wrong reasons. Or maybe they are good reasons but the reality was the opposite. 

I still admire those wide cows with depth and spring of rib, and all cows for that matter. The modern cows do produce huge quantities of milk. At the same time they also have a high rate of infertility and mastitis. We have created more problems and now need a semi permanent hoof trimmer, vet, nutritionist etc. Not to mention the endless use of drugs to keep the cow milking and producing off spring. Have you ever asked yourself what chemicals you are consuming in your own milk and what effect that has on your own health? I did, and it scared the shit out of me. Glysophate is in almost everything these days, something like 90% of people have it in their urine. I realise this is not a drug used on cows but I use it as an example of how much foreign synthetic chemicals are in our food. People talk about clean and green food production in Australia but I think we don’t actually have very clean or green food. It is all laden with chemicals unless it is Organic and even then the organic laws are sketchy.  

So my questions for you to think about today are:

 Do we need to breed an efficient feed converter?

What does that efficient feed converter look like?

 I think the focus needs to be on a cow with a rump structure like a donkey (yes a donkey) and an efficient feed converter, who is medium framed. If there is a change in the way we farm ie. leaving calves on cows, then maybe the shape and tilt of the udder needs to go back the way it was so the calf can easily suckle and the machine needs to be the thing to change. We have bred the teats smaller, thinner, under and pointing in which also baffles me.  Not only do the teats that are small, thin and point in pose a problem for the calf they also suck air when you put the cups on. What on earth have we been thinking???? Maybe the semen companies are ruled by the pharmaceutical companies…….if they tell us what to breed and why and make a convincing argument for it then we end up with the endless high maintenance cow we have today who keeps the pharmaceutical companies in business.

I have a friend who was a large animal vet, mostly dairy cows. He turned to dairy farming to breed a cow that doesn’t require a pharmaceutical company or a nutritionist to keep her alive. He is actually doing a marvellous job and is not far off achieving his goal. His favourite cow is a small to medium framed cow who he has never treated for anything. He barely notices her and she has a calf every year and produces above average in his herd.

Well my girls are awake and calling for me.

Have a beaut day.    

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