A Compendium of Useful Information for the Practical Man/Cattle

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Fattening Purposes, Breeds for[edit]

There is no need, in treating of the fattening of cattle, to dwell long on the subject of the most suitable breeds for this purpose. Lists of the best breeds are constantly before us, and their fame is practically universal. Indeed, the care and attention which has been bestowed on the various breeds of late years is such that it is even now a matter of great difficulty to say which are really the best for fattening purposes. The Shorthorn has long been in the front rank as a beef-producer, but the Aberdeen-Angus is every bit as good; and the shapely Devon, though perhaps it may fatten a trifle more slowly, is little, if any, behind. The Norfolk farmer prefers the Red Poll, and even the Sussex cattle, until lately bred more for draught (strength and traction in pulling weights horizontally) purposes than anything else, have had such care and attention bestowed on them that they promise to take a foremost place—so that with Herefords, Galloways, &c, there is plenty of choice, and amongst any of the breeds named it is difficult to go wrong.

The Shorthorn, Aberdeen-Angus, Hereford, and Devon perhaps head the list, but local circumstances are one of the best guides as to the most suitable breed. Mention must, however, be made of the place that well-bred cross-breeds, if we may use the term, are taking as beef-producers. The produce of a cross between pure-bred animals usually partakes of the qualities of both parents, besides being a trifle harder in constitution, so that we can understand the position they take at the great shows. The AberdeenAngus-Shorthorn cross, and that between the Shorthorn and Galloway, are two of the best known, especially in the North, and many farmers who have large numbers of cattle through their hands prefer them to any other, pure-bred or not. The good qualities of the cross-bred are not, it should be noted, by any means certain of transmission to their offspring, and breeding from them is risky and uncertain.

The Rothamsted experiments and their practical lessons for farmers: Part I ... By C. J. R. Tipper